Friday, August 7, 2015

Well Said: The Search of Reason and The Sense of the Ineffable

The search of reason ends at the shore of the known; on the immense expanse beyond it only the sense of the ineffable can glide. It alone knows the route to that which is remote from experience and understanding. Neither of them is amphibious: reason cannot go beyond the shore, and the sense of the ineffable is out of place where we measure, where we weigh.

We do not leave the shore of the known in search of adventure or suspense or because of the failure of reason to answer our questions. We sail because our mind is like a fantastic sea shell, and when applying our ears to its lips we hear a perpetual murmur from the waves beyond the shore.
Abraham Heschel, Man Is Not Alone
I was talking to my spiritual advisor about the first paragraph. He pointed out that we can't live purely on reason or the ineffable. We live at their intersection.

This raised a lovely image for me of walking in the damp sand by the sea, with occasional wavelets lapping around my ankles. We can walk more in the land of reason, struggling through the dry, hot sand. We can wade in the sea of the ineffable, with the waves pulling and pushing our legs, impeding progress. It is on that damp sand that the walk is the easiest, the most satisfying, and lets us sample both land and sea.

I like it.

1 comment:

  1. Uncle Screwtape points out that we are amphibians, right on the border between the animal and the spiritual and intellectual. As intellects we can glimpse that immense expanse, and know that what we seek is out there; as animals, our intellects are too weak to take it all in or see our destination clearly.

    Good thing we have a native guide. :-)