If we knew the truth, we’d see it; everything else is systems and approximations



Metaphysics has always struck me as a prolonged form of latent insanity. If we knew the truth, we’d see it; everything else is systems and approximations. The inscrutability of the universe is quite enough for us to think about; to want to actually understand it is to be less than human, since to be human is to realize it can’t be understood.

I’m handed faith like a sealed package on a strange-looking platter and am expected to accept it without opening it. I’m handed science, like a knife on a plate, to cut the folios of a book whose pages are blank. I’m handed doubt, like dust inside a box – but why give me a box if all it contains is dust?

I write because I don’t know, and I use whatever abstract and lofty term for Truth a given emotion requires. If the emotion is clear and decisive, then I naturally speak of the gods, thereby framing it in a consciousness of the world’s multiplicity. If the emotion is profound, then I naturally speak of God, thereby placing it in a unified consciousness. If the emotion is a thought, I naturally speak of Fate, thereby shoving it up against the wall.

Sometimes the mere rhythm of a sentence will require God instead of the Gods; at other times the two syllables of ‘the Gods’ will be necessary, and I’ll verbally change universe; on still other occasions what will matter is an internal rhyme, a metrical displacement, or a burst of emotion, and polytheism or monotheism will prevail accordingly. The Gods are contingent on style. 




Fernando Pessoa, 
Bernardo Soares, ''The Book of Disquiet'' 
(Text 87)   
             

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