Friday, November 5, 2010

"How Do We Express What Cannot Be Said?"

Roger Scruton asks that question — Effing the Ineffable.

On the one hand, we have "Thomas Aquinas, who devoted some two million words to spelling out, in the Summa Theologica, the nature of the world, God’s purpose in creating it and our fate in traversing it, ended his short life (short by our standards, at least) in a state of ecstasy, declaring that all that he had written was of no significance beside the beatific vision that he had been granted, and in the face of which words fail."

On the other hand, we have "Kierkegaard, who argues in a hundred ways that the ultimate is inexpressible, that truth is 'subjectivity,' that the meaning of life can be given by no formula, no proposition, no abstraction, but only by the concrete experience of surrender whose content can never be given in words," and "Schopenhauer, for whom the truth of the world is Will, which cannot be represented in concepts," and who "devoted roughly 500,000 words to this thing that no words can capture."

Labels: , , , ,

Bookmark and Share


OpenID danightman said...



God is not understandable in His own context.

Therefore, we are limited in how we can understand Him to analogy and negative statements. Analogy means we speak of His attributes in terms we understand, which themselves are a shadow of His infinity. For example, to even say "God is" is a analogical statement, since our being is contingent (dependent on the existence of other things, ie, you from your parents). God is because He is being itself.

This is why, when Moses asks for the name of God, He answers "I am."

The other term is a statement about what God cannot be because that would imply a contradiction.

11:38 AM  
Blogger love the girls said...

Odenskrigare writes ;"Now tell me why I should believe any of this (without assuming that I already believe any of it to begin with)"

For most men that is finally the best that can be done because the arguments are finally beyond their capacity to understand. And I don't see you as one of the exceptions.

1:51 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.