The Supernatural Etiology of the Philtrum

Right beneath your nose, just above your upper lip, is something called the philtrum, the origin and purpose of which is a Great Mystery. In response to this enigma, Judaism offers a rather intriguing Talmudic explanation for the otherwise functionless seeming facial feature. This attempts to account for the aforementioned oddity of human anatomy by asserting that the Supreme Being played a part in putting it there.

As the story goes, God sent an angel to your mother’s womb before you were born to teach you all the wisdom that you would ever need to know. Then, the Book of Books goes on to tell us that shortly before you were finally born, the angel returned to place a celestial finger upon your face, at which time all was forgotten. Thus, according to an ancient Jewish legend, your philtrum is an indentation that was formed by the hand of a supernatural being, shortly before you took your first breath.

With all of your knowledge gone, the rabbis explain that your destiny is the process of relearning what you already knew. In line with this, the Doctrine of Recollection, or anamnesis, is a concept handed down from Ancient Greece which states that you were conceived possessing all the knowledge in existence and that your realization of that insight is contingent upon your rediscovery of that lost understanding. Again, the notion here is that there was once a time that you knew everything, but somehow forgot it. So, the goal of recollection is to return to the initial state of true knowledge.

The only catch is that there are limits on what you can know. God sets specific boundaries on the extent to which human knowledge can grow, preventing you from knowing too much since the conscious recognition of every truth would serve to undo all that has ever been done. Thus, the Great Mystery is an essential Keeper of Secrets. Nonetheless, any process of learning which you undertake is therefore a necessary quest, presumably decreed by a higher power, through which you are meant to return to a greater level of wisdom.

According to this belief, such is the nature of the destiny which God has intended for you, whether you choose to accept the challenge or not. Ultimately, the lesson of all of this is that authentic learning consists of a lifetime of inquiry, whereby you arrive at truths about yourself and the world in which you live. Furthermore, this is meant to happen in such a way that there is an overall sense within you that those truths have always been there waiting to be uncovered.