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Where did it all go wrong?

James

Administrator
Staff member
Sometimes we can get a clue to help sort things out by examining where things went wrong in the first place.

Throughout recorded history there have been war, murders, misery and suffering etc. So something must have happened in prehistory that has caused all the later problems.

In order to (at least dimly) explore prehistory we have to study and cross reference the great mythological stories from all round the world. Even though the myths often seem fantastical they may well have more than a grain of truth in them. What do you make of this Korean myth:

The Coming of Humankind
There were four Heavenly Men guarding each cardinal direction of the fortress, and they were Cheong-gung 청궁(靑穹), Hwang-gung 황궁(黃穹) who were children of Gunghwee, and Hukso 흑소(黑巢), Baekso 백소(白巢)who were children of Sohwee. They in turn married the four Heavenly Women, and gave birth to twelve children, who would become the ancestors of the humans.
These ancestors were pure and were have said to drink from Earth's Milk 지유(地乳), which came from a spring inside the castle. They could speak without making sounds, and act without seeing and never died. Thus they lived for ten thousand years undisturbed.
Then there came a time when the number of people became too large. There was not enough of Earth's Milk (or "Jiyu") to go around for everyone. Because of this, a man from the line of Baekso 백소(白巢) by the name of Jiso 지소(支巢) decided to cede his meal of Earth's Milk five times to his neighbours (other versions say that he waited in line but the line was so long he never got his turn). Eventually his hunger grew intolerable, and deciding to kill himself he headed towards a cliff, where he saw a grape vine growing in the edges. Unable to suppress his hunger, he ate the grapes and immediately acquired the five tastes of sourness, bitterness, spiciness, sweetness, and saltiness. This is known as the Incident of the Five Tastes (오미의 변).
Jiso 지소(支巢) returned to his people and told them of his discovery. Soon however, those who ate from these grapes began to grow teeth. From the teeth spewed a saliva that turned into venom. This was because they had eaten another living thing in order to stay alive.
Soon they were able to see, but were no longer able to hear the heavens. Their skin became coarse, their feet heavy, and they were no longer pure. They gave birth to many animal-resembling children and their lifespans began to shrink.
There eventually came a point when the people of Magosung 마고성(麻姑城) began blaming Jiso (지소) for the transformation, and he along with his family and all those who had eaten the grapes were forced to leave Magosung 마고성(麻姑城).
As the line of Jiso was leaving, however, Hwang-gung (황궁:黃穹, one of the four guardians and a direct ancestor of the Korean people) tried to encourage them by saying that if they could recover their pure nature, they would be free of their misery.
Upon hearing this, the people became convinced that the only way to become pure once more was to drink from Earth's Milk again. They then stormed the castle and overwhelmed it, razing the fortress to its foundations in order to reveal the source of the spring that had given them Earth's Milk. The spring, however, began to flow in all directions and thereafter the milk turned into inedible earth, leaving not only the original perpetrators but all the former inhabitants of the now destroyed castle to starve.


I think that there are some potential clues in this myth. What do you think? Where do you think that it all went wrong? 💡
 
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