How did it all begin? Well according to the biblical teachings pushed on kids in America, it was all Eve's fault. Her fall was the fall of mankind.
(Of course, anyone who reads more deeply is surprised to find out there was more than one first couple and therefore probably more than one origin story and Earthly paradise. The name Lilith may be familiar). Nevertheless, Jewish and Christian histories -- borrowing heavily from distorted sources without attribution -- paint a dismal picture of human life.
This is probably why so many Americans are drawn to Buddhist and allied Eastern philosophies (Taoism, Yoga Sutras, Vedic Brahmanism, Hinduism, Sufism, Jainism, etc.) The potential of what it means to be human is much better.
From the human plane we are capable of attaining anything else, the wished for and the dreaded. It is possible to become a divinity (brahma), a light being (rupa loka deva), a celestial being (akasha deva), a fairy or nature spirit (bhummi deva), a better human, a ghost (preta), an animal, a monster, a hellion, a bodhisattva (striving to save others), a buddha (a rediscoverer and teacher of the timeless truth), a jerk, or a saint (arhat).