I don’t know everything, but I’ve always known that, beneath all the illusions of this world, there’s nothing. That’s why I’ve always held back from this world we’ve made.
I’ve always known that I have nothing to do with this world, nor it with me. I'm a microcosm of the macrocosm that is the real world. That’s not too crude and simple a way to put it. The truth sounds simple to those who know it, and complex to those for whom it's no more than an idea.
For some time now scientists have been saying what mystics have always said: our reality is an illusion. This idea sounds crude and simple the way they put it because it’s new to them.
The universe, physicists now say, is a hologram, a three-dimensional image of a two-dimensional reality; but what that reality is, they don’t say. Consciousness, aka the mind, cognitive scientists say, is an illusion; but what consciousness is experiencing this illusion, they don’t say.
Some say the reality beneath these illusions is what we used to call god; but that’s not helpful because the word ‘god’ no longer means what it used to; and it never did mean the same thing to everyone.
“What is truth?” asked Pilate, for which he was and is vilified by those ignorant enough to think they know the truth because their leader supposedly told them “I am the way and the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father except through me”.
I prefer to think Jesus didn’t say this. He said many wise things, for which I respect him; and if he didn’t say them - if these things were put into his mouth by others - I respect whoever did say them, and am content to call that person or persons ‘Jesus’ just as I'm content to call the person or persons who authored the Iliad and the Odyssey ‘Homer’. The truth is true no matter who says it.
I hope the foolish things Jesus said were also put into his mouth by others; but if he really did say those things, I can forgive him doing so. He was just a man, after all; a poor ignorant carpenter. Forgive him, Father, for he knew not what he did. None of us do.
Wisdom is knowing how ignorant we are. Only the ignorant assume that, if they don’t know everything, they know everything they need to know.
Thinking of Pilate reminds me of Donald Rumsfeld, who was vilified for saying much the same thing Pilate said, but not as simply nor as well. “There are known knowns,” said Rumsfeld. “These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know”.
Those who vilified Rumsfeld accused him of merely attempting to deny what he knew, what everyone knew. And of course he was. Nevertheless what he said was true.
Even when we attempt to lie, as Rumsfeld did, we tell the truth inadvertently. Most of what we do, we do inadvertently, because we don't know ourselves.
Wittgenstein advised us to never say more than we know, which was a foolish thing to say because we always say more than we know. We never know enough to speak with certainty about anything, and yet we speak. Rumsfeld, I suspect, knows that's true, even if he used that knowledge to lie, or attempt to lie. We can't lie because, in order to lie, we would have to know the truth.