Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Abyss: A Desperate Illusion


...this great void I face, the Abyss, is nothing more than an illusion.

Existentially, I can’t say that I really know what Despair is. It feels like absolute and complete loneliness, as if I am completely cut off from the rest of the universe. Intellectually, I can make a leap and understand that this great void I face, the Abyss, is nothing more than an illusion. In fact, it may be this human experience, being in the world that creates a sense of separation from the whole, that creates this illusion of the Abyss. I can only speculate as to why spiritual beings would choose such an experience. This is where theories of it all being a “game” or a “movie” of some sort come in. 

I can conceive of beings coming into a state like this to “beat” it, to overcome it, to rearrange the parameters of the game in order to transcend it. In that sense, it may very well be the nature of the “game” to have this pervading sense of Despair.  I don’t know that it’s necessary to know what Despair is, but it is certain that on some level we have to choose whether to cope with it or not. 

So, in a very practical sense, we might say that a better life may be lived, whatever cosmological benefits there may or may not be, by having some way to see Despair, face it, and then live beyond it. Indeed, to whatever degree we may be able to transcend Despair, it seems we also gain a greater ability to live life, to exercise individuality within its bounds, and to enjoy more of the experience, even those things which may not be considered altogether pleasant or even tolerable, of transcending the difficulties of this existence.  

...zero is a risk...the letting go of what we
know in favor of something unknown... 

This makes sense, but there is no way to prove it. It is merely an experiential interpretation of “events,” but such is the nature of truth. There is no real way to know truth, only to approximate it and then to make our best attempt to live in the world despite reductionist views that we don’t even consistently hold to or act according to.

Numbers are certain and comforting in their predictability, whereas zero is a risk: the pregnant pause between phrases a master musician takes; the letting go of what we know in favor of something unknown; the redeeming poignancy of death after a life well-lived. 

Nietzsche sums this up nicely, "if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee" (Beyond Good and Evil, 1886,146).