Plain in the city

A plain Quaker folk singer with a Juris Doctorate in his back pocket, salt in his blood, and a set of currach oars in the closet, Ulleann Pipes under his arm, guitar on his back, Anglo Irish baggage, wandering through New York City ... in constant amaze. Statement of Faithfulness. As a member of the Quaker Bloggers Ad Hoc Committee I affirm that I will be faithful to the Book of Discipline of my Meeting 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

We Can only Really Know Anything by Other Than by Abstraction

We Can only Really Know Anything by Other Than by Abstraction

In an earlier post Richard said that he finds me an abstract thinker.... to quote the young folks vernacular, Duh?!

Let's put God to one side a moment and consider a glass of ice water. Where is the real glass? We look at it without touching it. Do we experience the glass or the abstract? Well, light bounces off the glass, goes into our eye, and we interpret the signals in our brain, abstraction. If we have glaucoma we can experience a leprechaun carrying a ladder in the same way. We touch the glass and are we touching the real glass. Our experience is not on our fingertips, but in the electric stimulation within our brains. We drink water from the glass, and we do not experience the glass. We can study what it is about. We can parse it out to the point that it is star dust coming to matter on earth, becoming sand, melting into glass, and yet, all that is not to bring the reality of the drinking glass into our being.

For me it is the same with God. The difference is that the attempt to go completely as we can beyond all we tell ourselves and God tells us in abstraction, and hold the completeness of the mystery and faith at once in our mind, and then make it simple enough, to listen and wait. This is not abstraction. It is reality, it is the acceptance that all we know is an image of the real and NOT the real. Many claim to have transcended the image, and yet, spend huge amounts of time defending the image in stead of acknowledging the unknowable aspect that for me IS the truth where faith takes over.

So, an answer to the question of the title is, we begin to know in silence.


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