On Prophecy in Bats. Everything

On Prophecy in Bats.

Everything existing in our mind is immaterial. But everything in our mind comes through sensation, and all our sensations are of material things. So with everything we know, something must be stripped away, or taken off. The sort of things we know are not the sort of things most fit for knowledge, because we have to take away some things from them in order to know them. This is one way to understand the classical dictum “the things most knowable to us are least knowable in themselves”.

The classical example of this is that our minds are to the most knowable things as the eye of the bat is to the sun. Philosophy seeks to understand these things least knowable to us- and if you want to understand what philosophy is like, try constructing the account that a bat would give of daytime.

How would the bat describe color? For his whole life, the bat has viewed the forest as a more or less homogeneous color- bark is the same as leaves and as dirt. The moon, stars, and snow are a contrasting color. What would the bat say if he suddenly had a vision of day? How would he describe the distinction in color between the tree trunk and it’s leaves? “Behold, I saw the tree apart from its branches, yet it did not change it’s shape!”

How would he describe the sun? “Lo! In the sky the moon burned as ten thousand moons! and the stars were wiped from the sky!”

How would he describe the sky, which for the bat mind is the same color as the land? “I saw heaven and earth parted from each other as with a knife, they were rent apart, and yet rested without motion or seam!”

“as snow on the field blinds us in the full moon, so the world blinded me. A blinding as of snow was in front of me, and above- and yet I felt only the warmth of the summer winds. And in that blinding world, I saw clearly. What was once far off was now almost at hand.”

The Bat philosophers and theologians would have quite a time working this all out. And they would struggle for ages over what is, to a higher mind, self evident.

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