For what is asserted in them, is not simply the notion that human thought is the determining
factor of all things, including our own existence, but also, that this thought is capable of providing us with a valid type of knowledge. And it is finally, behind this notion, that there is or can be a valid type of purely human knowledge, that lies the premise to which I have been referring. I will be more explicit. There are
two factors that we have to grasp if we are to escape from the process of ignorance in which we are involved. The first is, that how we perceive things depends crucially upon the state of our conciousness, and that the state of our
consciousness depends upon the state of our being. This does not mean that the reality of the things themselves varies according to the consciousness which perceives them, and still less does it mean that their existence is dependent upon their being perceived.

It simply means that how they appear to us, and the kind of
reality we attribute to them, and weather we see them as they are or, as it were, through a distorting lens, has very little to do with the things themselves, and very much to do with the quality of our own being, the purity of our soul and the level of our intelligence.

And this, in its turn, means that the way in which we see things may not correspond in the least to the reality of the things themselves. If our consciousness is dominated by a host of illusory ideas, then how we see
things will be correspondingly illusory. And the fact that the great majority of mankind at a particular period may perceive things in a certain way, does not in the least alter this. The mass of mankind may simply be enslaved to a particular set of delusions, and its perception will be conditioned accordingly. In other words, what we perceive by means of the senses and how we perceive it, as well as the manner in which we investigate it, are always already conditioned to conform to the state of our consciousness, to the hidden systems of action and reaction, belief and thought, which at any particular time, happen to dominate it.

It is the prevailing conceptual reality of our consciousness that determines what we think is real. Even what is called a fact, far from being self-evident, depends entirely upon the consensus of opinion among those who call it a fact. That is why for instance the appeal to what is called empirical evidence, the evidence of
sense data, is so absurd, for it assumes that our senses can perceive things in a kind of objective manner that is quite independent of the state of our inner being and hence of our consciousness. Hericlitus knew better, the senses are false witnesses for people with impure souls. Muddied, restless water can never reflect
truly. We must always remember that we can see things only as they appear to us after passing through the filter of our own optical equipment. And that the degree to which this filter will admit or exclude the reality of what we see, or think we see, depend entirely on the modality of our consciousness, and this, in its turn, will depend upon the state of our being. On how free we are from self deception and from self-delusion.

‘For Every Thing That Lives Is Holy’ by Philip Sherrard

Philip Owen Arnould Sherrard (23 September 1922 – 30 May 1995) was a British author, translator and philosopher. His work includes important translations of Modern Greek poets, and books on Modern Greek literature and culture, metaphysics, theology, art and aesthetics. A pioneer of Modern Greek studies in England, he was influential in making major Greek poets of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries known in the English-speaking world. He was also a prolific writer on theological and philosophical themes, addressing the origins of the social and spiritual crisis he believed was occurring in the developed world, and specifically exploring modern attitudes towards the environment from a Christian perspective.

 

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