I just finished reading PKD’s The Man in the High Castle. I can think of no higher praise for the book than to say that during these past few years of flag-waving, ham-fisted patrioteering, nothing has evoked my love for the U.S more than Dick’s story of a world without it. Showing daily life in an occupied America is far more compelling and heart-wrenching than a thousand statues of Patton, Churchill or Roosevelt. Those that insist on equating Saddham Hussein’s Ba’ath party to the Nazis greatly diminish the full scope Hilter’s terror and ambition.

With that bit of ham-fisted flag waving accomplished, I direct your attention to a phrase used in the novel that refers to St. Paul’s Corinthians I (the Criminal Projective):

46:013:009 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

46:013:010 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

46:013:011 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

46:013:012 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

—Pulled from Project Gutenburg.

In context, this phrase appears to be describing the mortal condition of imperfect knowledge. St. Paul appears to be saying: given that we’re limited, finite beings, our perception is similiarly limited. However that shouldn’t stop us for using what we can see, as incomplete as our knowledge may be.

Of course, that’s just how this twentith century mind reads it.

The Phrase Finder appears to disagree with me:

“When I was a child…now that I am a man I have put away childish things and look back at the past as though through a glass darkly…” An obvious allusion to adults being metaphorically blinded to the truth or the inocence [sic] of things.

Confused and befuddled, I turn to the erudite readers of my humble blog for their Solomon-like wisdom. What does “through a glass, darkly” mean to you?

[Original use.perl.org post and comments.]