Finding Eden

The Paradise of Fools and Its King

“Likewise also the chief priests mocking said . . . Let Christ the King of Israel

descend now from the cross that we may see and believe.”

I have been a citizen of the sovereign state of California for most of my life.  I can guarantee you, Alta California is not merely a result of the proverbial dreamin’, a state of mind, but an actual place.  Its motto, which I reckon must thus be mine as well, loyal subject that I am, is Eureka, “I have found it.”  Gold-bearing earth, as one might imagine, is the implied antecedent.  Is the Golden State really not just a state, but a natural place, a destination, or even a destiny?  Is this motto a statement or—niceties of Greek particles aside—a question?  Have I found in this place my true home?  Is this a real inventio loci, not merely rhetorical art, but natural necessity?

“We have found Eden.”  Eurekamen Edem.  So reads the monogram at the foot of the Calvary depicted on the full scapular of the great habit of the Orthodox monastic.  Eden is, of course, the terrestrial paradise, not the celestial one.  A monastery, a place of self-denial and ascetic struggle, hardly suggests a place of delight.  Then, perhaps, such an exclamation should...

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