• Michael Haldas

Quotes of the Day for September 30, 2020 – Thoughts on information versus knowledge

“Doctrines are not mere collections of information about God. We cannot acquire knowledge of God unless we are purified by our struggles and aided by the Holy Spirit…Our information culture, however, exalts discursive, logical reason as the most noteworthy accomplishment of the mind…The thinking mind is indeed a marvel, but simple life experience…suggests that thinking is not the only aspect of awareness. There are deeper dimensions that must be awakened and engaged; in fact the contemplative tradition has claimed this for centuries. It is crucial to see this in order to understand its fundamental orientation to prayer.” (Dynamis 7/2/2018, Martin Laird)


“ ‘The notorious result of unlimited freedom of thought and discussion is to produce general scepticism on many subjects in the vast majority of minds.’ Those who expose themselves to the confusion and tumult of the world without being firmly grounded in the Truth find themselves fulfilling an observation made many centuries ago in the Tao Te Ching: “The longer you travel, the less you know.” The modern world has strangely convinced us that such ignorance is a sign of knowledge, and that a truly enlightened person must necessarily inundate himself with the greatest possible volume of cacophonous nonsense in order to “make up one’s mind for oneself.” That to do so generally engenders confusion, skepticism, disbelief, and ultimately apathy should really not come as any surprise.” (Sir James Stephen, Hieromonk Gabriel)


“Human information and Christ’s wisdom are polar opposites in every situation, whether it involves speaking, business dealings, self-valuation, estimation of others, coping with troubles, one’s stance before God, or one’s contribution to the security of family, community, and nation. “We expect the righteous, whom Christ informs, to grasp the essence of wisdom and grace when they speak (Prv 10:31-32), and to be humble before others (Prv 11:2). In the world today, we are more likely to encounter those who pervert language, abuse speech, and sneer at their fellow men. Such individuals are numerous and often influential, and thus a high value has come to be placed on one-upmanship and the quick, off-color comebacks so prevalent in popular culture.” (Dynamis 1/3/2019)


“We live in a world with more and more information and less and less sense…In a world driven by information, it is more than a little easy to mistake knowing something as important and good in and of itself. As such, the acquisition of spiritual information is something of a going industry…It is scandalous in our time, particularly where information is seen as an essential element of democracy (and we imagine the spiritual life to be as rightly democratic as the political life), to be told that there is knowledge that is bad for you or knowledge for which you are not yet suited. It is the case.” (Jean Baudrillard, Father Stephen Freeman)


“Evagrius of Pontus, a fourth-century monk, is one of a host of contemplative writers to make an important distinction between the calculating, reasoning mind that makes use of concepts in a process we call ratiocination or discursive thought, and that dimension of mind that comes to knowledge directly, without the mediation of concepts. This later he called nous, an intuitive spiritual intelligence. And so when he defines prayer as “communion of the mind with God,” he means a dimension of our consciousness that runs deeper than the discursive process of ratiocination [reasoning].” (Martin Laird)


#Dynamis #MartinLaird #SirJamesStephen #HieromonkGabriel #JeanBaudrillard #FatherStephenFreeman