That a society that doesn’t live in harmony is eventually bound to destroy itself is certainly the most important lesson that mankind has to learn. Whereas our intellectuals –scientists, philosophers, politicians, theologians– ignore this, Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament, recognizes this reality: 10 generations after putting an end to harmony (Paradise), our ancestors almost completely destroyed themselves (the Great Flood). After that catastrophe mankind's evolution started all over again. The survivors went on with their lives as before: they continued to live in conflict with each other and with their environment, and that is why we now find ourselves close to our self-destruction.
To avoid our self-destruction we must establish a harmonious society. With Genesis informing us that our ancestors put an end to harmony by eating the forbidden fruit, wondering why we have conflicts is the same as asking what the forbidden fruit refers to. Genesis may therefore help us avoid our self-destruction.
Many people assume the forbidden fruit is a metaphor. They do not realize that it really refers to a change in mankind’s diet because a) they ignore the fact that Adam and Eve were vegetarians before their expulsion from Paradise and b) because they associate the forbidden fruit with an apple and there is nothing wrong with eating that fruit. However, Genesis does not say the forbidden fruit is an apple. It is only when Christian artists began to represent Biblical stories that the forbidden fruit became an apple.
To live in harmony we must learn from our experiences. When we don’t, we make the same mistakes all over again. Harmony thus requires a good perception of reality (this enables us to see how our actions affect the world we live in), and what alters our perception of reality if not drugs that make us focus on certain aspects while we ignore others? Now there is a tree, the strawberry tree (Arbutus Unedo), which has fruits that ferment while they are still on the tree and therefore contain alcohol. The forbidden fruit could therefore be a metaphor for drugs.
The forbidden fruit caused a chain reaction. That is why it so difficult to discover what it refers to. Because of the forbidden fruit, people no longer treated each other properly (drugs make us attach so much importance to our longings that we attach less importance to how these longings are fulfilled). This behaviour caused traumas that are often passed on from one generation to the next. And since traumas also affect our perception of reality, giving up drugs is of course not enough to restore harmony. To restore harmony we must take into account all the changes that have taken place since people started to ‘fool around’ with drugs.