In the spirit of the second volume of Cosmos, we consider two worldviews that arose in the ancient Near East and are with us yet. For one, the heart of the world is wilderness. For the other, the word revolves around the city, the work of human hands. These two worldviews belonged to two kinds of civilization (each with its characteristic kind of farming): those of the hilly uplands and those of the great river valleys. The first kind is typified by the Canaanites and Israelites, the second by the Mesopotamians. The myth of the World Mountain is shown to have a basis in ecological fact: wilderness as the source of life. Eden is here identified with the wild World Mountain or Mountain of God, from which humans are necessarily exiled. As soon as we become fully human, we begin to destroy Eden and so expel ourselves. With the above dichotomy in mind, we ask: Was Humboldt a man of the Mountain or of the Tower?
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