A Crack of Light Between Two Nothings

Chichen Itza

A key element of Aztec philosophy was duality: in Aztec poetry and the noble-dialect of Nahuatl, figure of speech and symbolic metaphors were based on paired words that were often contradictory such as “Water Fire,” which meant war. Quetzalcoatl, the chief Aztec god, was described by the duality between the mundane (earth, snakes) and the divine (sky, birds).

Aztec human sacrifice

The most prevalent example of Aztec duality is that death begets new life, which justified human sacrifice: in Aztec religion, everything contains a universal cosmic energy called teotl. By sacrificing people, the Aztec transferred their teotl to the sun and their gods to power and sustain the cosmos, which had already been destroyed and re-created four times over. Although destruction of the current age was inevitable, transferring blood and teotl to the gods would prolong their era and delay the inevitable from larger and more powerful cosmic forces.

Statue of Nezahualcoyotl

The nihilistic notion that all existence was fleeting, and would perish, undergird Aztec art, philosophy, and poetry, that beauty of nature and existence was always fragile and fleeting. In the song attributed to Nezahualcoyotl, Truly Do We Live On Earth? the lyrics attempt to answer its own posed question:

Not forever on Earth; only a little while here. 
Be it jade, it shatters.
Be it gold, it breaks.
Be it a quetzal feather, it tears apart.
Not forever on Earth; only a little while here.
Like a painting, we will be erased.
Like a flower, we will dry up here on Earth.
Like plumed vestments of the precious bird, that precious bird with the agile neck, we will come to an end.

Nezahualcoyotl mused on the soul:

Do flowers go to the region of the dead? In the Beyond, are we still dead, or do we live?

Aztec thinkers saw existence in Nabokovian terms: a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.

Chapter 1: In the Beginning… There was Nothing.

Chapter 2: Ex Nihilo

Chapter 3: We Know Nothing

Chapter 4: Null and Void

Chapter 5: Nihil Perpetuum Est



Chapter 6: Apropos of Nothing

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...a philosophisticator who utters heresies, thinks theothanatologically and draws like Kirby on steroids.

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