Ian said, “What if nothing disappears? Nothing disappearing means there’d be no more empty space in the universe. It’s be nuts.”
Before I had time to respond he was already walking out of the room mumbling something about a double negative.
That was three weeks ago and I still don’t know how to respond. I can’t get a visual. Define nothing. Is it a physical thing? Does it have mass like a vacuum cleaner? Or is it similar to a sound wave like this inThe Vacuum Cleaner song. Maybe it’s something more ethereal, something harder to define.
I have an uncle who is a doctor of philosophy, who wrote his dissertation in french, no less, at the Sorbonne. This impresses me. But he’s a humble man and if I said to him, “Wow. I think that’s impressive.” he might say, “Oh it was nothing.”
Aha! So it is definitive–– nothing is something.
Before I consult him, before I begin a hurried study of Heidegger and Sartre, before I commit to spending the next 30 years studying astrophysics, I’ll see what picture I can come up with.
If nothing disappeared, eliminating vast spaces of pause, of reflection, of breath, wouldn’t it be like a poem squeezing in on itself? It would start out with furious energy, like gamma rays shooting away from an exploding star. The poet’s words, like burning foxes jumping, would fall upon each other, and the sound would become hiss-like. Then, as nothing was further diminished, it would slow like the stirring of a bucket of tar and the words would pack together like clay, only denser, so much denser, too dense to absorb color. Absence itself. Black silence.
Then there’s the matter of humanity. The absorption of colors and smells and everyone else’s voices and emotions would stop. And, if we weren’t crushed dead, we’d enter a state of nothingness. Isn’t that the objective of prayer and meditation? Maybe it wouldn’t be nuts as Ian thought. Maybe it’d be bliss.