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The Conundrum of Human Existence



How can the archetype of The Original
Of the Original Primary Form be known
How can it ever be discovered
When as phenomenon it remains hidden.

When it is discerned only in images
Only in the imagination of the beholder
Only in the replica of substitutions
Only in dreams, in man asleep, not awake.

In the awesome magnitude of nightmares
Residence of the numinous, the chthonic
Harboring secrets that possess the mind
The mind possessed by its own daemons.

By daemons of dimensions yet unknown
Removed from human time and space
A riddle to contemptuous human mind
Contemptuous mind reaching outwardly.

Mind reaching far beyond itself
To discover perchance, the residence
The ultimate residence of the divine
Whose residence is The Infinite.

A residence that is sought everywhere
And found nowhere in particular
Found somewhere far from mortal minds
A place men call the immortal realm.

(Ask Socrates, ask Dante, ask all poets
Ask seekers of sacred knowledge
Ask all who philosophize by ego
Ask those who dwell upon themselves.)

Man remains by ego encased in matter
Confined by his imprisonment of flesh
A carnal being with limitations
Bounded by chimerical time and space.

The boundaries of man’s imagination
Disable Wisdom to be discerned
God’s Almighty Omnipotence
Of power beyond man’s grasp.

Beyond the reach of human intellect
Man’s hubris since creation, denying him
The Wisdom of The Tree of Knowledge
The Tree of Archetypal Knowledge.

So man pursues his compensation
To lift him to some greater heights
To construct as image a ziggurat
And by this act, to confront his Maker.

Confront his Maker face-to-face
Ostentatious quest of Moses and of Job
That leads downwards, towards man’s fall
Mortal physical man of dust and clay.

Graven man, fallen from wholeness
Cast by physical archetypal image
Far from the archetype of wholeness
The Source of All Completion.

Removed from his Edenic comfort
Missing now the mark of wholeness
Mankind seeks God’s hidden face
To return himself to wholeness.

Man now blind, sees all things in part
Seeing only darkly through a mirror
He sees not with discernment
He sees without the aid of spirit.

Man so blind despite his outer vision
Enlightened by his imperfections
Faces a mirror of reflection
That hides from him God’s hidden image.

That which is a mirrored image
A mirrored image of the Primary Form
Portrayed before man’s physical eyes
Focused on flesh bereft of Spirit.

There’s none so blind by outer vision
As those who cannot see what lies within
Carnal man, whose lifeline is Spirit
That returns mankind to wholesomeness.

That is the conundrum of all earthly men
Ashen man of dust and clay
Existential man of physical space
Who cannot see beyond his face.

The conundrum of human existence.
Man inhabiting flesh and spirit
One impermanent, the other sublime
Man caught between competing worlds.

Seeking one over the other
The bone of man’s contentions
Man divided, seeking wholeness
The conundrum of human existence.

About this poem

This poem was motivated by the poet’s knowledge of the profundity of his ignorance, and of the human condition in general, perceived foolishly, and often arrogantly, as Socratic Wisdom. This poem is the poet’s soliloquy, and is therefore a meditation of that reflection. A philosophy prominent in Judaism, enunciated by Rabbi Dr. Abraham Joshua Heschel, and by other leading Jewish theologians, particularly those who embrace Jewish mysticism, is that God’s eternal search of man leads eternally to man’s eternal existential quest of who mankind himself is (the Theban “Know Thyself” quest), articulated in man’s eternal quest of God, and the conundrum of human existence that is immersed in ‘The Transcendental All. ’ The philosophy of Christian mysticism also embraces the phenomenon of divine transcendence. Prominent in this view is the theologian Rudolf Otto, as well as the Belgian Jesuit Joseph Marechal. Protestant theologians, such as Ernst Troeltsch, have embarked on this course. Similarly, religious scholars of other faiths have embraced the notion of a God, transcendent in form demonstrative of the latent aspect of the deity’s nature and power, wholly independent of the physical universe, beyond time and space, and beyond all known physical laws that govern the material universe. While in Christianity God is said to be fully present in the physical world via the physical presence of Jesus Christ, the Holy Son, and therefore accessible to Humanity, God’s presence is manifested only spiritually in other religious faiths; that is, in numinous manifestation. In the Abrahamic Faith, man is part of the whole, the whole being God’s divine oneness. Ultimately, at issue for humanity at large, is the conundrum of human existence; of mankind being existentially a part and therefore only a reflection of the whole of perceived reality. Mankind is therefore challenged with the seemingly impossible task of seeking to discern the whole; the riddle of the alchemical snake biting its own tail in the effort to discover itself. 

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Written on September 30, 2021

Submitted by karlcfolkes on October 01, 2021

Modified by karlcfolkes

2:46 min read
324 Views

Karl Constantine FOLKES

Retired educator of Jamaican ancestry with a lifelong interest in composing poetry dealing particularly with the metaphysics of self-reflection; completed a dissertation in Children’s Literature in 1995 at New York University entitled: An Analysis of Wilhelm Grimm’s “Dear Mili” Employing Von Franzian Methodological Processes. The subject of the dissertation concerned the process of Individuation. more…

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