From Nameless Forms to Formless Names

Where lies understanding?

Is this a picture of God?

Photo by Joel Filipe on Unsplash

An old joke describes the difference between a specialist and a generalist:

A specialist is a person who learns more and more about less and less until s/he knows almost everything about almost nothing.

A generalist is a person who learns less and less about more and more until s/he knows almost nothing about almost everything.

A more serious contrast for me is the one between knowledge based on nameless forms, like the ones created by abstract artists and musicians, and knowledge based on formless names, like the ones created by theologians and philosophers. Somehow we humans are able to accommodate both kinds of knowledge and a spectrum of knowledge that lies between those extremes. We seem naturally to seek connections between them, trying to agree on appropriate words for abstract forms and trying to agree on appropriate forms for abstract words.

Yet what name can capture the knowledge we gain from hearing a sonata or gazing at a starry sky at night?

And what form can express the concept of a soul or God?

Are they polar opposites or one and the same?

Studies language, cognition, and humans as social animals

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