I've had this kind of experience many times before. I've had it in the middle of cities and on buses crowded with commuters. I've had it in the woods, where I was the only person around for miles. I have had it watching sunrises and sunsets. And, more often than not, I've felt it under the dark night sky and the bright, questioning stars.
I hope you've had this kind of experience too — or, at least, your version of it. You can call it what you want. For me, the best word to describe the character of these strange moments is sacredness.
But what, if anything, does this experience point too? If you're religious, the answer is easy. It's simply the expression of the divinity you feel is all around. But I am not religious and many like me still feel this enigmatic emotion. When strident atheists like Richard Dawkins speak of the awe they feel before the universe, they too are acknowledging the reality of the experience.
So what, then, is this experience of sacredness? Perhaps, in the moments when that strange, pregnant feeling of presence rises up to meet us — that sense of more and of less — we are gaining an intuition of the thing-in-itself. While Kant spoke of his categories as intuitions, I believe I mean something else. I mean the ability to hear the whispers of what lies beyond the boundary of the expressible and the inexpressible.
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