In the beginning it is all about our senses and feeding them. Then comes the moral or ethical phase of our lives, when, by our families, education, religion and culture we are given rules and values by which we live in community with others. Essentially we move from just self-pleasing to a getting along with others in some sort of man-made system of existence, more or less abiding and occasionally regressing to our more primitive nature.
And this is cycle where many remain, along life’s way, teeter tottering between the aesthetic and the ethical– haphazardly making our way, not by choice, but by happenstance…as we are born where we are and for the most part stumble through.
And even when, we make radical choices to exert ourselves, in some counter-culture move, we are merely jumping from one man-made system to the next– trusting a new “THEY got it right” way of living…which in the end, can’t really be proven can it? As we are, after all, existing in a point and time as man will always be.
Therefore, to attain a higher level of human existence, the only logical choice is to go beyond our own existence, beyond what “feels” right or what works in a particular setting, and choose to believe an “objective uncertainty” that cannot completely be proven by our mere mortal means. In other words, we humbly admit our undeniable subjectivity and attach ourselves to something beyond our wildest dreams…someone much greater
Such is our belief in God when it comes by way of a personal choice made in a moment of personal clarity– by a leap of faith as they say. Although there may be stepping stones…historical evidence, a “word,” proofs, and good feelings involved, in the end, to believe something we cannot possibly know beyond all doubt, is a bold choice; an exerting of one’s existence in a way that cannot be replicated even in art. I hesitate to say that this final stage is referred to as the “religious stage” because it may send the wrong message or cause the reader to cringe, as these days the term seems to be tinged with righteous snootiness…some sort of moral hypocrisy or dogma instead of the more spiritual sense intended.
This thinking, first introduced to me in 1994 when I was studying the 19th century existentialism, rings like “a temple gong next to my ear-true” to me now, but then, back in those days, I was miserably stuck between the lower aesthetic and ethical– a lost soul teetering on the edge of my own nothingness wanting jump but unwilling to land. It would, in fact, take me another 15 years to realize that among all the greats who exerted their logical conclusions as to the nature of our existence, Kierkegaard was the one who got it right when he indicated that an act of surrender is needed.
Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
“Lord I need You” Matt Maher
“An objective uncertainty held fast in an appropriation-process of the most passionate inwardness is the truth, the highest truth attainable for an existing individual.”