It is written in the Talmud, “Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” Concerning the spirit, the only life that a man has the power to destroy or save is his own, then and only then is an entire world destroyed or saved in him and through him. IF this is true, the contemplative life, as described by this anonymous author, would be the one simple and logical way to live. “Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life”.
One of the basic doctrines of the Cloud, which is reminiscent of Plotinus, is that thinking or knowing is not a necessary attribute of being, but something inferior and extraneous to being. God cannot be thought or known, but He can be loved, as He is in Himself.
In an apparent attempt to reconcile Christianity and Buddhism, William Johnston writes of the “Cosmic Christ” in the introduction to his translation of the book. He seems to downplay, if not deny, the Personhood of Christ, which does not reflect either the intent or the stated belief of the author. Evelyn Underhill shows more self-restraint in her introduction to an untranslated edition, and does not intrude her personal beliefs on the readers.
According to the author, mystical union can only be understood by those who have attained it. Needless to say, I have not, and therefore am not qualified to judge, but then again, few have. So in that regard, my point of view is as valid as any.
From a Christian perspective, it is possible for man to have true knowledge of God, for He reveals Himself to man, His divine attributes and wondrous works, but human knowledge is imperfect and transitory, whereas Love is perfect and eternal. For God is Love. As St. Paul writes in 1 Cor. 13, Love never fails, but knowledge will vanish away. “For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.”
To put it in a simple analogy, the Cloud of Unknowing is a love story between a soul and her God. When He seems to be away from the soul, she can do no better than to meditate on His attributes and works, and cherish the memories and knowledge of the Beloved. But, when He comes to dwell in her, the soul no longer turns to memories or images, but turns all her being to the Beloved in Person.