by Michael Maciel
I have a confession to make: I have never been to Hawaii. I know many, many things about it. I know that it’s the largest mountain on the planet, measured from the ocean floor to the top of Kilauea, and I know that Kauai is called the Garden Island. But I do not know what the air smells like, nor have I experienced the phenomenon known as Island fever, where it suddenly dawns on you that you’re on a very small piece of land in the middle of a very large ocean.
When I’m around other people who have been to Hawaii, it doesn’t matter how much I have memorized about it. I do not have that “something” that they have, the thing that makes them different from me. My knowledge of the place simply cannot compare, qualitatively speaking, to theirs.
Now, if I wanted to, I could become a world-class authority on Hawaii—its history, its people, its biology, geology, vulcanism, etc., and I could make it so that I knew more about it than 99.999 percent of the people who live there or have visited there. And if I wrote books about it, I’m sure that my acquired knowledge would be both interesting and helpful to those who have had the direct experience of being there. But the essence of the experience would be lacking in my writings.
This is how it is with many of the books written about the Mysteries, especially the Christian Mysteries. Very few of the authors have “been there.” And boy do they stand out. Some of them have actually had some significant contact with the realities that the Mysteries point to, but in their search for “objectivity,” they have all but forgotten their experiences and thus base their writings on what they know instead of what they “gnow,” if you catch my meaning.
In all my years of studying writing, I have learned one thing: It’s not the words but rather what comes through the words that makes a difference in a reader’s experience. It’s the “transmission.” If you’ve got that, it doesn’t really matter what you say, what words you use, or what subject you talk about. Have that, and your words will open doors and not merely lead your readers down yet another hall of mirrors. This to me seems infinitely better, and no amount of scholarly expertise or amateur speculation can match it.