Gertjan's Blog


posted Nov 12, 2014, 11:51 AM by Gertjan van Stam   [ updated Nov 12, 2014, 12:04 PM ]

Dualism sets one thing level 'against' another, like black and white. In engineering, one relies on such view to understand where the technology starts, and where it ends. Than dualism represents a discussion of the boundaries. Rules and regulations do the same; they measure consequences to boundary crossings.

We are getting nervous when confronted with the fact that boundaries often do not exist in such binary manner. It is all much more fluid, much more shades-of-grey.

When traveling through a landscape, one can experience this kind of change. Going from flat land, one gets oneself into a hilly countryside, than to be confronted with real mountain passes. “How did I get here," one may ask oneself. The landscape gradually changed.

However, sometimes, like I saw in Colorado, a mountain range seems just to rise from the flat land, a more-or-less abrupt change. Thus, abrupt boundaries do exist. However, they are an abnormality, not the common way of events.

When studying in the area of humanities, coming out of an engineering tradition, I am confronted with texts that often question if we can define anything; can one know anything for certain? In the engineering world, definite knowledge seems to be available: a bridge will hold this weight, an oscillator will produce energy at that frequency. In the humanities, it is not that clear-cut; It is all much more fluid, a sort of 'sensing one's way' through reality.

To me it all looks likes talking about shades-of-grey. Even pure-white and pure-black can be seen as shades-of-grey! Would it not be great if we could put numbers to these shades, says the scientist? However, numbers, what kind of shades-of-grey are those? Moreover, the ontology itself, how does that be in shades-of-grey? Oh, what do we know, can we know, will we know?

Despair can grab one's soul, when thinking deep about these things. All knowledge, all facts, anything we think to know vanishes in a shade-of-grey.

No, not everything!

I can stand, because I have got faith. Faith, defined as the certainty of the things we hope for and the proof of things unseen. Starting with God, in whom I have got faith that there God's Love towards me. God expresses both transcendently and innately; Trans-everything, without shades-of-grey. We reflect His image, and my identity is formed by being in His presence. I can accept all as I am standing firm, in faith.

Even if there is nothing else what is clear, I do not heart, as my mind wanders off, enjoying the ride.

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