The Words of the Colvin Family
Princess Di and the Fall of Man
Like everyone else, I was shocked when I first heard about Diana's accident. I had just driven back with my mother form North Carolina. We stopped into the Double T Diner for a late dinner. As I parked the car we heard the news on the radio. Princess Diana had been involved in a serious accident in an underpass in Paris. She was being taken to the hospital. My mother and I were both stunned. The next morning found out that Diana had died. I followed the ensuing news with avid interest. The mad chase of the paparazzi. The alleged alcohol and drug levels of the driver. The heartfelt reaction of the British people. The discomfort of the Royal Family. The worldwide expression of loss.
Diana was more than a person. In some magical way she had interwoven herself into our psyches as a modern morality tale. We basked in revelations of her personal life for a decade. We knew her in a way reserved for our closest friends and family. She was bright. She was energetic. She was committed to a greater good. When she suffered we suffered with her. She was our princess, and we wanted her life to have a happy ending. Diana's death was more than a personal tragedy. It was a revelation. A startling confrontation that that the world is askew.
In the core of our being is an original mind which longs for true love. Every child responds to the fairy tale ending in which the chaste maiden meets prince charming. They marry and live happily ever after. True Love. Snow White, Cinderella - they undergo trials, they endure opposition - but true love prevails. The gallant knight must undergo ordeals, slay dragons, pass tortuous tests, to prove his virtue and win the fair maiden. As children we all learned these stories, and, in the purity of our hearts, we embraced them. We were the princes and princesses, the knights and fair maidens. We believed that we would prevail. That we would find true love. That we would live happily after.
For many of us, adolescent misadventures shattered our dreams. Some of us, embittered by the sour fruit of broken relationships, abandoned our hopes. True love is not realistic. Instead of the blossoming of happy families, our world has witnessed the proliferation of divorce, single parent families, spousal abuse. This is reality. Don't expect too much. Settle for the best you can get.
When Diana and Charles married it was a real life fairy tale. It rekindled our childhood aspirations. Here it was. the fair maiden meets Prince Charming and they wed. The world celebrated.
Soon cracks began to appear. Tension, disaffection, adultery, scandal, divorce. The fairy tale became a modern day sitcom, a soap opera. Instead of reflecting the purity of our ideal, it mirrored the painful trends of today's society. Still Diana shone as a regal ambassador of compassion calling our attention to the horror of landmines, reaching out to suffering children, comforting the victims of AIDS. Yet though Diana continued to radiate charm, something was missing. Even in her life of giving, we sensed that she was suffering. She was incomplete without a loving partner. Her beautiful children were torn between their parents. We loved her. We hoped that things would work out. Then, suddenly her tragic, senseless death.
Our hearts are bruised and stunned. The fairy tale turned into a nightmare. Prince Charming is not charming. We do not live happily ever after. Fate swats out our life like a fly on a mat. Charles and Diana were the love story of the end of the millennium. The story, as an archetype is as tragic as the story of Adam and Eve. In the Eden tale too, we see an idyllic beginning shattered by infidelity, ending in tragic death - the murder of one of their children.
Why? Why is this world so hostile to our universal longing for true love?
When I used to study Shakespeare's tragedies, we would always examine the play to find the tragic flaw. The root of the problem. Let us look at the history of Charles and Diana to see how sorrow found it's way to destroy their happiness and our hopes.
Was it the paparazzi? Public opinion was quick to condemn these money hungry journalists whose mad swarm was the immediate cause of Diana's death. Or was it the inebriated driver who's intoxication has led Princess Diana's family to sue her boyfriend's family for millions of dollars. Surely these players are culpable, but there sins do not go to the root. What is it that led to Diana's predicament? Her haunted status? Her forlorn state as a divorced mother looking for a meaningful relationship?
Looking at the life of Diana, the answer is clear. The turning point in her life is Prince Charles' adultery. His adultery led to their estrangement. His adultery led to her adultery. Mutual infidelity and estrangement broke the sacred bond which they had sworn before God and unleashed a sequence of steps finally ending in her shocking death. Her body was crushed in a tunnel in France, but her heart had been crushed in Buckingham Palace.
We should face the fact. Adultery was the root of this great tragedy of the modern world. Just as the adultery of Lancelot and Guenevere destroyed the golden age of Camelot, so did the adultery of shatter our twentieth century idyllic romance.
The life of Diana illustrates many of the flaws of contemporary world - broken families, senseless death, children lacking the mutual love of parents. No matter how much material wealth these lads have, they have been robbed of untold emotional riches. Even Diana, in her role as a successful single woman pursuing worthy causes, betrays the infinite sadness of the modern woman bereft of a committed loving relationship.
In light of this it is interesting to look at Reverend Sun Myung Moon's explanation of the fall of man, for in his desire to understand the root of human suffering he too found adultery to be at the core. Let us first pause to clarify the nature of true love. True love is more than simply a happy relationship between a man and a woman. True love is the blending of love between man, woman and God. God is the source of everlasting love. If a man and a woman desire an unbreakable bond of love, it must be rooted in the absolute love of God. It is one of the great mysteries of Western culture that sacred and profane love are separated into different spheres.
Since the time of Jesus, our great religious saints have all been celibate. Many have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of God, said Jesus. Better not to marry, says Paul. Sex has been viewed by the greatest saints as a distraction from the holy life, a temptation to be overcome. Marriage has been characterized as an alternative for the weak.
But God made man and woman to cleave together and become one flesh. After doing so he said that it is very good. Shouldn't a man of God and a woman of God who unite in marriage find God in each other? In such a relationship, would we not expect to find an intensification of divine love through blessed earthly bliss? The fairy tale's universal promise is to live happily ever after, but the priest promises union only until death do us part. Here too is a mystery that can only be unraveled through an understanding of the fall of man.
