Proceeding according to precedent

by Andrea Elizabeth

Thoughts after reading the section entitled, “The Concept of the First Sin” in The Concept of Anxiety.

We, like Adam, are both individuals and the race. The question becomes do we sin because Adam sinned, or do we sin like Adam sinned. The answer seems to be both. Sin entered the world through Adam, but it enters us by our own first sin.

In a strange way I think this is like our participation in supposed progress. Say the ruination of the world through greedy consumption of natural resources happened in preceding generations. Every time we choose a product that is the result of abuse of resources we become personally guilty. But woe to the person who was first convinced to set the precedent. It is much harder for a person to act in a way inconsistent with his race than it was for the first person of the age to make a new precedent. This is why we read Saint stories. They set a new precedent against precedent.