Saturday, May 21, 2016

Fragments of Life

"Man is a fragment and a riddle to himself. The more he experiences and knows that fact, the more he is really man. Paul experienced the breakdown of a system of life and thought which he believed to be a whole, a perfect truth without riddle or gaps. He then found himself buried under the pieces of his knowledge and his morals. But Paul never tried again to build up a new, comfortable house out of the pieces. He dwelt with the pieces. He realized always that fragments remain fragments. even if one attempts to reorganize them. The unity to which they belong lies beyond them; it s grasped through hope, but not face to face.

"How could Paul endure life, as it lay in fragments? He endured it because the fragments bore a new meaning to him. The pictures in the mirror pointed to something new for him: they anticipated the perfect, the reality of love. Through the pieces of his knowledge and morality, love appeared to him. And the power of love transformed the tormenting riddles into symbols of truth, the tragic fragments into symbols of the whole.  "

- Paul Tillich, from "The Shaking of the Foundations", Chapter 13:  "Knowledge Through Love".


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