I think that all these points or clarifications are important in our discussion, and are directly related to the 5 sections or categories listed above. We can see, in particular, how exoteric monotheism (The Old Testament of Christianity) tends to authoritarianism and rigid views… and persecution of ‘heretics’ and infidels. The same thing applies to Islam (Sufism is “for the few”, and it is peaceful). Pneumatic temperaments are a minority, the majority being either psychic or hilic (or a mixture).
3. “Can the knowledge of good and evil be viveka, the ability to distinguish ātmā from anātmā?” I think the answer is No, from what I said re morality vs. knowledge (jñana).
This leads me to what you write concerning Iswara (section 4): “Īśvara is pure limitless existence-consciousness together with its intrinsic potential for manifestation (māyā)”. It represents all cosmic laws and, clearly, is not the stern, authoritarian God of Old Testament Christianity, or the God of Islam, who appears as more generous and loving. Jesus, on the other hand, can be said to represent the logos (buddhi) of Neo-Platonism and Gnostic Christianity. Is Iswara not impersonal, unlike Krishna and Rama? One difference is that God’s laws are decrees and ordinances (commands), whereas Iswara’s laws are cosmic and impersonal; “it is what it is”, as you say; obedience has a different tinge in either case.
Coming to the nitty-gritty – for all the forgoing is as a preamble – I have to make a confession: I have been associated, perhaps for too long, with a Sufi organization led by F. Schuon, whose platform is traditionalism (called perennialism in N. America). The originators were R. Guénon and FS; important figures, among others: Ananda K. Coomaraswamy and Titus Burkhardt. You can check on this, but, evidently, there is an element of romanticism or nostalgia (for times passed), as well as anti-modernism (favoring, among many of its adherents, homeopathy, anti-evolutionism, and anti-Vatican II). Tradition did nothing wrong; the longer you cast your gaze back, the purer, uncontaminated it is (a sort of Arcadia). I don’t want to be ironic (nor repentant), but, simply, I took their views in that realm as quasi-ontological principles, with a heavy emphasis on the ugliness and deviancy of modern civilization. That can explain the quasi-traditional interpretation of the Garden I offered you, relieved by the metaphysical bent within it.
5. I accept the account you give of the Garden in terms of the significance of the serpent, with its promise of knowledge of “good and evil” (what you write about the “awakening of the feminine” is wonderfully inspiring). I think it is correct on the whole, and reminds me of some other instances in mythology to that effect (recently attended a performance of the Ring of the Nibelungs, by R. Wagner, where Faffner, a giant (a dragon or serpent in other Germanic stories), makes its appearance. This being is avaricious but has supra-human abilities, like understanding the songs of birds. The Titans of Greek mythology were also benefactors of mankind. So, knowledge? Yes, but it comes with a price… and a risk. The risk is that serpents and dragons are ambivalent beings; they are not just friendly, or helpful to man; some danger may lurk hidden in them, like a poison, or a fiery breath. Myths have the characteristic of being polysemic (having several meanings)
The price to pay is that none other than a hero can conquer them before they release their boon/treasure.
Science and technology come at a price, which may be too high; time will tell. I am not in favor or against science and technology; it is here, and is still making in-roads, as something that had to happen: inevitable, given man’s abilities and ambitions: “to conquer Nature”, “discover its secrets”. How many are looking inside themselves, would be followers of Jesus, or of the dharma? A few are. The final point I wanted to make is to ponder on the meaning of the Greek word ‘hubris’, and I would leave you there. But before that, I would also make a plea for exoteric religion, including the bhakti way: from what we saw before, it is not all negative; it is, for a majority of people, the only way of advancement in a meaningful, spiritual way, and it brings cohesion, as well as beautiful art (painting, music, mystical poetry, etc.)