Other minds are our most accessible source of divine alterity, of the accessibly alien, but for this very reason our most intrusive source of dread.
The accessibly alien is a thin dark ring of potential-understanding separating the bright spark of understanding from the infinite expanse of blindness beyond understanding, which some people call “absurd”, others call “mystery”, and others call “nothing”.
As long as we discuss common objects, the things standing around us illuminated by our common understandings. we seem alike. We come from the same place, we want similar things, and we live together peacefully as neighbors.
But when we try to share what is nearest to us with our nearest neighbor the divine alterity shows. As distance diminishes, our innerness — the source of illumination that gives our knowledge meaning — burns with intolerable blinding intensity, and the light it radiates turns strange, hinting in a way that cannot be doubted how much deeper, wider, denser, inexhaustible and incomprehensible reality is, and how thin and partial even the most thorough knowledge is. Too much is exposed. Perplexity engulfs us, and anxiety floods in.
Our stomachs drop, our chests tighten and burn, acid rises in the backs of our throats. Our alarms go off, and the talk will be made to stop. Only the most trusting love and disciplined faith will pull us across the estrangement. This is what it takes to raise two divine sparks.
To many of us this dread seems a mortal threat. And we are right in a sense.
2 thoughts on “Divine trigger”
Extremely descriptive of human interactions and reactions. I’ve been closely observing my brief relationships with people while I am shopping. I am sure we differ on many political and religious issues, but loving kindness is contagious. Without outside interference from opinions spewed out when we use various electronic devises, especially podcasts/television/opinion pieces, I have observed that our common humanity dominates in most situations. We chose to live peaceably in community. Media benefits much more when we hate each other.
This is why etiquette prohibits discussions of serious issues. If we try to expose our souls to one another it challenges our own sense of truth, and with it our sense of self.
I’m recalling a Modest Mouse song:
“No one really knows the ones they love.
If you knew everything they thought
I bet that you would wish that they’d just shut up.”