Interliminal vacuum

Between conceptual understandings that describe the same phenomena lies a gap of unintelligibility: an interliminal vacuum.

Within this space we do not know how to make sense of what we experience. We don’t know what is what, we don’t know what to make of things or how to respond, and our feelings are unstable and conflicted. Our sense of what, how and why is upturned and scrambled, and no definitions, methods or moral codes are available to guide us out. In fact, we do not even know if a way out exists, and intrinsic to this experience is the profoundly anxious immediate certainty that no way out does exist! Indispensable is a faith trained to refuse to accept  this certainty of impossibility at face value, and to rather accept it as one landmark of this interliminal vacuum.

As we come out — if we come out (many turn back) — we realize that each conceptual understanding reveals and conceals, clarifies and confuses, questions and suppresses different aspects of observed reality. We understand that tradeoffs must be made. Certainly, we have been pursuing truth, but it is not The Truth as it Really Is. We were after a finite truth better suited to our finite purposes. This truth must explain reality as we experience it — rigor is required — but this rigor is no longer a comprehensive objective truth capabable of answering every objection thrown at it. This notion of truth is a damaging fantasy — a misnorm that interferes with finding new truths. The only truth that is possible is a best-we-have-right-now-for-where-we-are truth, that emphasizes and deemphasizes different facts and knows the truth that this is what is required to have and share truth with other, finite human beings.

Success in this strange field (interconceptual navigation) requires at least three capabilities:

  1. A tolerance for distress intrinsic to traversing the interliminal vacuum,
  2. An understanding of what truth is, how truth works and why we need it,
  3. A surefooted sense of when we ought to stay put in a truth and when we must leave the truth we know to puncture the horizon and into the vacuum to find another more suitable truth, and
  4. Recognizing new truth when it is found, even though unsettled truth feels unsettlingly wild, swampy and soft and unsuited for settlement.