our Nihilism and a way out, maybe

Man cannot find meaning in himself, not in himself alone anyway; he must feel part of something greater than himself. And to belong simply to a social group will not do, for then we may be all together but we are just the lonely crowd in a void. No, he must feel that he belongs to something cosmic that is not of man and not of men, and least of all man-made, but toward which in the deepest part of himself he can never feel alien. This is not the nature of the Romantics. We are pushing back here toward something more primal than that. The intimations of deity behind the sublime veil of nature lay too easily at hand for the Romantics. Theism has become too remote for us, one more man-made construction, an abstraction placed over the mystery of things, and above all we must get beyond abstractions even if in the end we will have to come back to them. God, maybe later, but right now we must get closer to the things themselves, particularly the things that are not of man, so that we can rediscover our lost kinship with them and a cosmos can be born for man again. For man, as alien to the cosmos, has always been, and must continue to be, a Nihilist. We have to learn to live again in the presence of a mystery that forever baffles the understanding but renews us even as it goes on baffling us. And, let us make no bones about it, this is a nature that cannot be prettily sentimentalized in the manner of some of the Romantics, for lavish as it may be it is also implacable and harsh in the limits it imposes on us so that at times we must cry out with Faulkner's dirt farmer speaking to his land in a fit of expaseration and love: "You got me, you'll wear me out because you are stronger than me since I'm jest bone and flesh. " Yet that was the source out of which came the life-giving energy that created our species in the first place; and ultimately it is the source out of which must come the energy that will carry us beyond Nihilism.

- William Barrett, "Time of Need", pp. 141-142
Barrett's conclusion here is, to me, profound: recognition of our limitations precedes our escape from the meaningless universe.

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