Sacred and profane

The bits of reality that understand that they and all other bits of reality are finite participants in absolute infinitude — each its own center-point in the infinite sphere whose center is everywhere, but whose circumference is nowhere —  seem almost essentially different from the finite bits of reality that mistake themselves for the absolute itself, by seeing validity in only one of the myriad possible truth-conceptions.

One of the better essentialisms, if one must be an essentialist is the distinction between sacred and profane.

The sacred is deeply, humbly, mystically pluralist. If one commits to a single truth, this is a methodological decision.

The profane, on the other hand, is philosophically omniscient, conceptually equipped to understand every relevant fact, though lacking capacity to contain all facts, because nobody can know everything.


If I could make one change to the world it would be to persuade all parents to adopt this as their scold of choice: “You are not the sole center of the universe.”


We have sacred and profane confused. Sacredness is oriented toward living relationship with what is not ourselves — not comprehension, belief or identity, which has much more to do with our own sequestered mental processes, however passionately we process our mental product.

But we feel heat from high-voltage mental short-circuits and mistake it for the warmth of care.

This encourages us to view the most profane, fevered theological fanatics for the most devoutly religious people, despite the fact that the object of their devotion is ideoidols — not any being who transcends their imaginations. Similarly, we allow ideological identity-mongers to enjoy exclusive rights to the virtue of empathy, though their intense feelings are bound up now with real living people that they know personally, but with their own mental images, their own logics, their own sociological theories, and most of all their own ethical status — and they fail to notice that they dehumanize not only their detested enemies, but those they imagine themselves to champion. Worshippers of imagined gods, defenders of make-believe people, riding into epic battles on the side of good against the forces of evil — dangerous sleepwalkers in philosophical Augmented Reality goggles, swinging real weapons in real rooms with real people in them…

Meanwhile, sacredness goes about its work respectfully and unobtrusively, learning, sharing, forming relationships and making modest accomplishments.

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