Monday, November 15, 2010

Think Of Nothing

Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.

Kurt Vonnegut
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet." Shakespeare. Most of the people in the world practice idolatry. Surely not I? Yes, you.

If I say "ball" something globular comes to your mind. Is it a floating bubble, a baseball or the moon? And if I say "truth" now what? It may mean to you that which is not a lie, or it may mean reality or actuality. Or it may mean to some the fundamental and all encompassing state of existence. In fact it means none of those things. "Truth" simply means Truth. It's a term we have to identify something which is otherwise inexpressible. A good dictionary will devote a large section to the word and yet we toss it around as if it was a ball. "Tell the truth." "Be truthful." "Be true to yourself." "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?" That oath has nothing to do with truth. It's about facts. A fact is a very small thing measured against the universal dimensions of truth. Even so truth still remains a term, a title, a concept.

As soon as we reduce something to a concept, ball, rose, truth, the universe, we limit it and force it back to the center, to the garden variety of ideas. It isn't anything. It merely stands for something and the something has no word. We may turn around in circles and say the word ball stand for something that looks like a ball.

The word "God" is not God. It is a term we have to describe something that has no words to describe it. And yet some people worship the name. "Oh God, hear my prayer." They are praying to a word. That's idolatry.

To be out on the edge is to be at a place where there are no words, where concepts are left behind and where thinking is free to see and understand the unnamable. The great philosophers and theologians of history talk about enlightenment (for want of a better word) but even that is a concept, an idea whose real meaning is unknown even to the enlightened, because the enlightened have left the world of words.

When, by accident or inspiration, people approach the edge where terminology stops, they turn and run back to the center where they feel safe with the concepts in the garden. Those who stay at the edge can bring back the sights of unexplainable wisdom. But a few unknowns have had the courage to step off, supported by light and unmindful of the world they left behind.


(This is not a contest.)

At what event of the past do you wish you could be present? Why?

8 responses so far.

Thank you.


nothing profound said...

Words are one thing, the world another. It takes a trained eye to see the difference.

*Lovely blog. Love all the quotes.*

Just Bill said...

Dana, I guess I missed your point.
"God, hear my prayers." To me the word God represents or denotes a supreme spiritual being. How is that worshiping a word? How am I praying to a word? How can this be considered idolatry?
I just don't get it! Bill

That corgi :) said...

I think there are lots of words to describe "God" assuming one knows who the real "God" is. Everlasting, eternal, creator, restorer, redeemer, savior, truthful, trustworthy, faithful, forgiving, awesome, mighty, majestic, almighty, friend and so many more. I don't worship the name, I worship the person behind the name. Not a concept, not a title, but a person. I'm with Bill, I don't get it either.