Becoming The Void Of Nothingness
They stared anxiously at one another, like vicious friends, hinting that while one would protest each and every idea that the other postulated, they ultimately found each other to exist in a mutual relationship, as if they really were one and the same. The bright sun light from the window illuminated the library and coloured the dust in the air. It was both an historical place and a place within history; a convergence between the past, the present, and the unforeseen future. But man is a creature of search and whatever turns out to be an imaginative possibility, will be the object of his interest. It was topics of such nature; divine gods, emptiness, existence, and modernity, which the two young students intensively discussed:
"Your gods are dead. Gone. No more. In ignorance you killed them and now their existence is limited to historical anecdotes and lifeless myths that no one understands anymore. And you, pathetic modern man, tries to give new life to the ruins of your decaying culture. Confused, disorganized, you desperately cling unto your sacred idols. 'But they must exist', you cry out - but alas, in vain. Your cries echo the silence and emptiness of your dying empire. You thought you could turn the past into present. You were wrong. This is the time when man has to face himself and realize that he is embodied within a godless world of no meaning and hope. The question is: Do you dare to live on - passionately?"
"Don't say that. They're not dead. Nothing's dead. I know our gods still exist and are watching over us. You say they're dead, I say your belief is dead. Our gods are eternal and the wisdom they defend is ever lasting. What killed our culture was a conflicting order that confused us and led us astray. I believe there is a way back, as long as you are willing to search for it."
"You say you want to search for something, but when I observe you, I see a person with dead eyes and a scared soul. You're afraid. You're afraid that this is it -- that maybe this time it's different. Maybe we can't go back. Maybe we have to start anew and begin worshipping new gods, new idols, and embrace a new future that we create for ourselves. You say your gods are eternal and have just gone to sleep. I believe we killed them and that the death of our gods left us with a vacuum; emptiness we now are afraid of facing. I think we're committing an error if we don't dare to stare down the abyss and face our own image, regardless if any gods have ever existed. We can't survive through denial."
"When I look outside the window, I see a grey, lifeless, depressing view open up before me. I see the concrete empire we have built and it means nothing to me. Nothing means anything. It's unbearable to live in a world where there is no passion, no desire, no myth, no magic, no hate, no war, no conflict, no art, and no tradition -- no life. When you urge me to stare down the abyss, I turn away. Do you want to know why? Because I've faced it a million times and I'm tired of not having anything to turn back to. That's why I refuse to forget our gods. They constitute the other side of the abyss; they're the anti-thesis to our modern world. They are life in a world of death."
"I understand you. But what I sense is that you're missing out on something. Every time you have faced nothingness, you have backed away and glared at it with the eyes of he who is afraid; who resents. That is the spirit of the modern; to resent, to back away, to flee, to create false idols, to build a heaven of illusions, to defeat the Self and then give up -- it's a spiritual path to a goal without resolution. If we want to survive the modern world, not only do we have to face nothingness -- we have to learn how to embrace it as part of our existence. Nothingness is not our enemy. It's the final truth; the last saying; the ultimate life, if you will. Think about it. How could anything exist without an anti-thesis? How could something Be, if it wasn't contrasted against Non-Being? Nothingness didn't come to us as an unwelcome guest. It's always been here and it's first now that we have a chance to stare it right in the face, seize it by its throat, shake it, and scream: 'You are the cause of my miseries, but also the cause of my Being, hence I both stab you and greet you; I both love you and hate you; I declare you threatening and I recognize you as the sweetest of comforts, for you are, ultimately, what we have always been and always will be -- You are All and encompassing'."
"Is life meant to be a worship of fatal nothingness? You say you declare nothingness to be life, but at the same time you contrast it against existence. You are a nihilist and a worshipper of fatalism and defeatism. If I see gods, if only as a desperate hope of mine, you see nothing and you obsess with it as your comfort. Life is not nothingness; it is activity, change, flux and creation; all that defined the era before modernity and the crisis of the modern world. I regret I ever met you, because your self-destructive soul seeks to obliterate the energy, spirit, and hope of others. Your disease is a love of defeat."
"By giving yourself away like this, you have already defeated yourself. This is why we are not the same. I'm a nihilist, not because I worship anti-existence, but because I recognize what's underneath it. Where did existence come from? How did all of this come to being? Not through Being, but through Non-Being. Emptiness is everywhere, and everything. Life is merely a part of nothingness; it's a bridge, a temporal transition, where we become aware of both states. I'm not defeated, nor do I worship that which is defeated. In fact, I've already defeated you, because I see what's deep inside of you, of me, of everything that is alive, and choose to accept and embrace it."
He shook his hand in anger and hit the table with his fist:
"Nothingness cannot exist as Being!"
"Nothingness isn't Being, it is. It's not the absence of Being, it's the foundation to it."
"So what do I look at when I observe the principles, the traditions, the order, and the manifestation of our gods?"
"You're looking at a world of yesterday, a world you hide in because you're afraid of today; of here and now. You back away from what you see, because of what you wish to see. But you have to reconcile yourself with life and learn to accept it. We can't change the past anymore than we can change what's metaphysically established as eternal."
"But I seek truth and wisdom in the eternal--"
"-- No, you seek truth in yourself. You wish the myths had never gone and the gods had never vanished, but they did. We can't go back. We can move on, if we dare to, but in order to do that, we must first accept what's right here and now before us. Do you recognize our gods before us? Do you see their lively manifestations as part of our existence? Or do you see the remnants of what they once were?"
"I see a world in darkness where truth is illuminating the undiscovered."
"Then turn your eyes away from what you believe is truth and face the darkness. Therein lies truth. You can never overcome ignorance without facing it, otherwise ignorance will control you, too."
"I'm starting to see where you're heading. You want me to face the world as it is, before overcoming it."
"I want you to not only stare down in that abyss, but be ready to leave the cliff you're standing on and jump, and doing so - not in absence of fear, but despite fear. Therein you will be saved."
"Instinctively I hate you, because you are my opposite. Why am I finding myself in quiet agreement with someone that is opposed to me?"
"Because we are not, and never were, really opposed to each other. We are merely two sides of one being. The conflict and denial have kept us apart as enemies, and therefore denied the unity of our supreme co-existence, just like we've denied the essence of Being in fear of what we may find that transcends it. Do you know why I embrace this age?"
His eyes were strained by sleepless nights, but despite the state of feeling overwhelmed and ever so tired, he curiously leaned forward and asked his friend:
"Tell me, why?"
"Because now I am finally feeling whole again."
April 23, 2008
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