Will-o’-the-wisp, trick of the eye,
why this, why that, why me?
Philosophers ponder, priests conjure,
what is it, this ‘is it’, ‘to be’?
Me, I have this nagging sense
that if you can pose an answer,
you’ve missed the question altogether.
I am reading Why Does the World Exist? by Jim Holt. It is a fascinating book and I am enjoying it immensely. In a practical sense, the question seems as relevant as the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin, but let’s be honest: no one ever said that metaphysics had to make practical sense. (Just don’t say that to anyone who has got themselves caught up in the topic. It can get ugly and very, very boring.)
What fascinates me is the range of responses from a wide variety of disciplines and the degree of passion aroused in the answers. And throughout it all, as much as I am enjoying the journey for an answer—because let’s face it, there are no definitive answers, just definitive opinions—I do have this nagging feeling that whenever it comes to something that is really important, that there is hiding, off to the side, at 90 degrees from where we are looking, the real question and answer that we should be pondering. There are times when, while I cannot see it and I cannot say it, still I know it’s there, in the corner of my eye, and I almost have it, but not quite, not quite…
The quotation, There but for the grace of God, go I, is attributed to John Bradford, an English protestant jailed by the Catholic Mary Tudor, and was said as he watched a group of prisoners being marched off for execution. His own turn was coming, however; he was burned at the stake on July 1st, 1555.
Thank you for reading There but for the grace of God… I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain, and as always, I look forward to your comments.
The photograph was taken in Pennsylvania and is the reflection of a tree in water. For more photography, please visit the Book of Bokeh.
Photograph, poem and notes © 2014 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2014 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The photograph is not licensed for use or reproduction in any way, unless so granted in writing by the copyright owner.