Tonight, I happened to read over the introduction to a book I own from 1895, Philosophy of Theism. It contains the Edinburgh Gifford lectures of Alexander Campbell Fraser. He was about 75 years old. Only a few pages in, he reflects on how much time he wished he had to reflect on the question posed to Simonides: “What is God?” (2). Fraser suggests that this knowledge is beyond man, yet man strives toward an answer. Locke saw the same thing. So did Kant in his own way. Kierkegaard realized this too. And yet here I am at the age of 29, having torn at the boundaries of the empirical and sunk deep into the sea of the rational, and I can firmly agree with him.
I feel such a concoction of subtle heartbreak and playful glee at this thought. I do not feel wise, only decently read. But the continuous search for the truth about God and reality renders one exhausted. There truly is a peace in surrendering to the truth of human limitation. It’s a simple idea, but the implications are incredibly strong. And so, I feel a fraternal bond to Frasier in this simple idea. Who could count the number of great minds who have also reached this conclusion? I am no where near the level of intelligence as many of these men, but I do not feel ignorant of their understanding.
Indeed, time has continually proven that the wise in this world are those who understand that they, in Socrate’s words, know nothing. And when knowledge must transcend subjectivity, the wise understand their own ignorance. The wise understand – here is God.
Fraser, A. Campbell. Philosophy of Theism. Edinburgh, William Blackwood and Sons, 1895.