Every once in a while I will post some thoughts here that may be of interest to you. Most of what I write will probably have something to do with education, literature, the past, history of ideas or cultural analysis. I will try not to waste your time, or mine. Some of what I say may be controversial, and most of it will be debatable. You are invited to read, respond, ignore, challenge and occasionally nod in agreement.

The image above is, I think, from a 16th century woodcut. It represents some of the things that interest me. First, it is a fairly old work of art representing an even older view of reality. I like old stuff. Second, the man in the engraving is penetrating through this world into the transcendent realm. He has found the intersection of earth and heaven. Most of what I write here will in some way emerge from my assumption that there is a transcendent reality which has a lot to do with how we live our earthly lives.

I also like the picture because the man is curious. His desire to learn brought him out of the busy village in the background and led him to explore and ponder deeper things. Notice that most of his body is still on  earth while it is his head — his eyes and his mind –and one hand which are on the other side. This captures well my belief that the stuff of everyday living, whether trivial or noteworthy (and time often reveals that what seems trivial is the most noteworthy), has philosophical and ethical implications that usually go unrealized.

That is what I want to do here. I will seek a greater understanding of truth, beauty and goodness by pondering the mysteries that lie at the intersection of our lives and the transcendent. I hope you will join me.


August 7, 2013



  1. Interesting the man seems to be struggling to enter the transcendent realm. This is similar to how the earthly draw of material wealth, appearances, and the busyness of the world keep us from searching for the “deeper things”. This man is seeking a deeper understanding, not just floating easily into the intersection of heaven and earth.
    This coming from the woman off vacation into earthly reality!! Looking forward to your blog!

  2. Interesting that it’s mid-19th century. It looks much older than that. Isn’t this on the cover of Daniel Boorstin’s “The Discoverers”? I loved that book–it encouraged me to become a history major.

    • Boorstin’s book says the image is from a 16th c. woodcut, so that is probably where Flammarion got it. If I can nail down exactly where it originated I will edit my post to reflect that. Thanks!

  3. Erick,

    Excellent depiction of the struggle so many of us face to get beyond the hustle and bustle of life, to a state of mind where we can ponder the most imporant questions. Look forward to further discussion, and I thank God we live in a place where (so far) we have the freedom to share our thoughts on such matters.


    • Yes, it is so hard to slow down, to stop and think, to reflect. I hope this becomes a place where we all experience some “hey, I never thought of it that way before” moments.

  4. One of the things I really like about the image is that, while the inside of the dome (?) looks like a perfect representation of what is happy, and normal, and good, the outside is this abstract mesh of textures that you can’t comfortably wrap your brain around. I think it speaks to the seeming futility of trying to put a definition on what’s unknown. “It’s there. I can feel it, smell it, touch it. It is real. And yet I can’t describe what is indescribable.” It’s kind of the epitome of what it is to be a scholar and a believer. Love it. Looking forward to future posts.

    • Nicely put. I think that intuition and rational inquiry are both crucial for the pursuit of truth, beauty and goodness. One without the other, and uninformed by the other, leads us astray. There’s a wonderful circle of enlightenment as our intuition and rationality are informed and shaped by the truths and beauties we discover, which in turn opens up new perspectives on what is deep and permanent — things “further in and higher up.” Glad to have you in the discussion.

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