The idea of “faith” is very important. But we must be very, very careful with faith, for blind faith is not only dangerous, but, I think, ultimately counter-productive. Faith does not have to be blind.
It is important here to define our terms, to know what we mean by “faith.”
Most people mean “an irrational belief” when they say faith. I define faith as letting go—letting go of belief. These are polar opposites. The former is about clinging, and the latter is about letting go. As such, the faith I criticize here is belief-based faith, not faith-as-letting-go. And, as such, part of what I am saying is to be really careful what you believe, and what, or who, you believe in, because the way you see what you believe in is pretty much guaranteed to be wrong, to be off, to be an illusion.
What do I believe in? In what do I have faith? Love, truth, organic “connection,” process—all of which are actually antithetical to belief. These are not things that I have been told or been asked to believe, but they are rather things that have been revealed as real and true when I break down illusions, when I question assumptions and certainties and conditioning.
The point here is that we must move beyond, or transcend, (Greek) logic, and this is where people find and point to faith as the only other option. But I have a problem with this, and I’m not completely sure how to articulate it. But I think that it can be best summed up by pointing out that faith does not have to be blind. And, in fact, as mentioned above—and contrary to most people who believe that the right kind of faith is blind faith—I think that true faith is expressly not blind.
I think that one of the things that bugs me is that when one goes in this “blind” direction of faith, they are, whether or not they realize it, equating knowledge—all knowledge—with logic, by saying that we can only know that which is logical. I do not agree with this. They say: that which you cannot know you must accept on faith. But I don’t agree with this logic, for it is full of holes. Just because you cannot see something, or touch it, or hear it, or prove it logically, does not mean you can’t know it, or, and I prefer this word, understand it. And I say this in the way I say that the only thing I know is that I don’t know. This is not a contradiction, it is a different way of understanding.
It is the same kind of understanding that is required to understand that reality is the absence of illusion; that reality is not a positively definable thing, but is rather defined “negatively,” a word I don’t like because when understood properly, it is not negative at all (and I don’t just mean it is not “bad”). It is the same way I can say that what I believe in is not believing in things. This is not a contradiction. It is a contradiction of logic, but I do not give logic that much credit; I do not equate logic with reality, with what is; rather, logic is one way we humans process/understand reality, or at least our illusions of reality. Consequently, and contrary, I think, to the Platonic ideal, I don’t look to logic to give me direct access to reality.
So, the problem is not with what I am saying, not with what I understand it to mean; the problem, if there is a problem, is with logic. Let logic go, let the logical contradiction go, and you may see the truth in the statement. And so, I think that it is only safe to feel that you know things when you can understand knowledge and understanding in this way, for it is not dogmatic, it is not static, it is not foundational, it is not “eternal” and/or unchanging (all the things that so many philosophers assumed must be required for knowledge and metaphysical existence); rather, it is open, and changeable, and process. One must get used to switching the assumption from thinking that knowledge must be positive to realizing that truth and reality can only be gotten negatively, that the only way to get to what really is (reality, truth) is to deconstruct, and question, and reveal what “is” as, and for what, it really is.
The only way to get to what is is to find and see what is not. That is reality, and it is not positive. It is not logical. It does not fit into the way we have been conditioned to accept and understand and “know” things. But I do think that we can understand things in this more advanced way. It takes effort and commitment to openness, to being open and to questioning our assumptions at the most basic levels.
Only when you can see that your knowledge is not at all the way you thought knowledge existed, only when you can see that what you can really know is not in the way you thought you knew it was to know things, only then can you feel comfortable enough to talk about what you know, because then what you know is not dogmatic, unproductive and stunting and distracting.
Again, as always, it is not what you know, but how you know it that matters; it is not what you see but how you see it that matters. This is one of the most important things one must understand if they are ever to understand illusion vs. reality.
And so we can see that we must make this very subtle, yet necessary, shift in our understanding in order to productively discuss something like “faith.” Commonly-understood “blind faith” is based on belief, on the foundational beliefs in certain illusions. It is, to put it another way, going in (as in, jumping in, or, moving forward) blind-asleep. If I want to think about faith, my understanding of it is letting go of belief, of not having that belief-based illusory foundation to sleep on blindly. Rather, it is going in blind-awake, which initially seems like a contradiction, but is really not of you understand reality as the absence of illusion, and the only way to get to reality as the letting go of illusion. That is true “faith.”
From my personal notes, 5/27/00