The leap of faith as a disposition toward being, vs scientific or ideological reductionism. A meditation on “small answers,” wholeness, and the credo.

I Small Answers

Small answers are tied to questions that the large answers cannot see.

We begin with Elizabeth Jennings’ poem, “Answers.”

Dana Gioia’s article from First Things (May 2018) about Elizabeth Jennings, which I mention early in the episode.

Discussion excerpts:

We’ve often talked [previously, for instance,] about the importance of loving the questions. [We have furthermore stressed] staying away from flattened thinking in the form of the “large answers” offered by ideological and other systems of thought.

But what of the small answers? […] Elizabeth Jennings is drawing our attention to something important here.

For there is a certain obviousness to me […] of the importance of loving the questions while avoiding the traps offered by those large answers.


Many of us seem to know, implicitly, that the ideological, technocratic, or corporate solutions […] will not work when it comes to addressing problems that are spiritual in nature. [Indeed,] [t]he large answers offered by a world full of certainty and empty of faith will never amount to anything more than an adolescent way of relating to being.

II Wholeness relates to a Disposition, not an End Product

Discussion excerpts:

Our minds have been trained to grasp even for the ungraspable, and therefore, to search for the large answers that seek to quiet the questions. [Therefore], we tend to forget the ground of Being itself, ungraspable as it is.

And this is [also] one major reason why large answers of the kind that I have discussed, especially of the modern world, such as science in the form of scientism, for example, or ideology, are so incompatible with the search for wholeness.


[Indeed,] the wholeness that I describe is not an end-product, but in fact, a starting-point.

Wholeness, to my way of thinking, is [therefore] not a large answer or conclusion, not holism, not progress, not a gnostic pursuit devoid of the transcendent.

[Additionally,] [w]holeness, as I often like to say in agreement with Philip Sherrard, presupposes the sacred.


[Therefore,] [w]holeness is a starting-point, yet not as an initial stage from which to advance from Wholeness 1.0 to Wholeness 2.0. [Wholeness functions as] a small answer that helps us to dwell in something other than Newton’s single-vision.

III Credo

In the final part, I examine a passage from Introduction to Christianity by Benedict XVI / Joseph Ratzinger.

Above all, Benedict’s exploration the meaning of “credo” is a profound meditation upon one’s disposition vis-à-vis reality. We then explore this passage and its emphasis on the “leap of faith.”

In conclusion, we see how the “credo” relates as well to wholeness and to “small answers.”

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