It’s a world of facts and knowledge – and we celebrate much of what that achieves: for example following the science is good for beating Covid-19. But it’s become evident that the flood of knowledge and data has drowned out things like love, honesty, wisdom, spirituality, care for the environment. They can’t be quantified or monetised so they literally don’t count.
Every now and again, people appear who seem to manage to span this quantifiable-unquantifiable divide. One of them was a German woman named Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179). She was an accomplished writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic and polymath, writing theological, botanical and medicinal texts. She was known for perceiving the integratedness of all things, from the individual to the universal and cosmic, all encompassed by God’s love.
She knew nothing of the the facts-versus-wisdom, faith-versus-science divides we have in our society. We sorely need to see science and technology talking ethics and compassion, spirituality earthed in everyday life, and everyday life nurturing the environment.
Her achievements were extraordinary for her time, and all the more so in a culture where women normally had no voice at all. She continues to be an inspiration today.