According to the ancient Greeks, the Golden Age came after the creation of man, while Cronos, god of time, was reigning over heaven and earth: it was a time of innocence, of justice, of abundance and happiness.
The earth was in an eternal spring, fields were growing without farming, men lived almost for ever and died with no pain, falling asleep for ever. In his book Theogony, Hesiode described this lost eden, with the sincere accent of undoubtful nostalgia.
To Jung, Golden Age is an archetype, and shows the universal dreamy nature of man. Maybe Jung concluded too hastily on that point: according to the mostpart of mythologies, Golden Age is a reality.
Strangely, there is no former imaging from golden age: no trace of this myth on vases, paintings, Greek or Roman mosaics. Before the Christian representations of Paradise they were no images of the Golden Age and other ages of mankind. Why this lack of ancient images?
On all fields, the reign of Cronos, first age of humankind, was a time of affluence and virtue: “In the absence of any upholder of the law, spontaneously, without any law, good faith and honesty were current.(…) The Earth itself, free from every constraint, suffering no damage from agriculture, gift all its fruits with pleasure.” (source)Hesiode, Theogony
Yet, Cronos was a bloodthirsty monster, who devoured his own children! If he were such a bloody tyrant, why do we feel those sweet scents of harmony, sweetness of living in a really peaceful place? This is the main paradox of Eden. Such a nice place for Gods, such a bad place for humans. It was in the reign of time as in those who followed. After a blessed period of abundance and nobility of soul came the famine and decline: the moon get closer, threatening to wipe out the noble race of Time. Cronos gave way to ones better suited: the Olympians.
This is what the Greek mythology says, in a more striking form: one day Cronus/Cronos was cast into the darkness of Tartarus and Zeus became the new master of the world. The Silver Age began.
And if you forget the language of mythology, with its scientific name, things will be clearer: the Silver Age is the Ice Age. After the sweet intoxication of perpetual spring, a terrible nuclear winter will befall the world and men. They will, for some, spend several generations underground. They live confined in endless cities connected by tunnels. These tunnels, says the legend, connect all the continents from under the sea and mountains. The underground cities have relative comfort: drinking water, ventilation, waste disposal …
They grew special crops, animals were living underground too. When you know that the ice age lasted a hundred thousand years, one shudders evoking the fate of these human moles. It also includes the powerful nostalgia that has gripped these beings without sun or meadow.
The age before the bomb seemed so fresh, laughing, carefree compared to the harshness of their present condition. It does not take more to create this myth of the Golden Age. This tenacious regret of eternal spring expresses perhaps the terrible frustration of not being able to get out in the open air. They would have found without a doubt a landscape devastated by bombs, stained by deadly radiation. For centuries, deep in their burrows, they embroidered on the theme of the beauty of nature in spring …
I often visited these golden surroundings. Over there reigns a good life, a lightness, as something in the air that suggests a lower gravity and a more toned atmosphere.
The light is clearer too, there are definitely more colours. Many more. Human bodies are bigger, yes, I admit, or else the hills are smaller, which I doubt. I remember how we love playing leapfrog on the cloudsl – leaving to imagine our size.
And a particular sweetness, a floating, fruity sensation, that you can find everywhere into the wild, at every time, every season, but that you best appreciate in a Val de Loire sunset at the fall of the year: everything is just fine, nice and beautiful.
The golden age was a final point endlessly extended.
So neither point nor final. Rather ellipsis …