Carl Sandburg on the known and the knowable and the unknown and unknowable

There is stuff we know.

There is stuff we don’t know but could know,

There is the unknown and unknowable.

In accepting, surrendering to the the infinity of the Unknown, Mystery, the Whole we should be united.

But that takes several virtues, notably humility.

We could be united by bowing to the one great fact of life – ultimately we don’t know.

This could unite all religions and atheists.

No less a person than Socrates seems to have got the point in saying "I know one thing: that I know nothing" – SOURCE

We have a wonderful piece by Carl Sandburg that makes the point

Circles by Carl Sandburg

The white man drew a small circle in the sand

and told the red man, "This is what the Indian

knows," and drawing a big circle around the

small one, "This is what the white man knows."

The Indian took the stick and swept an immense

ring around both circles: "This is where the

white man and the red man know nothing."

What did Baha’u’llah say about Socrates? H said this;

Socrates ….. was indeed wise, accomplished and righteous. He practised self-denial, repressed his appetites for selfish desires and turned away from material pleasures. He withdrew to the mountains where he dwelt in a cave. He dissuaded men from worshipping idols and taught them the way of God, the Lord of Mercy, until the ignorant rose up against him. They arrested him and put him to death in prison. Thus relateth to thee this swift-moving Pen. What a penetrating vision into philosophy this eminent man had! He is the most distinguished of all philosophers and was highly versed in wisdom. We testify that he is one of the heroes in this field and an outstanding champion dedicated unto it. He had a profound knowledge of such sciences as were current amongst men as well as of those which were veiled from their minds. Methinks he drank one draught when the Most Great Ocean overflowed with gleaming and life-giving waters. He it is who perceived a unique, a tempered, and a pervasive nature in things, bearing the closest likeness to the human spirit, and he discovered this nature to be distinct from the substance of things in their refined form. He hath a special pronouncement on this weighty theme. Wert thou to ask from the worldly wise of this generation about this exposition, thou wouldst witness their incapacity to grasp it. Verily, thy Lord speaketh the truth but most people comprehend not.

After Socrates came the divine Plato who was a pupil of the former and occupied the chair of philosophy as his successor………… SOURCE

A description of Socrates’ death is here –


TAGS: circles, Carl Sandburg, white man, red man, Mystery, not knowing, N American indian,