The state of total emptiness has always been something baffling to humanity. The mere thought of a space containing nothing seems unthinkable to us, as we're accustomed to constantly engage in things around us and inside of us that exist on a continual basis. Many people will often try to picture a room where only darkness or whiteness roam. However, this is contradictory, as white and black are colours and nothingness lack any form of shape, structure or external fašade. Actually, it cannot lack anything at all, as it already disproves both everything and its own existence. Emptiness is not even nothingness - it is simply not.
Through our daily lives, we confront reality with new challenges and tasks. We work hard to achieve our goals and we want to make a lasting change for our children to experience in their lives. However, now and then, the confidence in what we do and believe in, may stagnate and sometimes even go as far as inducing emptiness. Our minds will feel empty of thoughts, empty of ideas, empty of hope - there will be a lurking and crawling sensation of how nothing matters. This is something we often address as fatalism, or the belief that nothing in this world is worth doing, thereby saying no to engage in any form of actual change.
Sooner or later, Man will be seriously disturbed by His own thoughts and try to conquer, to override His current state of passiveness. He recharges and reloads His energy, ready to face a new day with new challenges. This phenomenon is nothing new; it has occurred throughout the history of Mankind. A simple way of looking at this is to compare two opposite beliefs: modern science and traditional Nordic paganism.
According to the Old Norse myth, the world was first a large hole of emptiness, called Ginnungagap. It did not take long before this state became disturbed by its own existence, and therefore started to create. And so it did; out of heat and cold a large Giant called Ymer was born. This Giant lived off the milk from a cow called Audumbla, which spent the time licking salt stones. This cow licked for all it was worth, until a man came to be; a man called Bure. Bure - the descendant of all Gods, and Ymer - the descendant of all Giants. Time flew by, more Gods came to be and three of them - Oden, Vile and Ve - decided to slay Ymer, which they also did. Out of Ymer they created the world, and according to Nordic pagan traditional myth, this is how the world and its diverging variation came to be.
Interestingly, modern science interprets the birth of Universe much the same way. Modern scientists believe that everything started with a tiny ball containing all matter of the Universe. This ball existed in a state of total singularity, as nothingness surrounded it. This basically means, if we assume that there was something before the ball, that emptiness was the forerunner to somethingness. Much like Ginnungagap could not last very long, neither could the state of emptiness according to Modern scientific belief, as it contradicted itself. A ball came to be, it somehow didn't like its current state, and exploded. Not exploded in a typical sense, but merely expanded and grew. After 3 minutes, 98% of all the matter that eventually would become the Universe we live in today, was created after this gigantic blow.
Emptiness disappeared and was replaced by a diverging and extremely complex universal order consisting of chaotic and structuralistic, creative and destructive forces - together uniting factors that shaped the Universe and at last made it possible for a human race to evolve and appear on planet Earth. So far, we have covered and compared both Modern materialism and Ancient spiritualism. Both view the birth of this Universe as something empty, which in itself created and shaped our world in which we today live in. Not surprisingly, there are huge questions and many paradoxes to sort out, but the more we view reality, the more we see how paradoxes fulfil themselves. A war between two nations at last creates peace. The death of one man becomes the life of another man. We isolate ourselves, only to be able to experience our small part in a larger whole. Our body constrained to physicality and our mind constrained to abstract ideas - yet together working as One.
So when we've put the start aside, we reach the question of what will come next, the wonderings of tomorrow. According to Nordic pagan belief, the world will relapse into forces of chaos destroying the world - the myth of Ragnar÷k - until it once again may rise up and be renewed, cleansed from evil, where the sun will shine everlasting bright. Modern science however, is more uncertain of what will happen to our order. It is currently pending between three major courses, three large views on how the power of Gravitation may affect planet Earth and the Universe:
Modern scientists are not sure what will follow, but if they choose to remain optimistic, we can expect an increase of hopes for option number three. The interesting thing to read out of these suggestions, is how one can draw comparisons to contemporary politics and current situation for the Indo-European people.
Obviously, small factors make huge difference in the Universe. Lower the degree of Gravitation and humanity is eliminated. Do the opposite, and humanity will be but a memory of the past. Same thing applies to the variation found in nature; 99% of the genes found in human beings are identical, yet it becomes obvious that 1% can create such a big difference in actuality, when comparing physical and social treats between well-bred races. Nature relies on a perfect balance between different forces and factors, to be able to create a specific kind of life form. Humanity is still alive, thanks to Gravitation keeping its power balanced so that we may avoid both being crushed and thrown away into space. Modern science realises this and so did the Ancient Nordics, who saw Ragnar÷k only as a means to something new and more balanced. Even if, from a scientific perspective, Gravitation would become too powerful, it'd still lead to singularity and thus a new Universe.
No matter if you're a pagan or a materialist, you will agree to this, as well as you will recognize emptiness and destruction of variation for something unwanted. The face of nihilism - something to be feared. Emptiness scares us, because it means a paper remaining white. It means a guitar remaining silent. It means a child never being born. It means nothing, as nothingness cannot mean anything. Nihilism, or putting all internal meanings aside, is ultimately realism in its most brutal and honest form: what you see is what you got. And if you got, you might as well develop it, let it diverge and embrace the variation as an ongoing process of recombining eternal ideas into different structures - yet forever remaining the same as a process and order. It is a paradox we can never escape, but nonetheless, it is a paradox, which keeps humanity alive.
April 11, 2006
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