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Much About Nothing
My dear Readers:
When I sat down this morning to write the latest instalment of the almanac, I could think of nothing to write about. Then the light bulb (30 watt compact fluorescent) went on -- okay, it flickered a bit before giving the idea light. I would write about Nothing. Why Nothing? Think about it for a moment. What do all creation stories -- regardless of the religion or scientific thought -- have in common? Before the act of creation, there was Nothing. Absolute, undefinable, terrifying Nothing! What fills most of the universe? Nothing! Nothing is thus the most important part of the universe - defining, in opposition, all that exists. The Yin to balance Yang. Thus, Nothing is greater than Nothing, a concept which will drive philosophers and mathematicians to ponder Nothing for years.
If I really wrote Nothing, then this page in this good magazine would be blank. I would have left Nothing to your imagination. So instead, I decided to empty my brain and heart and soul of Nothing for you. Here goes Nothing!
I started my life the day I was born carrying Nothing, and when I finally depart from this life, I will carry Nothing with me again. When I was a young lad, my mother often yelled, "What are you doing...!?" I always answered, "Nothing!" When she heard me rummaging through the kitchen just before supper, she shouted, "What are you eating!?" "Nothing!" I mumbled back, my mouth full of cookies. (Did you know that Nothing is fattening?!?) Upon reflection, I see that I have spent the majority of my life: doing Nothing, eating Nothing, often feeling Nothing, hearing Nothing, saying Nothing, and definitely, doing Nothing with the blond next door. I therefore consider myself an expert on Nothing. And Nothing requires absolute commitment.
How important is Nothing to our life? Well, what is the functional part of a cup, a bowl, a bottle, a pot? The empty part - the Nothing part. The emotion and tension of great music often comes when Nothing is played for a brief moment. Think of Beethoven's 5th or Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra -- better known as the theme to 2001: A Space Odyssey. A sculpture takes shape when granite and marble are replaced with Nothing in just the right places. Great literature stretches the imagination when Nothing is fully explained. Often the best medicine a physician can prescribe is Nothing, letting time heal all wounds and illnesses. When a relationship is strong, often Nothing needs to be said to enjoy time together.
We can only see when Nothing impedes the light. We only hear when Nothing muffles the sound. We can only walk the path when Nothing stands in our way. Everywhere Nothing is filling our lives. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. But often when something is ventured, Nothing happens, Nothing results. Just ask any prospector coming back over the Chilkoot Pass from the Klondike gold fields, "What did you find?" "Nothing!" He'll likely reply.
We have come to expect Nothing from our government leaders for we know that a politician's mind is not filled with visions of the future but with Nothing of importance. Therefore,we often are not disappointed when they do or accomplish Nothing. Why have they learned Nothing from the past and seem intent on repeating it?
Ah, the questions, ever more questions that Nothing engenders. How often these days do we leave Nothing to the imagination? What is Nothing to be sneezed about? Can Nothing satisfy the spoiled child? Is Nothing worthwhile? Can Nothing make me happier than I am today? Is Nothing prettier than a child at play or a fiery sunset or a rose? Is Nothing better than Love? I doubt it. Is Nothing perfect? Probably not. Is Nothing sacred? Likely so.
If the God of Abraham is all-knowing, did he learn all from Nothing prior to Creation? When Jesus went to the Wilderness did he find Nothing? And was he tempted to leave before he truly found it? Blessed are they who expect Nothing, for they shall not be disappointed.
Have we become too engaged with Nothing of consequence? I believe lately we have become too preoccupied with action and result for the sake of action and result -- a misguided Puritan ethic. I think it is time we all do Nothing whenever we can, for while we sit quietly doing Nothing, the grass grows and Spring comes. The universe vibrates and reveals Nothing to us on the path to the future.
On the other hand, what if we gave Nothing to others of ourselves, or did Nothing when injustice surrounded us or did Nothing to save our planet and the creatures who share it with us? Then, obviously Nothing can harm us. Can Nothing save us from ourselves?
Great philosophers have pondered these questions and I know Nothing more from their efforts. I have spent much of my life contemplating Nothing, and yet, the universe still plays around me, not ending when my mind in meditation focused on Nothing.
When I started this piece, I had Nothing to write about. Now what more can I say? ...........Nothing!
Your humble servant,
p. Keith, PbH
Poor Keith's Almanac: Much About Nothing by Keith C. Heidorn, PhD . ©1999, All Rights Reserved.
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