Thursday, April 30, 2015


We all know that we’re more than we appear to be; more not only than what we appear to be to others, but more than what we appear to be to ourselves. 

We all know that every individual is a member of a community, whether that individual is a single cell in a multicelled organism or a single star in a galaxy of stars.

No one member of a community can know every other member as well as it knows itself, therefore no one member can know its community as well as it knows itself. Therefore no individual can know itself completely because it is, in addition to being its individual self, a member of its community.

Each individual, in addition to being a member of a community, is itself a community. The individual multicelled organism is a community of cells, and the individual galaxy is a community of stars. But although the individual is usually aware of the community to which it belongs, it is usually no more aware of the individual parts of which it is itself composed than a multicelled organism is aware of the individual cells of which it is composed.     

This is what philosophers call a priori knowledge. Everything else we learn, whether we call it religion or science, assumes this. But is it true? Or is it only the way in which we, being who and what we are, see the truth?

It seemed true for us, for a long time. But no longer. Now we tell ourselves we’re only individuals and nothing more, afraid of discovering/remembering what more we might be.

People used to take comfort in the knowledge that we're more than we appear to be, are part of something greater than our individual selves. They gave a name to that greater self and aspired to live in harmony with it. Some even worshipped it. They tried to love each other as they loved it and believed it loved them in return. But no longer.

As they learned more about the world and themselves, people realized they'd done, and were still doing, terrible things. They stopped believing in their gods not because science discredited religion, but because they couldn’t imagine even a god could be capable of forgiving such crimes as theirs. 

Some people claim to still believe in a god, but theirs is a god of vengeance, not love. They‘re appalled not only by what they’ve done, but the fact that they're still doing it, unable to stop themselves. They’re incapable of repentance and therefore of redemption.

They've learned much, but not enough. Enough to destroy themselves, but not enough to save themselves.

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