Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Value of Nothing

A.  Nothing.  B.  Something.  C.  Everything.
Which of these three seems to offer the most challenge?  And, indeed, maybe A. Nothing is the answer because it actually offers us an option to go wherever.

      One thing that we may all be scared to be caught at is nothing.  It’s horrific to imagine we don’t have any possessions, we don’t want to be called good for nothing, and we can’t stand idle with no activity or movement for so long.  Is life to be lived so as to avoid what can sometimes be of more meaning and value than just simply having something?
       In mathematics, there are values beyond nothing, those in the negative.  In life, these negatives can translate into something: making the obviously wrong and hasty decision rather than not deciding for the moment while the path to actualizing the right one is still unclear, saying something hurtful rather than keeping quiet if it feels impossible to declare something good, watching bad shows on tv instead of turning it off because there’s simply nothing of any entertainment or moral value that’s on.  It seems, therefore, that even in our realities, there are three classifications to where we can go and what we can do: those in the negative, staying with nothing or the zero, and the positive.  And maybe we have to be conscious that the alternative to positive is not just the negative, but there is also the nothing.  Such that rather than make something worse by doing what can be damaging because it’s not possible to make it better, there is the option to not do anything at all, even if only for the moment.
       Of course, this nothingness is not an excuse to be passive.  There is really still what can be called silent acquiescence when the doing, saying or choosing of nothing can be construed as agreement.  But as nothingness is a much harder state and decision to maintain (just imagine any container that, even if we choose not to put anything on it actively, will still gather moist or germs), we still have to finish our time of choosing it and it necessitates some concrete decision eventually. Nothingness may actually be the crucial crossroad that allows us to choose whether we will go to the positive or to the negative.   Obviously, nothingness can be followed with something good much more easily than if we compared it with going from negative to positive.
      Another truth about nothing is that it's more difficult to know and interpret - which is not necessarily a bad thing.  In the day-to-day, just smiling instead of answering in the affirmative or the negative can arouse more intrigue than if we actually said a direct answer.  Standing still before taking a next step to the left or to the right can mean hesitation, preparation or indecision.  Being jobless or loveless instead of staying in a relationship or work that doesn’t make us grow as persons opens the possibilities to any and all kinds of work and to an assortment of beginnings, middles and ends for our love stories to happen. 
     So, it shouldn't be that scary, after all: having, being, doing nothing just for a while.  Because nothingness means something.  Choosing nothing, in itself, is choosing something.  It’s a choice, it has worth, it’s a phase that can lead to so much more than the value we give it credit for.

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