Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Nibbling At the Ineffable

Originally posted on April 29, 2015

There are Hindu legend that use the word “kalpa,” which refers to the time it takes for a universe to form. So, alluding to this myth, I envision a tiny bird pecking at a granite mountain, getting a few molecules of that mountain. The meta-cosmos is the great universe that includes the 3-D cosmos plus the realms of mind. All this is far beyond the human capacity to describe, which is the meaning of “ineffable.” I imagine that the cosmic Truths are like that mountain and that I’m that bird: One peck, a few molecules of truth: nibbling at the ineffable. That’s how it works.

I don’t presume to know; I’m “apophatic.” I don’t think humans can know. It is enough to contemplate, to create a plausible hypothesis, to articulate a hunch. I know that it’s bigger or deeper than words can suggest. So I contemplate.

I use the affectation, “contemplateur.” I suspect that it’s my dharma, my assigned task, by virtue of the gifts given me, and a measure of noblesse oblige, to contemplate, to some degree on this blog you are reading.

Kings in ancient empires were given every luxury, every prerogative, but their duty was to govern well, and governing is no small responsibility. I am no king, but I am obliged in proportion to my good fortune to give back, and what I can give back is a unique gift that utilizes all my education, as physician, psychiatrist, student of many subjects, etc. I know well that my conclusions are far from final, but I do what I can.

One of my favorite folk songs begins with “When I first came to this land…” and a punch line is, “…and I did what I could.” For me, the land was that of knowledge rather than farmland, and I am doing what I can with what’s been given to me.

In addition to a list of good fortunes that I live with, I realize that what I’ve been given many supports. Indeed, our level of civilization and peace is something I’m very grateful for. My surroundings, the support of my wife, the stimulation of my friends, help me I’m a philosopher of sorts, but I philosophically realize the limits of trying to rationally coordinate (to use Whitehead’s phrase) the cosmos. There are too many variables that can not be coordinated using reason. It’s more like music, humor, context, other non-linear variables. By non-linear I mean that you can’t logically trace the path from A to B. Partly it takes a side trip to L with a touch of M (which to some is an edge of Hell with a touch of Hmmm and Yummm), partly it pops through with a jolt, an epiphany, so that somehow it all makes sense, no problem, yes.

My dying thus transforms from THE ultimate tragedy—i.e, what do you mean I’m going to die, too??!!— to no big deal, when the great enterprise of God getting born into new levels of Becoming-ness is given priority. Then my epitaph will be, “He got to help.”

Brushing aside the latent grandiosity, there aren’t that many contemplateurs around and it turns out that I’ve assumed that identity. It’s a construct: There is no such thing. And indeed, all identities are constructs. But never mind. I like it.

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