Ophelia (art) - digital painting of a doll by Barbara Agreste

Babel Tower Story

The Tower of Babel

Babel Tower Story, mixed media painting of a futuristic Tower of Babel.

Barbel Tower Story

The Tower of Babel is an interesting subject from my point of view. It was reported in the Bible (Genesis 11:1-9), and it tells the story of humans that once upon a time all spoke the same language on earth. As people migrated from the east, they settled in a land called Shinar which in the Bible appears eight times and it refers to Babylonia, a territory encompassing both the city of Baylon (Babel) and the southern city Erech. Babylonia used to be a great and powerful empire.

“People there sought to make bricks and build a city and a tower with its top in the sky, to make a name for themselves, so that they not be scattered over the world. God came down to look at the city and tower, and remarked that as one people with one language, nothing that they sought would be out of their reach. God went down and confounded their speech, so that they could not understand each other, and scattered them over the face of the earth, and they stopped building the city. Thus the city was called Babel.”

The story of the tower of Babel explains the origins of the multiplicity of languages. God was concerned that humans had too much freedom to do as they wished, so he brought into existence multiple languages. Thus, humans were divided into linguistic groups, unable to understand one another.

If on earth there was only one language for all humans, it could have been the language of “Nature”: a more instinctive human way of communicating with one another, that had to come from their primordial state of symbiosis with the natural environment of the earth. It is this “oneness” I find interesting: it could be a more feminine or animal language which might have been underdeveloped, but it would encompass all humans and it brought with itself their frightening power that God disliked, and had to neutralise.

There have also been a number of traditions around the world that describe a divine confusion of the one original language into several.

I won’t be judging here as to why God, the one God from the Bible, took away that universal form of communication from humans, maybe they were really not wise enough to use it well, or it was itself too powerful… I won’t go into the morals and rightness of God, also because this presupposes the belief in one God or in dogma, and I don’t have it.

But won’t this story be very similar to that of Eve and the serpent? That is another example of story in the Bible in which God disliked the fact that humans were going straight to the “tree of life and knowledge” to pick its fruits and eat them. Humans were perhaps too bold to discover all the secrets of the universe in that overt manner, God again forbade them to reach a divine state and consciousness, and by so doing  he dis-empowered them and made them obedient to his law.

The story of Tower of Babel reminds me of a feminist theory which claimed that language or languages were invented by men only (God too, only one and male,  was invented by men only as the Bible was written by male shepherds and paved the way to a more rigid structure of  the pre-existing patriarchal society*): thus a supposed feminine language really existed once upon a time, and by now it has become an unexplored territory, unknown and lost in time, its real potential never really understood. Anyway this supposed language, or a more complete structure of thought through verbal and written codes, developing and extending the dominant one,  could be something to consider or reconsider for us today in order to put on our table one more card for the reconstruction of a better, and more friendly earthly life.

The account in Genesis makes no mention of any destruction of the Tower. The people whose languages are confounded simply stop building their city, and are scattered from there over the face of the Earth.

My drawing places at the top of the unfinished tower a woman with three snakes on her head, and on the tower itself a number of computers that indicate the way internet is like a modern Tower of Babel, a universal exchange of written meanings and thoughts leading all humans to a common understanding of each other.

* see “The Spectacle of Hysteria

Link to wikipedia Source

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Babel Tower Story

2 Responses to Babel Tower Story

  • Vanellope says:

    Babel Tower:
    I appreciate it for all the efforts you have put in this. Very interesting article.
    “You can’t help someone get up a hill without getting closer to the top yourself.” by Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf.

  • Veronica Wire says:

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Dolls - Ophelia (art, paintings) series by Barbara Agreste