If you don’t see what I’m saying - if you’re not seeing how the Nothing can never have been (because there would surely still only be nothing), then you probably haven’t done the requisite meditation on it, to think it through all the way until you get to the bottom of it. You have to do your homework. You have to try to conceive of it – the Nothing.
Two of the easiest directions that I know how to approach it are these:
1) by trying to imagine what it would be like if you had never been born. It isn’t hard - just picture the world without you in it. Now try to look at that same thing from your perspective - as you, but you were never born. From your standpoint the world and nothing are the same thing. You have not even been conceived (of). You would be unaware of any darkness, any empty space, or any kind of awareness of your privation of all the structures and contents of being. You yourself would simply be nothing. And,
2) to imagine a vacuum cleaner so powerful that it sucks everything out of the universe and when every last particle of matter is gone, you turn it up another notch and it sucks out all of the space itself - collapses it in on itself until there is no more empty space – no extension – no opening for Being, and when there is no space left it pulls itself in and with it, all of consciousness goes too and there is no remainder – only the Nothing.
So, if you’re still not seeing the parabola separating space-time and consciousness, for now you’re going to have to take me on my word, I guess, that this sort of complete and total nothingness has never been the case. But don’t give up; I’ll say it as plainly as I can: by meditating on it, the Nothing, until we grasp why it cannot be grasped, we can obtain first-hand knowledge that there has always been something, always. From this we may now deduce that it is always already eternal.
Say it with me: IT IS ALWAYS ALREADY ETERNAL…
This little mind-blower is surely the source of many gods, of Nietzsche’s “Law of the Eternal Recurrence of the Same,” and certainly some of our own strange unshakable feelings of permanence in the face of our rationally certain knowledge of our own deaths to come at some unknown date in the future (an appointment we shall each be keeping), but that’s not why this discussion is appearing in this odd long blog. No, the reason I brought it up is INSOMNIA. But I’ve done my philosophical homework (perhaps some of you are aware of the modern metaphysical materialist position, and how it would currently like to claim that the “Big Bang” was preceded by a state of total nothingness that is identical with what I call the Nothing, and that they, these PhD holding physicists, would seem to have no problem countenancing something arising from nothing – to this I can only reply that they “haven’t done their homework”), and I’ve concluded that there can be no first time through anything because it is always already eternal. This made the employment of “In the beginning there was…” unsatisfactory for obvious reasons.
The draw of that unsatisfactory first half-line, as shall become clear to you in mere moments, was that I was inviting a comparison between this text and all of the others that preceded it with that same (logically fallacious) claim that what you are about to read is what happened in the beginning. Now, instead of a tacit comparison that I hoped would occur within the reader’s mind as the first phrase went in, I have called attention to it directly, as though I were saying this has EQUAL CLAIM to, “In the beginning there was…”. What difference is there in that here I openly admit to writing fiction whereas elsewhere others claim otherwise? And herein lies another implication of the realization that it is always already eternal: everything that can possibly happen has already happened in its own timeline, infinitely many times even, and if everything that can happen has happened (or is happening concurrently but in some other now) in its own reality within its own timeline, then in what sense is anything ever fiction? -or is any piece of fiction ever novel?
Answer: in a timeline where the written story hasn’t happened, the story is fiction within that timeline (or any other where it never happened); and similarly, the story is novel where it is a new story to the timeline, regardless of whether or not the story did in fact (and meat – as it were) occur in some other timeline’s reality.
By now you know that even though I really wanted to, I’m definitely not going to start this story with that old, tried and (proven) not-true standby,
“In the beginning…”.
Perhaps there’s a phrase standing by just for fictions, right at our fingertips. One that invites certain comparisons maybe, but without all of the accidental deceit and misleading logical entailments. Maybe it could signal the reader honestly that what they are about to read is made up by the author, but for the sake of this read, we’re going to pretend that its true. Perhaps it should begin with something like,
“Once upon time…” as in, once upon a time I could sleep all night.