Friday, September 28, 2007

What Do We Know About Reality?

This is the quote that comes to mind when someone calls someone a “liberal“ or “conservative“ or writes an essay defining “postmodernism“ or how to talk to (read convert) people who have “postmodern“ minds.

“They try to define something that can never be caught in a word, but they'll think of a word all the same and then use it as if it had real meaning. Like the Dutch Reformed preachers holding forth about God. In the old days anyway. They have learned a little more modesty now, and there aren't so many of them left, thank heaven. What do we know about reality? Maybe we do at moments. Like early this morning, with my half-witted turtle pottering about in the grass and a thrush singing away. Maybe I understood something then but it was gone when I tried to put my hand on it. But a woman like Miss Kops thinks she catches it and coins a word and before you know it the word is in the dictionaries.“

Commissaris speaking in
Death of a Hawker
Janwillem van de Wetering
p. 155
Ballantine/Mystery paperback
July, 1987

1 comment:

Alexander Carpenter said...

Thanks for the quote. Interestingly today at the Adventist Forum meeting, as happens almost every year, discussion turned inward to the nature of AF and if we should have an agenda or declare an ideology. People said their piece about owning a term vs. being more open -- a spectrum of truths. Reading your quote reminds me that meaning, like reality, slips past our attempts and in the end we barely remember what we meant by a term just a few years ago.