The Saviour answered and said to them, “Why do I not love you like her? When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness.
This quote has been attributed to Jesus who was talking about Mary Magdalene and it comes from the Gospel of Phillip. When I was 19 or 20 I had a dream about a Gospel of Phillip and I didn’t know before then there was any such thing. There was only Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. I didn’t have the Internet back then so I didn’t really know how to investigate it much further. Anyway, years later I did and honestly, Phillip’s Gospel is a bit too esoteric for me, a lot doesn’t make sense – but I find that quote very very apt.
It’s hard to accept but what if I’m the one who’s blind in this analogy? Even worse what if I’m the one who is blind and imagines I can see? If that’s me then everything I believe I see is a lie because I haven’t actually seen it.
The one who can see, he might have been telling me what everything looks like, what colour the trees are, what the afternoon light piecing through the leaves looks like, what the sun looks like, the stars, the colour of rocks, the colour of the sky etc. I of course would marvel at all the explanations, I would create a picture in my mind of exactly what it all looks like, and because I can’t see, I would want to ask my friend to describe everything, so he could fill in all the gaps in my mental picture.
The problem is though, no matter how well my seeing friend can describe what is right in front of us, I could never create a mental picture that is accurate. I’ve never seen the colour blue for example but I might know that the sky is blue, I might even know that blue is a cool type of colour but as I’ve never seen blue, I would literally have no idea what it is.
So whatever I create as a picture in my mind, it can’t be real. My picture of what it is to see would then have to be flawed. What I believe is reality, can’t be – no matter how much I learn and no matter how many descriptions I have, I would still be seeing something that doesn’t really exist.
I feel truth is just like that. Truth is the world seen with eyes completely open. But truth is not a vision alone, it has to be everything that we can sense and everything we can feel to be complete truth. So truth, real and complete truth must also be the world felt with our hearts completely open too.
Even if a person tells me the truth, all my filters and all my beliefs and feelings that distort them will mean that the truth I hear is slanted and ultimately not the truth at all but something constructed, something entirely different. Considering we are all very different and all have different experiences and different personalities, our truth – the one that isn’t really truth, has to be just a version among a potentially uncountable number of versions and permutations.
It’s hard to see it that way. It’s hard especially when I have so much invested in the idea that I know what’s going on. The fact remains, I can’t know what’s going on and I don’t. I’m lucky even to see just a glimpse and only for a moment would I see it. That would be the same for most of us too.
If I was to approach the most objective being that exists, the one I don’t know how much I actually believe with all my heart exists, God, I would have to approach that being with the only truth that I can be certain of. The truth that I don’t really know what’s going on.
I could only approach God in that space of complete humility – as a man who is blind and has no idea of what’s going on with hope that that being will receive me, just as I am.