Form & Nothingness

Form is of utmost importance to me, to a metaphysical extent, for I believe it transcends even being itself. Nothingness bubbles into being through the agency of form, while form likewise penetrates into the abyss of its own origin. We are, the salt shaker is, the mountains of Mars are… the mystery of absolute nothing igniting into being within form.

We define experience by formulating it, thus differentiating the undifferentiated mass of sensations that flood over us. We categorize them into genres of seemingly lived narrative, into modes of expression seemingly best designed to accommodate different emotional and psychological conditions. Notions of “love,” for example, are most commonly (ironically) expressed in the most fleeting of forms, poetry and song lyrics. The understanding of fear is most often delegated to the horror genre, and so on, but not ad infinitum, for the intent is to make comprehensible and therefore finite the forms of response to “reality,” which, incidentally, is another form. (I would imagine that outside human experience the number of potential forms is infinite.)

But how does it matter to me to believe that we are made, physically and culturally, of equal parts form and void? To a pragmatist such as myself (well, a Pragmatic Gnostic Stoic Zen Buddhist, to be a bit more precise at this point in my journey), this is an important question, as much for my art as for my daily living. Believing that the inscrutable void is at the heart of everything from snails to supernovas comforts me immensely… knowing that mystery shall never be banished from the world, for the world would have to go with it. And knowing that form is a condition of existence draws my attention to the shapes of everything from, well, snails to supernovas, sonnets to civilizations, dreams to dreadnaughts. And I do not readily accept the given name, type, or categorization for a thing without first studying its shape and structure, in time and space, and its relation to other patterns of being. And sometimes I find I must redefine or rename a thing, or find a better form for it to embody… though it might take a book or two to do so.

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