Robert Augustus Masters

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Letting Revelation Supplant Explanation

  • February 27, 2016
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Many of us are attached to believing that everything happens for a reason. But many things actually happen, arguably including incarnation, simply because various factors have, through their mutual intersecting and interactions — that is, through their inherent interrelatedness, overlappings, and cross-pollination — made such manifestation inevitable.


Each of these factors has its factors, and so on, back and back and back, in surpassingly complex contingency. This, all put together in a causal context, makes for something far more real than “a reason.”


We may not want to fully acknowledge the contingent nature of whatever arises — including us — trying instead to assign some kind of meaning to it, but such explanatory strategies do not even remotely approach what is really occurring.


We make meaning and meaning makes us, and on and on this spins in cranial roundabouts, stuffing us with explanatory data. “Just when I found the meaning of life,” said George Carlin, “they changed it.” And we is they.


Significance, unlike meaning, does not explain but reveals. And when revelation takes hold and our usual familiarity with things is largely shed, we start to more deeply sense reality apart from whatever meaning we’ve given it.