Thursday, April 24, 2008

The One and the Many

For reasons too convoluted to go into, tonight I have been enmeshed in the concept of “the one and the many.”

It’s a philosophical concept and a theological one. In fact my experience with it tonight arose in the context of our Quaker meeting.

To get a broader picture of “the one and the many,” Google it.

I commend the concept to you when you speak (or write) to others. What you say is heard by others all of whom are, like you, part of a single whole consisting of the many.

In that sense, when you speak, the many are speaking as well. Strangely, you are speaking back to yourself through the many. Try to hear yourself that way. You will be more careful about what you say.

The one IS the many, and the many are the one.

Quakers speak of that of God, the one, in each and all of us. Together we and God in us all, as one, are the many.

I like to see myself as a community-nurturer. Communities are also “the one and the many.” So are “towns” and “cities,” or communities OF communities. The one and the many are one — and still many, and still one, like a cat chasing its tail.

I’ve written before that I have an aversion to the word “God” because it is one word, and a label at that. "God" is "un-Godlike."

God is all words and all things — everything — the many.

To isolate God with a one-word label, makes God “the other” and keeps us from being at one with God — and with ourselves.

I believe the word “God” (in its many forms) is a huge problem for religions.

It is also the reason I worship in silence.

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