The “subtil serpent” or, we may say the perceptive penis, where sensation is most acute, tempted man to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Gerhard von Rad feels that the expression, “of good and evil,” is a subsequent addition and refers simply to knowledge of everything or all things. (Footnote 4) But even taken at face value as a knowledge of good and evil it would imply the development of a conscience or superego, which means repression, civilization, and the birth of religion.
Thus eating of the fruit of knowledge brought armoring – fig leaves, clothes on skin, sexual shame – and drove man from his natural paradise. He lost his contact with nature and natural feelings and killed his emotional life (“. . . thou shalt surely die.”). This brought all the problems armoring produces (thorns and thistles) including difficult labor and a deep fear of the genital (enmity between woman and serpent).1
- http://www.orgonomy.org/Articles/Baker/Armoring1.html [↩]