Thursday, 14 August 2008

The Knowledge

I was chatting to my daughter the other day, and explaining the story of the Garden of Eden. She wondered why eating from the tree of knowledge (of good and evil) was such a bad thing.
It got me to thinking...
Is having knowledge a good thing or not?
There are certain things which I really don't want to I will die, what war is like, how to kill, what people say about me when I am not around. *grins
There are certain things which I don't care enough about to want to know.... what the FTSE 100 is, who is going to win Big Brother this year, how a traction engine works, the periodic table.
But generally I am hungry for new knowledge and information, I like to see how the world 'ticks', to understand things in greater depth and often I wish was better educated or born clever.
But is ignorance bliss? Is knowledge dangerous?
Would life be happier and more fulfilled if we were largely ignorant of the world, other than our own small area? Would we be less frightened, worried, jealous and unsatisfied if we never saw the world outside?
Probably, but maybe its better that we KNOW whats happening, even if we suffer a little.

What if this question is applied to Faith?.
Do we need to be knowledgeable or ignorant to have faith?
Faith is defined in the dictionary as 'confidence or trust in a person or thing' or 'belief that is not based on proof'' or 'the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise..'
Is a person who studies theology, knows the historical background to their Deity, questions, looks for proof, or considers modern contexts, more faithful than the person who simply accepts without question?
Do we need to let go of some of our 'rational', to experience true connection to our Gods?
Like I explained in my post Little Treasures, do we need to hear the music rather than identify each individual instrument. Or will hearing the instruments within the music, increase our pleasure when we see how they blend together.
Is it better to KNOW? or not.
Please share your thoughts.


Anonymous said...

Hi there - well, you might have known this would get me going, when I should be working!!!

With regard to the 'tree of knowledge', I have always thought of this as a metaphor of our separation from God. I will try to explain what I mean. I believe that there is a knowledge of our true self as one with the Creator - not so much a knowledge 'of' anything, but an ultimate 'knowing' - a state of being that is sublime. I think this story is about two different modes of consciousness. When we come 'down' into the physical dimension we come into another state of being, and that is one of a sense of our 'little self' as a being separate from other physical beings, other 'little selfs'. This is what I think the metaphor is about. We have come away from being at one with our Creator, (if you like, the 'Big Self') and become identified with our own small, physical selves. Of course, when we are preoccupied with our small self we are in a state of dualism and comparison all the time - we are always wanting to know what will happen, to be in control, to have power and knowledge of one sort or another. We have come away from our original state and made ourselves into mini 'Gods'. Hence all the trouble in the world, the 'good and evil'. Our only hope lies in a longing to return to that bigger God where ego and self are lost in that bigger, ultimate, reality. Of course, we often sense the joy of that loss of self when we have our moments in nature or music or in loving another person ( and when we die?) - but it is so often tantalising and elusive.

We can't understand how on earth to reconcile these two states - how to be physical and in the physical world with all its pain and beauty, and also be aware of that higher consciousness at the same time. The world is beautiful, created by that bigger reality, but how can we live in it?

Hence (for me) the meaning of Jesus - who was a perfect model of what it is to be both fully human and also surrendered to that bigger reality, utterly without ego or judgement.

Love forever
Old Crone xxxxx

Anonymous said...

In most of the very early greek translations of the bible - the serpent was referred to as "Lucifer", the "bringer of light". Jesus Christ was also given this name in the earliest versions of some of the books in the new testament.

The gnostics believed that the Hebrew people worshiped the god of war, and it was Lucifer who came to save them, and later Jesus who tells people over and over in the New Testament that they worship the wrong god. They though that the gift of knowledge was a way of being rescued from that god, but it does not seem like it worked very well.

In this day when thousands of Christians/Muslims/Jews are dieing at the hands of the followers of that same god, I wonder if there is not some truth to this....

Anonymous said...

Okay, I've just posted on my blog about not wearing trousers and here you have this. So which one of us was born more clever? ;-)

I like what your anonymous Old Crone says, particulary the image of "mini-gods" as I have always seen the Genesis story as just that - humans wanting to be just like God, and there we had the birth of sin.

But your faith question is really interesting. To know or not to know, that is the question.

My professional life influences me in this one. I help people try and understand problems in their life. By understanding more, they can see hope and begin to find ways to deal with things differently. Sometimes we are sitting in the bottom of a hole, unable to see a way out... until someone points out to us that the tree roots make a very good ladder.

But conversely, we can never know everything and sometimes we have to realise that there is so much going on that we don't know (or can ever know). When we realise just how small we are in the big scale of things, it puts things into perspective I think. But faith to me is the answer to paralysis... faith in something bigger, something better and something that we don't have to understand fully in order to know we are fully loved. For me, that bigger "thing" is God, Father, Son and Spirit. Any of that make sense or was I just wittering?

I'm off to study traction engines now...

Anonymous said...

(Your live feed has me visiting regularly! See what happens when you put hangman on your blog?)