I was charged by an elephant once. It was an adult bull elephant, though not an enormous one, but still… And I was in the back of an open Land Rover and not on foot, but still…
It was an experience I will never forget: four or five tons of dark gray flesh rushing at me, kicking up dust and flaring its ears. My head and my chest shook with the beast’s perturbed trumpeting. There and then, albeit in an incipient way, my belief in the hierarchical nature of reality was confirmed. This was the most majestic animal I had ever seen, and among the most impressive experiences I could imagine.
The impressiveness of the experience was in proportion to the majesty of the beast. That’s not an empirical claim, but it is undeniable by any who have had an experience like it. Any, that is, but the deliberately obtuse or sophistical. Some of the most important truths, some of the truest truths, are not empirical.
Meditation on the natural world sets us on the path toward truth, and the path toward the source of all truth, the Truth himself, the Majesty of majesties. It’s the same with all kinds of things – one need not meditate on something as majestic as an elephant. It works just as well with sublimities of other sorts, and there are sublimities at all levels of the world’s being: Coleridge’s waterfall, mentioned by