‘The longing for Paradise is man’s longing not to be man.’

‘And paradise is the capacity to be happy, not bored, with monotony, with repetition. As animals are, “because only animals were not expelled from Paradise.” “The longing for Paradise is man’s longing not to be man.” Paradise then is not exactly a longing for repetition; a world without repetition’s alternative, without knowledge of the irrevocable, of the once-and-for-all changes that are the very condition of our conscious (and indeed our physical) life. These changes occur to animals too, of course, but (we assume) they don’t interpret then as we do. They think perhaps, they interpret behaviour; but they don’t register change or time, or they register them lightly, merely as the necessary means of measuring continuity and return. Paradise is theirs and can’t be ours; the Fall is not the fruit of sin, it is mere mortality and the consciousness of it; the world of the forgiving novelist.’

Michael Wood, Maps of Fiction