"The Way of G-d"
Part 1: "The Fundamental Principles of Reality"
Ch. 1: "The Creator"
Ramchal says something in the middle of this paragraph that would serve us
best here, at the beginning. It's that the statements about G-d he's about
to present to us are far beyond our grasp, and that we barely have the
vocabulary for it.
Let's examine that. In the past, mankind had too often been struck by its own
perceived ability to grasp things, and to be able to enunciate what it
grasped. And it believed that what couldn't be enunciated just didn't exist.
So science did its best to plot and graph everything exactingly, literature
strove to say things "just so", art and music tried to "capture the moment"
At a certain point in modernity though it became clear that things weren't
what we perceived them to be. So science addressed issues like chaos (for
example), literature turned to evoking hazy senses of things, art and music
allowed for the abstract and discordant.
By this point we've apparently given up on the struggle altogether, and
settled for "virtual reality".
Now, the Kabbalists always knew that virtual reality is all one could ever
hope to understand in this world. For our senses only experience things that
deeply, and no further. We simply don't have the capacity to dig deeper to
"actual" reality. Much like our ancestors didn't have the capacity to grasp
the truer picture that the microscope allowed then to have before it was
As such we'd offer that there are essentially four levels of reality--
surface reality, microscopic (and submicroscopic) reality, virtual reality,
and the actual reality. Mankind settled far too long for a surface view of
things, we were then thrilled with a microscopic view, and have only now come
upon virtual reality in the face of the actual level of reality which we now
know is beyond us.
Though not often spoken of, this acquiescence to virtue reality is an
exciting and profound admission of human limitations. (The truth of the
matter is though that it's a mixed blessing, since many have already begun to
accept virtual reality as actual reality, but that's beyond our scope here).
Ramchal's point is that when it comes to spirituality, the best we could ever
hope for are virtual depictions. For the life of the spirit is far beyond
our grasp. And consequently G-dliness (which can only be described as
"meta-spirituality”) is hopelessly further yet beyond us.
Rambam (Maimonides) evoked a remarkable image relevant to our point. He
declared (in Perek Chellek) that we haven't any more capacity to fully grasp
the spiritual than fish have the ability to grasp the notion of fire! Drawing
upon that we'd venture to say that we haven't any more capacity to fully
grasp G-dliness than fish have the ability to grasp the notion of notions!
Ramchal goes on to say that the above is true because we can only imagine and
fathom things that fit within the confines of G-d's created world which we
can sense or imagine. That we really can't draw a parallel between what
happens in our experience and G-d's own reality. For the two are utterly,
That having been said, Ramchal offers that one of the few things that we
*can* say about G-d is that He’s absolutely “simple” ( i.e., pure and
straightforward). That's to say that while we and everything else around us
is a melange of many distinct and dependent capacities, G-d isn't. He's one
and whole, "pure and simple".
And while our various capacities often blend (we can, for example, evoke a
memory of aromas and thus combine the tactile with the cerebral) we
nonetheless force the two to combine artificially and ephemerally. While
everything about Him is simply *there* in G-d, and wholly so.
Ramchal’s final point here is that in fact, there simply has to be a Being
above the laws of nature, without lacks, imperfection, multiplicity, and
relativity. Otherwise nothing else could exist.
That's to say, without the existence of a Being above and beyond all that,
there couldn't ever be deficient, imperfect, multiple, and relative things--
much like there couldn't ever be lessons taught without a teacher "above and
beyond" the lessons him- or herself.
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