One of the first things we know about knowledge is that it is nothing like the known. In all knowledge, even sensation, what is outside is inside. What is separate from consciousness is present to it. Knowledge is so totally different from the things known that knowledge is best understood by the negation of things known.

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3 Comments

  1. Gagdad Bob said,

    August 3, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    What a fascinating koan. Would this imply that love is so different from the loved that it is best understood as the negation of the thing loved? Or is it the affirmation of their essence?

    And I’m wondering if God’s knowledge would be identical to the thing known, and therefore its affirmation? If so, is his knowledge a kind of love?

  2. a thomist said,

    August 3, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    St. Thomas would say that while truth assimilates things to our mind, love assimilates us to the good we love. The details of this are clearer in the case of truth as opposed to the case of love.

    I have guesses about how the divine love and knowledge relate to things. If we followed the sort of division we used above, we might say that the truth of things corresponds to the way in which they are present in the divine mind, while the goodness of things corresponds to the way that the divine will is present in them. Truth points to transcendence, for it bespeaks of the lower being present to the higher; goodness points to God’s immanence, for it bespeaks the higher being present in the lower.

    In general, truth corresponds to mind and goodness corresponds to will, but intellect and will are compresent to each other and completely penetrate each other in a (symmetrical?) way. A few weeks ago we were kicking around the theory on this site that this compresence and total compenetration is most fully manifest in the beautiful or the sublime- and that the awareness of awe or reverence is the deepest expression of this unity of the good and the true which corresponds to the compenetration of mind and will. This is perhaps what the heart is.

  3. Gagdad Bob said,

    August 5, 2008 at 7:15 am

    That was exceptionally clear.


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