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God, Life

Reality is in the Particular

Where do you discover what’s real?

Is it in general principles, general abstractions, general experience?  Is reality found in the universal?  OR, do you discover reality in particular natures, particular stories, particular characters?  Is reality found in the here and now?

Our philosophies teach us to be generalists.  We assume that reality, by nature, must be universal.  What, though, is real about the abstract and the general?  Can you touch, taste, hear, smell or see it?  Can you engage, can you move within a reality that’s based purely on the abstract?  For example, which is more Real: that people (somewhere, everywhere, out there in the world) exist, or that YOU actually came into the world on, say, November 19, 1986?

What if Reality is actually hidden in the particular?  Those particular smells, sights, facts, walks, and people that you will run into today. CS Lewis, as a writer, a philosopher, and a theologian, pushes us to pay attention to these particulars.  Reality, he says, has a particular nature.  God has a particular character.  We are particular beings living particular stories.  And when we grasp for the abstract or the general, what we find is usually not more, but less real.

Tune in to the particulars of your day today.  Open your eyes and your ears and discover the Reality in your midst.  I think you may discover that even God is more Real, and more particular, than you thought.

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About Samantha Curley

Hi! My name is Samantha Curley. I live in Pasadena, California where I run a non-profit organization called Level Ground (onlevelground.org). I like to ponder, ask questions, and share stories about life, art, and faith.

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