Looking out of the window a few minutes ago – I’m not doing it at this moment, typing this – a banal thought hit me: everything that I am looking at began at some time and will end at some time.

[I just paused to look out again...]

It’s a lovely day, actually. I see a couple of trees, a blue sky with whisps of cloud, while close by is my neighbour’s house. I can’t hear anything, apart from the hum of my computer and the sound of my fingers tapping the keyboard. And now that I am thinking about what I am hearing, there is also some sort of nondescript sound in my ears. I’m reminded of John Cage’s description of visiting the anechoic chamber (a completely sound proof room) at Harvard in 1951 and being amazed by sounds that were coming from within himself. (I describe that on p. 91 in my book).

But I digress…

Everything I see and hear, everything I am thinking of, all had a beginning and all will end. Depressing, really…

I’m wondering, though, whether that is true for everything. It must be, for there is nothing I can think of that does not have beginnings and endings. [Unless, of course, one believes in God, who is eternal, with no beginning and no end; but we'll leave that out and file it under "beliefs".]

Strangely, we have greater chances nowadays of having things last long after we as individuals are gone. All our online meanderings are up there for future generations to look at. This blog will float around the virtual netherland for… who knows? But let’s face it, even our virtual writings will last only as long as there is something to house them. But even the world will end, and when that happens, it will all end – even these words of wisdom.

So is there really nothing that does not have a beginning and an end? You guessed it. My favourite subject: Nothing.

I wrote above that “…there is nothing I can think of that does not have beginnings and endings.” Looking at that sentence the way I do and seeing it as ambiguous, I agree with its other meaning: that “nothing” does not have a beginning and an ending.

How could Nothing begin? From what would it begin? Can something turn into Nothing (the absence of everything)?

How could Nothing end? Would Nothing turn into something? Surely nothing comes from nothing. Not even that, actually.

For Nothing to begin or end, it would have to be somethimg, not nothing.

So is Nothing the only thing that doesn’t begin or end? ooops, I mentioned “thing”. Nothing is no-thing, right?

Now why did I start this blog entry? All I did was to stare out of the window for a minute. But it was enough to remind me that with all the things I saw, there was still the unfathomable Nothing, lurking (or not lurking) beyond our understanding, showing us our own limitations.

 

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