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The first thing to understand about human understanding is just how wide is its reach and penetrative its insight. Saying this is saying much of what is set out in the entry on mind. Our understanding moves towards its goal as a person moves from darkness to light. These are the metaphors we naturally use when describing how we come to understanding. The twentieth-century German philosopher, Martin Heidegger, wrote:

Only by virtue of light, i.e. through brightness, can what shines show itself, that is, radiate. But brightness in turn rests upon something open, something free … where one being mirrors itself in another speculatively – there openness … the free region is in play. Only this openness grants to the movement of speculative thinking the ...

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