Nothingness: The Monster Under our Beds
‘Nothingness’ –as the complete lack of existence– is a conceptual monster that we have created; it is easily demonstrable that the ‘nothingness’ we have come to understand is actually just a concept (meaning that it has no complete correspondence with any aspect of reality except itself).
Once you philosophically understand the full spectrum of reality, i.e., radical monism (which the mystics have understood since time immemorial, and Spinoza has rationalized very well) you come to the realization that the idea of you doesn’t actually exist (it is just a concept), i.e, there is no ontological difference between the subject (you) and the object (all that is not the perceiving human consciousness that you associate with the Self). So, what is this ontological sameness that excludes –and exudes– all differences? It is congruent with: true nothingness (rather than conceptual nothingness); absolute Existence; Oneness; Non-dualism; or complete metaphysical sameness, etc.
The reason why I bolded ‘complete metaphysical sameness’ (above) is because the descriptors of sameness and difference can lead to the understanding of true nothingness, i.e., ‘the absolute ontological truth (or Truth)’ and its implications with the purely conceptual ‘complete lack of existence’, i.e., conceptual nothingness.
I doubt many keep on reading past the word ‘mystics’ due to the taboo that surrounds it, but, for those of you that have kept reading, I would like to emerge my argument out of the muddied waters of theology and caution to not get trapped in the paradoxes of language.
One can think of reality as an asymptote (with an infinite amount of differences) that approaches absolute sameness. Having this analogy in mind, there can be fragmented samenesses between the differences, but there is only one absolute sameness that, in effect, encapsulates all of the differences under the quality of existing. The complete metaphysical sameness mentioned earlier is akin to the asymptote itself in this analogy.
(It seems to me that the notion of everything being the same because all things share the common quality of existing, is a much stronger one than everything being different because we attribute concepts to the reality which we perceive)
If everything is the same at a fundamental metaphysical level (and we understand this as the absolute ontological truth), we can, now, come back to the difference between conceptual and true nothingness. *Keeping in mind that (although all is fundamentally the same) the fragmentation of reality, and our conceptual understanding of it, gives us the opportunity to analyze the differences between concepts and reality.
Conceptual nothingness is the monster created by, a) our ignorance, and b) our concept-ridden cognition. First of all, we cannot fathom what lack of existence is (because there is no such thing at a fundamental metaphysical level) and, secondly, this unfathomability causes us to create a concept around it –in an effort of describing the unknown. The creation of a concept based on a lack of knowledge is analogous to a child’s paranoia as the cause for the existence of a monster under their bed. However, the monster that is conceptual nothingness ceases to be a reality as soon as the light of [T]ruth is shone, and the monster is effectively demonstrated to be a simple fabrication of the mind.
On the other hand, as mentioned earlier, true nothingness is congruent to absolute Existence and, thus, the quality of existing itself. So, if one were to phenomenologically approach reality, one sees that everything is substantially the same and that the no-concept is the only form of lack of existence (in terms of concepts being ontologically irreal) a human can observe (in states of extreme intuition). Within this absolute sameness, in which there are no ontological differences, it becomes clear that everything is a manifestation of true nothingness. Nothingness is not the absence of all, it is all in itself!
Which brings me to my last concern. How can you be so sure that after death there is nothingness? What nothingness are you talking about exactly? Where have you fathomed such a reality?
Death is the opposite of biological existence, but not of Existence itself.
As a final poetic remark, I would like to bring to notice the striking revelation one can find when comparing the Hebrew words for ‘I’ and ‘nothingness’: אֲנִי (ani) and אַיִן (ayin), where a subtle switch of letters, for the initiated, can reveal the metaphysical truth that you are a dilution of (true) nothingness.