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The Seeker’s Pick 19 March 2008

Posted by mecca in ABUSHARIF, Culture, Science, Spirituality.

This quote is from one of America’s most distinctive literary voices, Annie Dillard. I’ve read it many times and not sure exactly what makes it so appealing, but I think it has something to do with the off-road slant she boldly considers when reflecting on nature. In the “Koran,” from which she quotes, we are invited, challenged to ponder God’s creation, as if pondering is the seeker’s pick, the instrument through which we mine gems and insights. Secrets never give themselves up easily. So we look, think, and pray that we are moved in ways that bare empiricism is inept in achieving.

In the Koran, Allah asks, “The heaven and the earth and all in between, thinkest thou I made them in jest?” It’s a good question. What do we think of the created universe, spanning an unthinkable void with an unthinkable profusion of forms? Or what do we think of nothingness, those sickening reaches of time in either direction? If the giant water bug was not made in jest, was it then made in earnest? Pascal uses a nice term to describe the notion of the creator’s, once having called forth the universe, turn his back to it: Deus Absconditus. Is this what we think happened? Was the sense of it there, and God absconded with it? . . . “God is subtle,” Einstein said, “but not malicious.” Again, Einstein said that “nature conceals her mystery by means of her essential grandeur, not by her cunning.” It could be that God has not absconded but spread, as our vision and understanding of the universe have spread, to a fabric of spirit and sense so grand and subtle, so powerful in a new way, that we can only feel blindly of its helm.

Annie Dillard in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, winner of the Pulitzer Prize 1974.



1. EDITOR - 20 March 2008

pondering is the seeker’s pick…

that’s very powerful, although it leads to the subsequent thought that the seeker is picked as much as the picker. not only is it a matter of muslim belief that we are guided by God, but our own experience confirms this point: insights come to us unbeckoned. we call it inspiration, but that’s just a word to cover up a phenomenon we don’t understand. we can choose to ponder, but we can’t create or even choose the insight. it’s like combing a beach—we can stroll and look, but we discoverthe gems rather than conjuring them up.

thank you for sharing. i really need to get a hold of this book–i also saw repeated quotes from it in when faith is not enough by kelly james clark.

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