The Fall is mainly about the human race’s past. It’s about how we fell ‘asleep’ – how we ‘fell’ out of a natural state of harmony and connection into discord and separateness. But the book is also about our
The book began with my sense that there are massive psychological differences between indigenous peoples and modern western peoples. Most notably, I was struck by their different relationship to the natural world – indigenous people’s respectful attitude to nature, their sense of its sacredness and aliveness, and their awareness that it was pervaded with a spiritual force, compared to modern people’s exploitative attitude to it. Indigenous peoples seemed to have a sense of connection to nature which we have lost.
I began to sense that a major psychological shift had occurred at some point in human history: the development of a new sense of separation and individuality. The more I read, the more evidence I found for this. I had an experience that I’ve never had with any other book – The Fall came into being very easily and inevitably, almost as if I was being helped and guided. I felt that I was being steered in the direction of all the material I needed. As a result, the book was easy to write. I felt like it was coming through me, rather than from me.
The first edition of The Fall was published in 2005, and its reception justified my faith in it. It has sold tens of thousands of copies in several different languages and even now, I regularly receive appreciative e-mails from readers, telling me that the book has changed their lives, made them understand the human race better, and made them feel more optimistic about the future.
In the book’s new edition, I provide an update. The foundation of the book is my argument that prehistoric human beings lived in a naturally spiritual and harmonious state, with a strong sense of connection to nature, in groups that were egalitarian and peaceful, without male domination or hierarchy. It was only once the ‘Ego Explosion’ occurred – when some human groups developed a strong sense of individuality and separation from their environment – that pathological traits such as warfare, the oppression of women, and hierarchical unequal societies developed.
I am pleased that a lot of new evidence has accumulated that supports the idea that early human beings were peaceful, and that warfare didn’t become common until relatively recent times. Another aspect of this book that has become more widely accepted is the idea that the lives of prehistoric human beings were much easier, healthier and happier than those of later peoples. I suggested that – as well as being free of warfare, male domination and social hierarchy – prehistoric hunter-gatherers had a good diet, were largely free of illness and had long life spans.
There is also recent evidence that supports the book’s other main argument: that at the present time (and over the past 300 years or so) the human race has been slowly moving into a ‘trans-Fall’ era. In the new edition, I suggest that the ‘trans-Fall’ movement has intensified over the last decade and cite research showing that spiritual or mystical experiences have become more common.
The Fall has struck such a deep chord in so many people that I feel it must be confirming knowledge that was already inside all us – truths that we have forgotten but that were always part of our collective unconscious. Perhaps we all sense, deep down, that the fall was an aberration, and that human beings’ true nature is not to be full of discord and to create so much conflict. Perhaps we all sense, deep down, that the present bleak and chaotic phase of human history is only temporary, and that we are entering a new, brighter, more harmonious phase.
Excerpted from THE FALL, by Steve Taylor. iff books, June 2018. Reprinted with permission.