A Paradoxical Multiplicity of Nothing

by Jonathan F. Dill.

Life happens when you're slogging through the mud, hacking a path through the jungle with a machete not knowing why. And maybe while you're there hacking for what it's worth, somebody gets that far-off look, and they says they can see a glint of something far off in the green mess of vines and trees, but they don't know what it is, but you thinks they's crazy and you just keeps on hacking.

But then, after a spell somebody else says, "Yeah, i seen it too-- What was that anyhow?" You feel this itchy sore inside you, but you just keep on hacking, minding your own damn business, after all hacking is the only way what gets you somewheres, not standing there lolly gagging over some thing what you don't know what it is.

Just when you think that itch is gone, another body stops dead and throws down his machete and scratches his head, looking off into the distance, and says now he sees it too. And now that sore inside you is swollen and filled with pus and you just gotta look, so you throw down your machete with contempt, and your eyes bulge as you glare at your companions, and you bust out a yell, "Well, what is it dammit?"

Then you look too, and you see it, and maybe you don't know what it is, or maybe you do know what it is, and you disagree with the other feller and then you argue about it, and meanwhile you're not hacking, you're just standing there sweating in the steaming jungle going nowhere, arguing about nothing.

Then again, maybe you see it and it's just nothing. Maybe nothing means anything. Maybe we just go around and try to make that nothing into something, but instead that nothing grows and grows until it consumes us and we become nothing. Maybe we are already nothing and we don't know it, and we just think that we're really something. Maybe that nothing can't be something, but then again, maybe where there's nothing there can be anything, everything.

Nothing makes perfect sense to me: I don't think, therefore I am not. Is it incomprehensible that nothing inspired me to write this? For me, nothing is everything, but it is also nothing.

[Footnotes--"A Clean, Well-lighted Place" by Ernest Hemingway, "On Being and Time" by Martin Heidegger, "Being and Nothingness" by Jean-Paul Sartre, "All the King's Men" by Robert Penn Warren]

If you don't understand this, don't worry, there's nothing to understand.

Contributions || Ram Samudrala || me@ram.org