The Garden


“You are in the right,” said Pangloss; “for when man was put into the Garden of Eden, it was with an intent to dress it: and this proves that man was not born to be idle”. Voltaire “Candide” 1759.

Those who find Helen Zille’s tweet abhorrent would have us believe that the southern tip of Africa was the equivalent of the Garden of Eden before the colonists arrived.

The mythical Eden garden was a paradise of innocence, but also required fruitful enterprise if it was to flourish. It was a place of peace and quiet that provided for all human needs, but only if it was well tended. The metaphor illustrates the imperative for industry, even in the case of an inherited bounty.

Even utopia needs work!

In close proximity is another garden; the garden of victimhood.  A dystopian place where horrors recalled are tended and fertilised with fervent intent. This is a place of want and greed; not need. “I am, because you were” is the vengeful battle cry. “You oppressed me and so I will oppress you”. Retribution overrides all. Malcontent and blame are partners in this unhappy place.

In “Paradise Lost” Milton puts it like this; “Left him at large to his own dark designs, that with reiterated crimes he might heap on himself damnation, while he sought evil to others…”

Reason and rationality are substituted with ideological ‘dark designs’ and false promises. This is a place of delusion and false hope for an unattainable nirvana.

Paranoia trumps trust and the illogical attribution of failure seeks blame in the “other”.

The victims are ultimately rendered helpless for they must support leaders who will acknowledge and benefit by their delusion, and who will affirm their entitlement.

This is the garden in which envy and hatred are cultivated and the garden wasted.