To uncover the root of human suffering we must examine the story of Adam and Eve facing temptation in the garden. For Jews, Christians, and Muslims this is not a problem. But perhaps more than a few humanists and skeptics would argue that such an exegesis is meaningless.
"Adam and Eve are not real," they would argue. "This story is merely a myth."
Bide with me my friends. Did not Plato, one of the sires of humanism, say in The Republic that higher truth can be found only in myth. Like Kierkegaard, he argued that reason has it's limits. Let us look at Freud, the father of modern psychology. His entire system was based upon an exegesis of myth - the Oedipus complex, the Electra Complex, Eros and Thanatos. When Freud sought to clarify profound truths about the human psyche, he resorted to mythical tales. Yet secular minds have had no difficulty crediting his insights.
The story of Adam and Eve is far more ancient than the Greek myths cited by the fathers of humanism. Moreover, it has exerted spiritual and intellectual influence over a far broader spectrum of humanity. Surely we may examine this story to see what spiritual and psychological truths it may reveal.
The story is rather simple. Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, were living in paradise. They were naked and unashamed. They could communicate directly with God. God told them that they were free to enjoy everything but they should not eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Enter the serpent. He tempts Eve and she eats of the fruit. Eve in turn seduces Adam. Suddenly they are overcome by an overwhelming sense of shame. They are particularly ashamed of the sexual parts of their bodies which they cover up with fig leaves. As a result of their action, they are cast out of the Garden of Eden.
For a detailed explanation of this story I recommend that readers get a copy of the Divine Principle which contains the essential revelations which Reverend Moon received from God before he began his ministry. For the sake of this piece, I will offer a brief explanation.
The fall of Adam and Eve revolves around the eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. There is no such literal tree. The fruit of knowledge is therefore not a literal fruit but a symbol of a forbidden act. In the Old Testament, knowledge of a woman means to have a sexual relationship with a woman. Picking a fruit is also an analogous way of expressing sexual union.
It is no secret that the serpent in the tale is Satan, the fallen archangel Lucifer, Revelations 12:9 states that the ancient serpent is the devil or Satan.
God told Adam and Eve to multiply and inhabit the earth. He made them to become one flesh. Therefore, there is surely nothing sinful in the sexual act. Somehow this story is revealing that Adam and Eve used their sexual parts in such a way that rather than consummating the ideal of true love, they shattered it. Reverend Moon explains that Adam and Eve were created sinless and innocent, but that they had to grow emotionally and spiritually to perfect their relationship in love with God before they became man and wife. They were maturing in mind, heart, and body just as our children are today. God's commandment to Adam and Eve was the same commandment that all responsible parents give to their children. Do not have sex until you are mature enough to understand and maintain a lasting, committed relationship. The story of the fall implies that they had not arrived at that point of maturity.
Moreover, the fact that Eve was tempted to eat by the serpent implies that there was a third party. Eve's first love was not Adam, but Lucifer. The first act of love was an adulterous act of fornication.
The story of Adam and Eve foreshadows the very problem which we see plaguing youth in today's world - immature adolescents engaging in premarital relationships dominated by selfishness. Through their immature and unprincipled initiation into sexual union, Adam and Eve lost their innocence, stunted their spiritual growth, and alienated themselves from God's love. Instead of true love, they discovered the world of frustrating and incomplete relationships, incomplete because it lacked the foundation of God's totally giving sacrificial heart. Their immature love and parenthood bore fruit in there children. One of their sons murdered his brother.
Striking! Here in this story we see the prototype of the two major problems facing modern society - immorality and violence. It is no coincidence that the sexual revolution of the '60's has produced a generation in the '90's where murder in the streets has become epidemic. A generation of immorality produces a generation of violence. The simple tale of the family of Adam and Eve is a paradigm revealing the root problems of humanity. The core problems are premarital sex and adultery. It is no surprise that the unraveling of the fairy tale story of Diana and Charles began with infidelity.
The death of Diana was the top story of 1997, and reveals the challenge of the end of the millennium. Human happiness in unachievable unless we solve the problems of premature sex and marital infidelity. Understanding this point, Reverend Moon had been teaching the message of Absolute Sex. A man's sexual organs belong to his wife. A woman's sexual organs belong to her husband. Children should preserve their sexual purity until marriage. This is the universal law of love. This is the one commandment which God gave to humankind. The union of man and woman in God-centered marriage is the consummation of God's ideal.
Another big story of 1997 was the blessing of the marriages of over 40 million couples by Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon on November 29 in a ceremony held at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington DC. Leaders of every major religion offered their blessings together with Reverend Moon. All 40 million couples pledged that they would be eternally faithful to their spouses, that they would raise their children to be sexually abstinent until marriage, and that they would work together to bring about a peaceful world. Reverend Moon announced that by the year 2001 he would bless the marriages of 360 million couples dedicated to these principles. More than 70 million couples have already taken this pledge and it looks like the goal will be achieved much sooner than expected. Reverend Moon's hope is that every man and woman on earth can commit themselves to the principles of true love and world peace. This is the true antidote for the fall of man and the foundation for a new global culture of true love, peace, and happiness.
We began with a reflection on the life of Diana. Her wedding awakened the ideal of true love in the hearts of billions. Her sad demise revealed that in the world as it is this ideal is sadly besmirched. Our troubled human hearts are in need of healing. Among all of the secular and spiritual leaders in the world today, Reverend and Mrs. Moon are the only ones who are offering a clear analysis of the problem and a clear solution.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono once sang, "All I am saying is give peace a chance." All Reverend Moon is saying is, "Give True Love a Chance."
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