“Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other.”
Who am I,
dervish of a self,
toying with nature,
twirling to and fro
the past that lives
in this whirling
blood and bones?
When “this whirling dervish of a self” came to mind at 3:45 A.M., the image came without forethought as expressing an endless search, the self spinning in search for what John Calvin called the knowledge of the self and of God. It had nothing to do with the phrase’s origins in the Sufi “whirling dervishes” who whirled in ecstatic union with the Divine.
Who we are – where we come from, who we’ve been, who we’re becoming, and where we’re going – “consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.” [First sentence of the first paragraph of the much maligned John Calvin, the 16th century whirling dervish of the much misunderstood The Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1536].
The more I learn, the less I know. I remain a mystery to myself, a whirling dervish.
- Gordon C. Stewart [GCS], Chaska, MN, July 24, 2017.