Man hungers after truth in such a way that it is greater than a desire for mere abstract intellectual knowledge yet at the same time we seem to reduce it to such a thing. Our drive for inquisitive curiosity into the questions of purpose and meaning seems tantamount to something more satisfying than the abstract. I propose that our desire for answers is not satisfied by intellectual propositions, but only by tangible relational experience with the embodied Answer.
We have all encountered factual answers to our questions whether we see those presentations of facts as valid or not. We experience it only with our minds. What if it were possible, as C.S. Lewis aptly illustrates, metaphorically, to “taste it like honey and be embraced by it as by a bridegroom?”
In C.S. Lewis’ book The Great Divorce he tells a fanciful supposal story of a journey towards heaven. In one of the scenes a person of intellect is talking to a person who has already experienced heaven. The person of intellect is explaining his journey of inquiry and his desire to always have inquiry for he believed the journey better than the satisfaction. He asks the heavenly person if he would still be free for the pursuit of inquiry to which the person responds, “Free, as a man is free to drink while he is drinking. He is still not free to be dry.” Then he elaborates, “Thirst was made for water; inquiry for truth.” The man who was from heaven was trying to show the man still earthly minded that his hope for answers could find ultimate fulfillment in a greater fashion than only factuality, but the Great Answer Himself. Despite the offer the man of intellect went away satisfied to be pursing without ever finding that which invoked his pursuit.
Are we truly satisfied with factual knowledge? Or is there something deeper, grander, more spectacular that is at the heart of our desire to know? Do we want to know just to know more facts in our minds? Or do we want to touch the Answer? Do we want to taste the satisfaction of something eternal or are we doomed to contentment of abstract systems of intellectual propositions true or otherwise. I think the pursuit for intellectual knowledge is noble and has great merit, but if it stops there I think it is lacking something vitally fundamental. In the depths of our being we yearn for knowledge, understanding, truth, answers, purpose, meaning, unity in diversity, community etc. These left divorced from their eternal nature are unsatisfied and hopeless. There is nothing of substance in these desires unless they are properly married to the eternal One.
People think that they will find satisfaction in wealth and then upon attaining it they find there is no satisfaction to be found there. Some think vows of poverty will bring satisfaction to the soul and yet they don’t find it there either. Some think being academically knowledgeable is the key to fulfillment and yet it leaves them discontent. Others think if only they could be the best at their career, or have the best family, or the be the champion in their field of sports, and yet when the day is over they experience the same yearning for something beyond that they just can’t put their finger on. I propose to you that we are all searching whether we do it with a pursuit of knowledge or a pursuit of wealth we are looking for the eternal satisfaction. If we follow that desire and seek the truth, I do not refer to intellectual facts, but the Truth that satisfies the soul we will find the Truth.
In saying this, I am not diminishing the importance of thinking, of reason, of logic, of intellectual knowledge. Obviously if there is a Truth like that of which I speak it would need to be one in which satisfies on that level as well as on the spiritual eternal level. It wouldn’t make much sense as truth if it violated epistemology so damagingly. Logic, reason, thinking, desire, all of these things are tools to attaining the Truth, thus Truth will not violate them. It may violate the way we currently think these tools work depending on how far off our thinking is to reality, but it won’t violate logic and reason itself. It won’t violate nature; it will affirm the natural world. It will complete the picture, not destroy the picture. We live in the real world so certainly the Truth about the real world will make what we may see in black and white come into full HD color. Follow your desire for Truth and you will find something more magnificent than you thought possible.