Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Light Too Bright

From "A Light Too Bright; The Enlightenment Today", by Paulos Mar Gregorios [emphasis mine]

"But the light of the European Enlightenment today shines so bright that it covers up much more than it reveals. It is like vision during the day and during the clear night; we can see many details of our earth very clearly by sunlight, which we would not see by the light of the stars or of the moon at night. But during that process of seeing by sunlight we give up the possibility of seeing the night sky with its galazies of stars, the other planets, and the moon.

It is only as the daylight fades and the dusk begins to obscure much of the detail we see by day, that the night sky with all its grandeur and splendor comes into view. Our European Enlightenment is something like the daylight, which makes us see many things that we would not have seen without its help; but in that very process of opening up a detailed and clear vision of some things, the daylight, by its very brightness, eclipses the stunningly vast expanse of the billions of galaxies that lie around. It is too bright a light, this European Enlightenment and its critical rationality. If we lived all twenty four hours by sunlight we would miss out on most of reality, which "comes to light" only when the sunlight is dimmed, and when even the moon's reflection of the sunlight is not too forceful." p.187-88.

There's a lot to unpack; this wonderfully enlightening thing, "the" sun - is only one of billions, a small one at that in comparison to stars in the rest of the universe, etc. I'd like to work this in with Rav Kook, Abarbanel and Rav Soloveitchik at some point later.


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