Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Myth, Faith and Trust

Myth, Faith and Trust
by Scott Bradley

"Myth is what you believe in without believing that you believe in it." — R. Panikkar (The Cosmotheandric Experience)

I always speak of 'myth' in negative terms, as that content (explanation) which we knowingly, or unknowingly, believe in as a means of avoiding the fact that we do not know anything. Panikkar, on the other hand, sees it as our unperceived presuppositions, and these are essentially a positive thing.

He goes on to say: "Myth, when it is believed and lived from inside, does not ask to be plumbed more deeply, i.e., to be transcended in search for some ulterior ground...for it expresses the very foundation of our conviction of truth."

Perhaps this small word 'truth' best reveals our parting of ways. Panikkar seems to believe in faith, whereas I believe in trust. Faith, as I understand it, has something it believes in, namely 'truth'. Trust, on the other hand, understands that it knows no truth and thus must simply surrender itself up to the process of life. Faith, for example, might believe in the efficacy of reason to render up truth, whereas trust would realize that reason can give no such assurances, yet as a function of the human we trust in its contingent results.

We all have unquestioned presuppositions. Yet to leave them as such is to miss the opportunity to discover new ways to entrust ourselves to life. And this I recommended simply because it renders up thankfulness and joy.
Abide in Mystery
Surrendered, open, empty,
Here fullness will arise.
— Chen Jen
Life, for the human, is entirely an exercise in trust. All that we do is founded solely on trust. We have no fixed and sure foundations. There is nothing we can believe in, we can only believe. Some see this as an occasion to despair. Others simply find something to believe in. I see it as an opportunity to entirely surrender in trust — a mystical experience.
There is no faith
Than at the end of
All belief.
— Chen Jen
You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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