Living in a World of Labels

"Because mystery is horrible to us, we have agreed for the most part to live in a world of labels."

--Evelyn Underhill, from Practical Mysticism

Underhill's point is that instead of encountering the mystery of existence directly we attach words to reality, we create and affix labels to things in the world and then pretend that those words are the thing itself. This fixation upon labels interferes with our ability experience the sacred mystery of the world.

This is one of the ways theology gets in the way of faith. By specializing in "labels," all the God talk associated with theology, theology interposes a perceptual filter between us and God. Instead of a mystical encounter with the living God all I have are words, words and more words.

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