As a much younger man, while contemplating the meaning of my existence, I concluded that I was an island of Intelligence in an ocean of ignorance. I reckoned that the extent of my knowledge on anything in particular eventually reached so far before fading into ignorance like a beach into an ocean. In some fields of thought, because of my makeup I suppose, I possessed an aptitude for understanding that would push such a shoreline further away, while in other's the sea seemed to lap at my very feet.
I surveyed my fellow "islands" to discover the same irregular shapes and varying sizes, some much larger from my perspective, some smaller, but all with two things in common. They were surrounded by the same ocean of ignorance; the depth and vastness of which was impossible for them to plumb, and into which they would all someday plunge.
So I began the arduous task of increasing the size of my little plot until there were peninsulas and fingers jutting out here and there resulting in lagoons and inlets and such. I did so with the thinking that perhaps I could live my life far from the shorelines and their reminders of my ignorance as well as my destiny. But, alas, I determined that with a hundred lifetimes this would not be possible. So I began to bury those contemplations in all sorts of diversions in my attempts to ignore the crashing waves.
There were those whom I despised because they pointed to the sea, continually reminding me of my fate. My constant refrain to their reminders was "you can't know!" Standing on my tiny speck of intelligence, I considered them arrogant because of their insinuations that they did know; and stupid because of the unknowable upon which their knowledge was based. I did this in a manner as if the unknown would not one day engulf me, and thus cause my brain to cease informing. I pronounced them closed minded for holding to the "wisdom" of a distant and more ignorant era, all the while closing my mind to the possibilities that lay beyond my own shores.
Eventually I came to realize the meaninglessness of all my knowledge, and in fact of my entire existence. If I helped my neighbor or killed him, it was, on the confines of my island, meaningless. It was about this time that I began to read a book written by an ancient king, known for his wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, named Solomon. The book was entitled Ecclesiastes. I wept; relieved that there was a God who knows.
Right vs Real - A longtime friend of mine has always drawn a distinction between "right" and "real". Ask a Christian a plainly-known question like "Are we saved by faith o...