November 9th, 2008

Generic Meditaton Issues; The Cloud of Unknowing

Between Pseudo Dionysius and John of the Cross stands the great (perhaps next to the Tao te Ching, the greatest) mystical classic: The Cloud of Unknowing, unsurpassed in its defense of the via negativa, the thesis that God cannot be known but only loved.

Without intending to insult anybody, I believe that people with the greatest spirirtual insights always arrive at the same conclusion. She/He/It can never be known by us, Her/His/Its "ways are not our ways," one may "not look upon the face of God and live."

It seems to me that this awareness ought to contribute to an attidude of tolerance on the part of anyone who holds it.  I am troubled by anyone who claims that God is the "mysterium Tremendom" and yet is concerned with heresy or false belief, for it seems that from this perspective all beliefs are somewhat heretical and all are at least partially false.  If I cannot know God, then I cannot criticize someone elses knowlege of Him/Her/It except on the basis of some cultural, moral, or idiosyncratic criteria.

The unnamed fourteenth century author of "Cloud" unites the mystical tradition in Christianity to the great mystical traditions from east of the Indus River.  He also reminds me of the implications of quantum mechanics.  The cloud of unknowing is like the "event horizon," material reality comes at us at the speed of light; but from whence does it come?  It comes from the real reality, from what the physicist (but not the rest of us) calls "virtual" reality.  There js always a horizon, even in outer space, no matter where you go, there is a horizon which moves away as you move toward it, like a Leprachan's pot of gold.  The noumenon of which phenomena are way too imperfect reflections, remains unknown to both scientific and spiritual seekers.  We may only guess, and love, and imagine, and accept.

Faster than the speed of light rests the unmoved mover.