Saturday, September 3, 2011

to be, to be like.

I've heard sometimes that there are two ways of understanding and defining things. You can either describe what they are like or divide them from what they are not, and these are conflicting approaches. While the first way seems to evoke a primitive kind of cosmology, a tangible world where similitude, meaning and metaphor belong together, the other is linked more with Western rationality. The whole idea seems to lament the responsible necessity of dividing logic's desired Reality from the countless perspectives known by experience.

I'm not sure that this is right. The fullest and most resonant ideas seem to approach their subjects according to their shape and their substance simultaneously, working through the relationships and differences between both aspects of each thing as we see them to be. The universe is varied and yet it's real; it's not a homogenous field of feeling, intense yet irrelevant to the nothingness outside it. It's not a mass of shadows or echoes, and certainly not a cold shell of categories.

Logic stands strong, but never stands alone. The further you travel into understanding the layers upon layers of what the world is (independently of us, except for ourselves) and is significant as, this grows: feeling and meaning stand together in a highly natural way.

Knowledge like this can be surprising and intense. It can be familiar and ordinary. That's not the point; there's something deeply right about handling what defines and what comprises a thing in the same breath. Even if you won't and can't pin all things down like dead moths, they may not be elusive to reason.

Even when it feels like the sense of sight has rarely, if ever, existed for us.

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