The expression Eden in Babylon first surfaced as a line in a draft of an earlier musical of mine, The Burden of Eden, which I completed in 2008. The line was spoken by the protagonist, Dr. Lance Rutherford, who with a shake of his head declared: “There is no Eden in Babylon.” By these words, he meant that there is no idyllic place of paradise in the midst of a completely chaotic culture. I expanded on this notion when I created the character of Winston Greene, the protagonist in the musical currently being developed and described on the the site that bears its name. Winston differed from Dr. Rutherford in that he fully believed in the possibility of an installation of paradise within pandemonium; and he vigorously set about to establish that paradise on his own accord.
Though the usage of the expression was at first limited only to its function as the title of the musical, I later realized its application in an overall spiritual and artistic philosophy that I had been developing, largely unconsciously, since childhood. This realization came to me more-or-less suddenly as the result of a moment of illumination. As I’ve stated elsewhere on this site, I fully embrace the Graham Wallas model involving the four stages of the creative process; thus I consider that moment of illumination to be the third stage in that process, a moment that undoubtedly followed years and years of creative incubation on my part – that being the second stage.
On December 19, 2011, at approximately 5:30 in the afternoon, I had been experiencing an unusual sense of preoccupation and distraction during my normal period of sitting meditation. Suddenly, an idea dawned on me. I became instantly fascinated with the notion that there might be three distinct conditions of human experience. For want of more thought-out terms, I immediately labeled these conditions “Eden,” the “Universe,” and “Babylon.” I then wrote a 13-page stream-of-consciousness treatise on the matter, a pdf of which may be found here.
To capsulize, I considered “Eden” to be the original condition of the human being. On the individual level, this would be instantiated by the experience of the unborn child in the womb, where the human is completely provided for by an all-loving, all-nurturing, live-giving provider (i.e., the Mother), so that the attainment of basic needs is not an issue. This I called Eden because it is first seen in the archetype of the Garden, where (at least in theory), Adam and Eve experienced no anxiety concerning the satisfaction of their essential needs; for all of those needs were taken care of by the Father. The kingdom of heaven would be another example of the Condition of Eden.
The Condition of the Universe, on the other extreme, would be that condition where no human need is guaranteed, and there is no protection or provision whatsoever from a trusted external source. The human is furthermore left to contend with every possible physical or psychic assault on the part of a completely unpredictable and often hostile Universe. This would be instantiated by the temporary condition of the newborn baby, following the cutting of the umbilical cord, and prior to his receiving nurturing in the comforting care and embrace of his mother. On a grand scale, this would be instantiated by the permanent condition of the kingdom of hell.
In between the two lies Babylon. Babylon is taken to be the human attempt to replicate the conditions of Eden in an unconscious effort to return, on the individual level, to the mother’s womb; and on the global level, to the Garden. Babylon falls short of the kingdom of heaven because the human spirit, resourceful and ingenious as it is, will always far short of the far more brilliant and capable Spirit of God. So, the expression “Eden in Babylon” refers to our human effort to simulate the conditions of Eden in the midst of the corruption of Babylon. Everywhere we see attempts to create stability, safety, and security in a world that is ultimately unstable, precarious, and unreliable.
In the musical after which this site is named, Winston Greene seeks to fulfill this objective by creating an intentional community of modern-day “flower children” who seek to present romantic values based on free love, beauty, and freedom of expression to an uptight community of Winston’s origin, where such permissive values lie outside the status quo, and thus are presumed to threaten the prevailing social order. Although this website was originally intended to spotlight only the musical work-in-progress, the website has been expanded according to the general thread that has pervaded all my creative endeavors since December of 2011, and in a less intentional way, since childhood. But of my idyllic childhood, we shall not speak at this time. Best to focus our intentions on the future, and the ultimate objective of seeing each of these major musical works produced — locally, regionally, or globally — in this lifetime.
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