Philo, in a short, dense passagei, describes the search of the ‘wise man’ who wants to know the secret of the universe, the origin of all things, the ultimate end – the Sovereign Mystery.
Let us reveal at once that this secret can never be reached.
Understanding this is the first step on the road of the ‘wise man’. It is necessary to know that the Mystery is too transcendent, too elusive, too unimaginable to ever be within reach. And yet it is worth continuing the search.
After a while, looking back over the road traveled so far, the walking ‘wise man’ surely knows that he knows almost nothing. At least he knows that, – which is not nothing, really, but indeed is really not much, and even one can say that it is almost absolutely nothing.
But the ‘wise man’ also knows that he has to get back on the road, and continue the search, without delay.
Looking at what still seems like a long way ahead to go before the next stop, he believes he can decipher the scattered signs in the distance. Some tracks. A few fragments.
Tending his ear, he may perceive confused clamors, rare echoes, silent sighs, indistinct words, tenuous, almost inaudible voices.
Raising his eyes, he may distinguish with some difficulty, very high in the nebula, kind of scintillating memories, and a background of faint glimmers, originally immensely distant, far beyond the forgotten ways, and lost nights.
The ‘wise man’ sets off again. He has no more time to lose. This last halt has lasted too long.
He walks with slow steps, eyes open, memory alive. From time to time he comes across thin, quickly outdated clues.
Peaceful, solitary, he reflects on the geometry of his unlimited, illogical walk. The more he advances, it seems, the less he arrives.
But he continues walking, however. In a sense, maybe doing so he does not go backwards, at last.
Towards the front, very far, in the distance, the horizon fades away.
The walker clearly sees only his slow steps, and what is just around him. He also sees that what seems quite close to him constantly slips away from him as he approaches, slowly moving away, into a blind spot.
Only the immeasurably distant, the absolutely separated, the utterly unapproachable, does not leave him, in his slow approach.
The ‘wise man’ in his walk rarely has his joy, his thirst: minute traces, celestial analects, pollens in the wind, inchoate echoes, iridescent sounds, allusive gleams, unearthed nitescences, …
But none of this is enough for him.
Walking again, continuing the search, that alone, in a sense, is enough for him.
iPhilo. De Post. 18