It seems to me a most appropriate time to reflect upon what I have termed the “Higher” (which term, elsewhere, I have signified is not related to or synonymous with an existing term or concept). As part of this reflection, one may indeed ask what the Higher is, and where It is.
Human beings manifest limited intellectual and emotional capabilities. Even at their most capable and sublime, human expressions and formulations do not describe or reveal what the Higher is. What chance have we, then, whose language, culture and spirit are so poor and wanting, to express something of the inexpressible? Our fingers and thumbs are not yet so formed as to be able to grip or hold the even most elementary aspects of the Higher.
Notwithstanding great difficulties, human beings can still approach “something” of the Higher, and determine something of what it is. Just as the frog can sense the difference between water and land, and thus know “something” about water (while it is yet quite incapable, one would surmise, of appreciating the finer qualities of water – its aesthetic qualities, or PH content etc.), so too can human beings, with their reason, intellect, emotional capacities, linguistic abilities etc. know “something” of the Higher. However, this knowing is very primitive and is incapable of appreciating what the Higher is: in truth, all human knowledge amounts to nothing more than the frog’s knowledge of water, and that it is wet.
The following is no different; it is but one way among many of approaching something of the Higher, and what – and where – it is:
“We must begin with who we are, and where we stand, before we approach the Higher. Yet, wherever we stand, whatever we are, the Higher is both there and not there.
“Who are we?
“‘We are the children.’ The baby cries for its milk, barely a week old. What is the Higher? It is the source of the milk, the bringer of satisfaction; an unknown something that provides. In time, however, the baby grows to know its parents: the mystery demystified, this is not the Higher, though once it was. Yet, new mysteries open up: the world, the universe – that is the Higher. We rest, then, in temporary security, until a new layer appears, and opens onto further mystery. Once again, all is obscured, and the search continues. The Higher begins far, far beyond where parentage ends.
“‘We are the scientists.’ The mysteries of matter, force and energy have been solved. The clouds have no personality; the sun does not smile and the thunder does not care for human indiscretion. The mysteries demystified, they are not the Higher, though once they were. The vast universe becomes visible to reason; it is entirely explicable as a combination of factors and principles. Yet, this is not the Higher, though once it was. The Higher is more vast than the universe visible to reason; it extends beyond that combination of factors and principles that are known. ‘There cannot be anything more than is understood by calculation!’ At that next interval, then, the Higher both begins and yet becomes undiscoverable again. The Higher begins far, far beyond where science ends.
“‘We are the men and women of religion. The mysteries of that which lies beyond human sense are our domain of expression. Through one way or another, we know or believe what the Higher is, and is not.’ The difficulties outlined and explored, the principles established and upheld, one says how it must be and how it must not, and why the others are wrong; though the others say the same. Great variety on the one thing: yet, the Higher is not that thing, though once it was. The Higher is far beyond the agreement and the disagreement, the named and the unnameable. Where it is discovered, by faith, at once it becomes undiscovered again. The Higher begins far, far beyond where religions end.
“‘We are the artists. We alone can express the inexpressible, and with word, image, music and movement, speak directly to the secret heart, and point to where the Higher is.’ Through the most sublime of human creations, through the vastness of human skill, the Higher is reached only indirectly. The ethereal beauty of an echoing choir, the pictorial vision of an other-worldly state, and the profoundest poetry that points to the mysteries behind the word: these things do not claim to be the Higher, but to lead to something of It, from which point one may justly proceed. Yet, the Higher is not in or through created things. Even beyond the imagination, the Higher is immeasurably distant. Perhaps the Higher was there once, beyond them, but now is not. The Higher begins far, far beyond where art ends.
“‘We are the scholars, the philosophers and the thinkers. We understand the difficulties of conception. Through our analyses, what can be rightly thought and wrongly is finally ascertained. With us, difficulties may end, obscurities cleared, mysteries demystified.’ Through ploughing the very ground of the intellectual enquiry, the limits appear to be found. Beyond the points mapped by philosophers, the heights do not extend. All possibilities are resolved by human capacity. ‘The Higher’ is a concept, an argument, an abstract position and object of faith; it may be studied and understood, but never found in itself. Yet, the Higher was that field, was that plough and the fruit that came from work; although, immediately it was no longer those things, nor the ground on which they took place. The Higher begins far, far beyond where philosophy ends.
“‘We are the people. We are the workers, the masses, the leaders and the followers. We are the criminals and the judges, the politicians and diplomats; we are the mechanics and the plumbers, and the farmers of rice. We don’t know about the Higher, but practical things and the things of life.’ The mysteries of life are mysterious; but the sight of the sun, the snow-capped summits of mountains, or other of nature’s beauties, are still beautiful, however they are explained. Whatever the Higher is, life is crime, punishment, birth and death; it is the breaking and fixing of things, payment and satisfaction. ‘Whatever the Higher is, there are still bills to pay, fields to work, time to pass in jail.’ Yet, the Higher is those things, the things of life, and still, is at once not these at all. The Higher begins far, far, beyond where ordinary life ends.
“‘We are the specialists, the seekers of Truth. We few alone are of high spirituality. We are also the scientist and the religious, the artist, the philosopher; we too are farmers, diplomats, criminals and judges. We know what the Higher is not, and what distance “far” is.’ The mysteries demystified, things in their proper place, others’ errors now understood: the Higher is ‘there’, in a more perfected conception. The long work done, the heart is now at rest. Yet, the Higher is not there, though once it was. The mystery is ever mysterious. The Higher begins far, far beyond where the seeking of Truth ends.
“So far away, and yet at one time so close. The very thing in one’s hand, the hand itself! – being all equations, laws and impersonal principles, and models of the universe; all articles of faith, and positions of belief, and religious conceptions and names; all imaginations, depictions and visions of reality; all philosophical conceptions and analyses; all mundane things, activities and processes of life; all things beyond, sought and found; all experiences: the Higher is all those things, has always been them. And yet: no, at once It is far beyond them. Vaster than the universe, smaller than can be conceived, farther than impossibility, nearer than the skin. And all this going towards the Higher is still but a childlike expressing, the fumbling of hands, and the steps of infancy.”