“In the spring of 2016 I fell asleep at the wheel, and then I drove my car into the crash barrier at 80 mph. Waking from the loud noise, I sped on, barely blinking. One week later, I got involved with a British artist, who managed to shatter my self-confidence, expose my thinking as fraudulent, and subsequently left me believing my goals were no more than empty pursuits. Something sweet gone sour was nothing I hadn’t tasted before, but this time I couldn’t even go for a drive.
Thinking back on the moment before I crashed, in a split second between being lost in sleep and coming to my senses, I seemed to remember something holding me. I was aware that I could have been snuffed out like a candle without even noticing it, but instead, there had been something going on, and it wasn’t to do with that sweet sleep of death. It had felt like dissolving in a bath of ink, watching the undertow of the void. In that moment I had clearly and distinctly felt the notion of something living in the realm of absolute nothingness. The memory of this darkness felt like having gone under in something that was watching me with a certain sense of curiosity. What had happened, what had I seen? I had the vague notion of having seen Love itself foreshadowing its appearance, and not in a kind way.
As I tried to regain my composure, I found myself thinking about the things that make up life. Not just your everyday work-buy-consume-die-life, but The Good Life. How to find peace of mind?
I saw how people are fighting, shouting abuse at one another, or actual physical fighting with people getting wounded and maimed. I used to like movies, but even for entertainment, what was on offer was mostly the spectacle of violence. I was awed by how a callous few take everyone’s money, and manage to convince the poor that this is the way it should be. I was thinking how tourists circle the globe, while the oceans are emptied out. And as I was thinking about this state we’re in, I felt myself slip into despair. I was wondering what happens to a society in which rivers of blood are made to flow by the greed of a few and the convictions of many. It seemed to me that at some point in history we have lost sight of something. And I wondered what that ‘something’ might be?
I thought of a line out of T.S. Eliot’s epic poem, ‘The Wasteland’: “Who is the third who walks always beside you? When I count, there are only you and I together, but when I look ahead there is always another one walking beside you. I do not know whether a man or a woman.” I couldn’t remember what lines followed after that, so in my own clunky way I just more or less made something up: “What are these sounds, so that in the midst of night, the house sighs and you hear the clouds move? Why do you feel like singing when at the same time you feel your heart sink? Why is there something and not nothing?”
Then I thought, what does it mean that there is something, and that there is an order to that ‘something’? What is that ‘man or woman’ keeping us company through our lives? Scientists may one day be able to tell us how they think the cosmos is organised, but when you ask, ‘What has organised the cosmos?’, trying to answer that question inevitably leads to an originator. After all, to think no one has organised this, and it’s all merely a fantastic coincidence, seems just as far-fetched and a lot less interesting. Besides, if it’s all just coincidence and science, then our lives mean nothing. If we live these lives because we just happen to be here, then everything is allowed, and if everything is allowed, then nothing is of any value.
However, when you ask, ‘Why is there something and not nothing?’, and when you think, ‘Well, maybe there is an originator, and it’s not all coincidence, and our lives have a meaning that goes beyond our individual experience’ – then a door opens that leads to a way out of the madness. That door opening is what I saw as I was speeding through the darkness…”
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