By Eliyahu Safran
Is there a teleological suspension of the ethical?
The existentialist philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, asked this question when contemplating the Akeda. He could not grasp how a benevolent God could command Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. His question leads us to a confrontation with fundamental mystery and internal contradiction, with paradox.
In the face of such an essential contradiction, we might consider how little we can ever truly “know”. When we consider the positive arc of human history, we trace a constant movement toward knowledge. As human beings, we desire to know everything, to understand. Those of us living in the midst of our technological age no longer simply desire to know everything; we believe it is our due to know everything. We believe we can know everything.
But can we? Can we really know everything?
We live in an age when many believe that acquiring knowledge is as simple as “googling” it. Indeed, not long ago I heard someone remark sarcastically that, “…whatever you don’t know, just go to Reb Google.”
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