casting out

The questions raised by our thirst for knowledge arise from our curiosity about the world, our desire to investigate whatever is given to our sensory apparatus… The questions raised by the desire to know are in principle all answerable by common-sense experience and common-sense reasoning; they are exposed to corrigible error and illusion in the same way as sense perceptions and experiences. Even the relentlessness of modern science’s Progress, which constantly corrects itself by discarding the answers and reformulating the questions, does not contradict science’s basic goal — to see and to know the world as it is given to the senses — and its concept of truth is derived from the common-sense experience of irrefutable evidence, which dispels error and illusion. But the questions raised by thinking and which it is in reason’s very nature to raise — questions of meaning — are all unanswerable by common sense and the refinement of it we call science. The quest for meaning is “meaningless” to common sense and common-sense reasoning because it is the sixth sense’s function to fit us into the world of appearances and make us at home in the world given by our five senses; there we are and no questions asked.

To expect truth to come from thinking signifies that we mistake the need to think with the urge to know. Thinking can and must be employed in the attempt to know, but in the exercise of this function it is never itself; it is but the handmaiden of an altogether different enterprise.

By posing the unanswerable questions of meaning, men establish themselves as question-asking beings. Behind all the cognitive questions for which men find answers, there lurk the unanswerable ones that seem entirely idle and have always been denounced as such. It is more than likely that men, if they were ever to lose the appetite for meaning we call thinking and cease to ask unanswerable questions, would lose not only the ability to produce those thought-things that we call works of art but also the capacity to ask all the answerable questions upon which every civilization is founded. While our thirst for knowledge may be unquenchable because of the immensity of the unknown, the activity itself leaves behind a growing treasure of knowledge that is retained and kept in store by every civilization as part and parcel of its world. The loss of this accumulation and of the technical expertise required to conserve and increase it inevitably spells the end of this particular world.

~Hannah Arendt

why can’t we see what is obvious?

inquiry for today~ never except what is not known from the heart…..

whose truth is best?

One of the great masters of the long walk through time is the Earth itself, as it turns ever so slowly on its axis, turning in place forever. This unconscious devotion to being sustains all life and keeps the mountains and oceans from spinning into space. This great and silent teacher holds the secret of being. For we are each born with an unconscious devotion to turn in place around the unseeable center. And in doing so, we sustain all life. When the Earth devotes itself to this majestic turn, ever inward, it creates and renews a force we call gravity. When we devote ourselves to this majestic turn around the unseeable center, we create and sustain a force we call love. And it is love like gravity that keeps the continents from breaking apart and spinning into space.

~Mark Nepo

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