Here's another post from the early years of this blog that I just came across in the course of choosing content for my second book of Church of the Churchless posts.
I'll probably keep on doing more of this "blast from the past" stuff until I'm finished with the second book, which doesn't have a name yet. The less time I spend on writing new content for this blog, the more time I'll have to work on that book.
As before, the italicized introduction is what will accompany the post. I like to share a few thoughts about how I view each old blog post now. Sometimes I still whole-heartedly agree with a post. Sometimes I'm half-hearted about it, since my views are evolving.
I’m still pretty sure that existence, life, and consciousness are unknowable, since they are the mysterious foundation of all our knowing. But I’m not absolutely sure about this. That’s the beauty of not-knowing. It leaves us open to all sorts of possibilities.
God calls me a fool. I agree.
May 28, 2006
Churchless brothers and sisters, God spoke to me this morning. Now the spirit is calling me to share the word. I’m just a tool. Also, a fool.
That was the message: “Brian, you don’t know.” To which I replied, “Oh God, you’re so right. I don’t know.”
Now, I can hear the skeptics asking, “How do you know that God was speaking to you if what you heard was, You don’t know?” Well, all I can say is that I know what I know, and I don’t know what I don’t know. And I know that God was letting me know that I don’t know.
Seems clear to me.
As so much often does in the morning when the caffeine is flowing through my hyped-up neurons and reading one of my holy churchless books tunes me into the harmonies of the cosmos’ deepest mysteries.
Like, the ultimate mystery: existence. And, the penultimate mystery: why something exists within existence. In this rarefied philosophical territory, I’m gasping fruitlessly for the air of even the slightest understanding.
As are we all.
Such was the divine inspiration stimulated by my reading of John Horgan’s “Rational Mysticism.” In a concluding chapter he says that no one — not Jesus, not Buddha, not Muhammad, not Moses, nor any other guru, sage, or prophet, no one — could ever know the ultimate whys and wherefores of creation.
Why is there something rather than nothing? No one knows. And if you don’t know that, then any claim to knowing It All is spurious.
Laughingly so. Ridiculously so.
Which helps explain why, after my not-knowing revelation had been revealed to me, I felt so good. For quite a while my meditation mantra became “I don’t know…I don’t know…I don’t know.” With every repetition I became more connected to the great Don’t Know.
There’s a joy in being a religious fool.
I could feel the pressure of got to know… got to know… got to know dissipating. I felt emptier, lighter, freer. I realized that I’ll never know, you’ll never know, no one will ever know. Not everything. Not the deepest mysteries. They’re unknowable.
Existence. Life. Consciousness. Science doesn’t have a clue. Religion doesn’t have a clue. Humanity is clueless. That brought a foolish smile to my meditative face. The pressure to know is off. Accept it.
You exist. You’re alive. You’re conscious.
But nobody can know what existence is, what life is, what consciousness is. To penetrate those mysteries you’d have to be non-existent, not-alive, unconscious. Who, then, would be around to do the penetrating? Or to be aware of what lies at the bottom of it all?
We are what we’re trying to know. It isn’t possible to know when there isn’t a sub-atomic particle’s distance between us and the object of knowledge. There can be no knowing when there isn’t a knower and the known.
But there can be fools who don’t know. I’m happy to be part of this august group. Which includes everybody on the planet. Including those who believe that they know.
Are they even bigger fools? Good question. Have to say, though: I don’t know.