Monday, January 09, 2012

More from Heschel

Wonder rather than doubt is the root of knowledge.

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When in doubt, we raise questions; when in wonder, we do not even know how to ask a question.

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There is no answer in the world to man's radical wonder.  Under the running sea of our theories and scientific explanations lies the aboriginal abyss of radical amazement.

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We must keep our own amazement, our own eagerness alive.  And if we ever fail in our quest for insight, it is not because it cannot be found, but because we do not know how to live, or how to beware of the mind's narcissistic tendency to fall in love with its own reflection ...

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What is subtle speculation worth without the pristine insight into the sacredness of life, an insight which we try to translate into philosophy's rational terms, into religion's ways of living, into art's forms and visions?

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Souls that are focused and do not falter at first sight, falling back on words and ready-made notions with which the memory is replete, can behold the mountains as if they were gestures of exaltation.

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from Man Is Not Alone:  A Philosophy of Religion, pp. 11-15, passim