Sunday, October 28, 2007

Circle of observers (rough draft)

Picture a group of people, a dozen or more, standing in a circle, looking outward. They stand shoulder to shoulder, backs to the center, facing away from each other.

Many of them have telescopes, some have binoculars. They all have clipboards and notebooks and lots of pens and pencils in the pockets of their white coats.

They look outward at the universe and declare proudly, "From here we can see everything!"

To the folks outside the circle, however, that comment seems kind of odd. From outside the circle it's easy to see something that's hidden from the proud observers.

From outside the circle, we can see inside the circle. We can observe the observers. We can see their blind spot.

To be wise is to see ... more. To be wise is to see ... that something is missing. To be wise is to see ... that there's probably more to see.

Within the circle of observers, to be wise is to turn around.


1 comment:

GreenSmile said...

beautiful. Its your own. It has a kind of symmetry with an older and less original metaphor about the pointlessness of finding differences between different faiths [which exercise, I claim, is just the opposite of finding faith]: The metaphor is of religious seekers being like climbers of a mountain so high that its foothills fall in widely separated party says you need shorts and mosquito netting, others say wool shirts and heavy boots...those who argue over the gear based on where they start, never make it to the top...those who just keep their eyes open and move upward wind up seeing the same truths.
I can't find the many references to this metaphor I assumed exist. I heard it from my rabbi years ago. But here is an islamic paraphrase in the middle of an essay: