The Effing Ineffable

We need a sort of language
To describe the indescribable—
To build a firm foundation
To discuss what no one’s seen

A light to shine on empty space
To highlight shared experience
So others of my tribe will know
Exactly what I mean

We’ll say it’s all quite cryptic
But that faith will make it knowable
That hearts perceive reality
Our eyes can never see

Since none can quite describe it
Why, it matches to a T…
This effing the ineffable
Sounds effing strange to me

So I was listening to Fresh Air on NPR (This story in particular), and the guest author said something along the lines of (the full transcript is not yet up, as of this writing) “the language of religion, by definition, attempts to describe the indescribable, to give a common language to speak about the ineffable”.

Which is quite an interesting feat. If we all agree that something we experienced was “indescribable”, that does not mean we agree. I mean, two of us could call the same dish “indescribable” and yet disagree whether it was good or bad!

Mind you, having faith that your words mean the same as someone else’s is relatively small potatoes when compared with having faith that [insert religious belief here].


  1. says

    Great minds or…?

    “…my main exposure has been to the Name, the ineffable, affable name of the Aardvark….”

    with a popup note:

    “… ineffable, affable name Of course I know that the effing name in not ineffable—I just like the phrase!
    So there!!”

    Anthropomorphic Zoomorphism

  2. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    “Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.” – Douglas Adams

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