The Seen and and the Unseen

clarifies terms Seen and unSeen by Venn diagram, examples

The Seen and the Unseen — a dichotomy that seems intuitively obvious — may offer a useful perspective for contemplating Ultimate Reality or the Divine.  I propose some parameters for exploration.

The Seen should be the easier part to envision.  At the very least the Seen includes the Earth and all beings, including ourselves, who reside thereupon, of any size or place or means of concealment.

We learn very young that when Mommy disappears and only a hankie or her hands remain where she was, Mommy still exists; she usually comes right back into our sight and says, “Peekaboo!”  We laugh with relief and learn that, even when she is not where we can see her, she still exists and returns.

With increasing sophistication, we expand our horizons for the Seen to the microscopic level and to the telescopic level, all entities available to our sight in the company of the instruments that bring them within range, so we are comfortable with the new knowledge.  We expand our range once more through tools that perform the same service without our complete understanding of the process but trust the science and engineering involved to bring us verifiable and valid information.

Incorporating observations via our other senses, we add to the Seen entities which we may know only by sound or taste or smell or watching over time or verifiable records. We expand the Seen to include observed and verified processes, patterns, and rules  In any case, we are usually quite in agreement with each other as to what is or may be Seen.

WMAP Timeline of the Universe

Thanks to NASA, we can explore the current size limits of the Seen, from the smallest to the largest.  We can piece together the timeline of Earth, putting into perspective that which was once Seen and now slips into the Unseen, leaving only the scattered records of earlier observations.

Then we come to the Unseen.  The scale of the Universe includes much that may be new and wonderful to behold, but the Seen only includes that which can be measured — or could be measured with more advanced technology. We deal with the Unseen every day but without the technology to reduce it to quantifiable fact.

The mental construct which is our individual understanding — our worldview — is Unseen in itself, although it may be recorded in our brain and, with great patience, pictured and described. The worldview is held together by relationships — also Unseen, as are the names, meanings, categories, values, and other tools of understanding. The Unseen includes entities like Love, Truth, Beauty, Wisdom, Belief, Knowledge, Logic, Mystery, Reason, History, and Imagination.

The Divine is an concept among the Unseen, known by many names and none, and sometimes asserted as a meaning of some aspect of the Seen. Much consternation arises from the variations in attributions as people seek to establish the Truth of name, actions, relationships, and attributes of The Divine as part of their individual worldviews.  My objective here is to sort the questions and assertions into some consistent logic for discussion of Ultimate Reality:

Ultimate Reality: a personal being (a personal and loving God); an impersonal being (as origin and target of all personal beings); an eternal truth or principle that governs the universe

Valea, Ernest. “Comparative Religion – The Ultimate Reality in world religions.” Many paths to one goal?, 2011.

God, Goddess, Lord and Lady — there are many different ways Wiccans perceive and interact with The Divine.  This article from Patheos, The Many Faces of Wiccan Divinity, illuminates the breadth of this experience. We of the Sacred Grove are likewise scattered in our personal worldviews, but we come together to share, explore, and worship as we are led. .