Every ‘why’ question is a subset of the ultimate question: Why is there Something and not Nothing instead? If you can think yourself and the world away, if you can say no, then you are acting in the dimension of the nothing. There is such a thing – the Nothing. We are, Heidegger says, “a placeholder of the nothing.” (What is Metaphysics, p. 38) The transcendence of human beings is therefore Nothing.
Religious philosophers say similar things:
Rudolf Otto says the Nothing allows the numinous to emerge in the moment.
Paul Tillich says the Nothing is that “which unconditionally concerns us.”
Karl Barth says the Nothing is the “kingdom of God.”
Karl Jaspers says the Nothing is the “encompassing.”
So, the moment is a transcendence, but I think, of the void. The transcendence of Nothing. It comes from the certain moment between Nothing and Something that we can perform with our consciousness.
That is our numinous playing field, which allows us to experience as a miracle the miracle that something exists at all.
Not only that!
Equally amazing against this background is our creative potency. We can produce something & we discover ourselves with the full contingency of our Being here. Yet we can shape ourselves and our world, we can allow Being to grow or destroy it. In the anxiety of emptiness, one may lose a world, & yet one may experience a new world being always born again out of Nothing. Through anxiety we can come into the world anew.
That is why I suspect the truth is never simple. God- whatever anyone calls it – calls everyone with a different voice. None of us can arrogate to ourselves the power of attorney over it. No institution, no dogma is truly capable of holding the truth in preservation. They can at best hang on to a brittle presence.
Of course, if you object that something cannot come from nothing, that there must be a beginning, there are several reasons why many of us avoid away from the significance of the emotional encounter with nothingness, and flee to the Greek dogma of ex nihilo nihil fit.
- The premonitions of the nothingness of death.
- They reproduce the groundlessness of human existence.
- We hope that the recognition of our rootlessness will save meaningfulness from the chaos.
But we don’t have any solace. Freedom is based in nothingness. We also deduce the concept of logical negation from this experience of nothing. Therefore, we have a privileged perspective that differs from the animals with respect to nothing.
“Nothing proves that we are more than nothing.” – E. M. Cioran