As you read this, somewhat puzzled by the title, you must be wondering no doubt what this is all about, whether it is worth reading, whether you can get anything out of it in return for your time and attention, some tips on doing something or other, or perhaps a laugh, or at least a good quote or two, or peradventure you expect a personal revelation with which you can resonate, how I had done at one time or other something out of the ordinary or something very foolish, or how this or that tragedy had befallen me, or maybe you’re not into that and would prefer this to be some kind of social commentary, or a political piece, or some kind of spiritual musing, or maybe you have come here to read about writing, about that gloriously inglorious craft, or about books, or about something else, but let me ask you this – and let me tell you that if you are still here I really appreciate your kind attention – must this that you are reading now really be about something to keep you reading?
This isn’t about how the force of curiosity can compel us to read almost anything on any topic just to find out the whys and the hows and the whens. No, this isn’t about human curiosity. This is about nothing. Yes, about nothing. I don’t mean the word “nothing”, that vague word, that frequent word we use every day for a variety of purposes, nor the “nothing” that lovers sometimes say to each other as in Q: “What’s wrong?” R: “Nothing”, when in fact they mean quite the opposite, that something is wrong, nor the nothing one finds in a box, can, or jar once its contents have been used up or removed. I don’t even mean the “nothing” in “nothing in particular”. When I say this is about nothing I mean no linguistic subject, no social subject, not even a philosophical subject, no subject at all.
I can imagine you scratching your head now and wondering “What is he saying? Why is he wasting my time and my attention and causing me an eyestrain just to tell me nothing about nothing?” and then vowing to read a few words more and then if there isn’t a kind of revelation or a flash of insight that will make you feel as if the clouds have parted and a beam of divine light has broken through the roof of your house (or entered through the window or the chimney) and drenched you in ecstatic light, you will stop reading this meaningless piece of writing.
If such are your thoughts, I have this to say to you: nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing. Because this is about nothing. Great writers have written about great subjects: love, death, freedom, war, self-development, mystery, history, science and you have read them, but now, straying reader, you have ventured far on your own and come upon a post about nothing. Can you feel the nothing enveloping you? And with it, disappointment rising in you? Or perhaps a sense of wasted time? Or is it anger or frustration that your curiosity has led you here, deep into nothing?
Do not be alarmed. Nothing is important, because nothing is nothing. If this that you have read until now wasn’t about nothing, tell me, would you now feel the urge to leave this page and go in search of… something? Nothing and its implications perhaps make you uneasy. After all, don’t we always search for the opposite of nothing? For that precious something, whatever form it takes? But don’t we need nothing, at least from time to time, to understand and appreciate all those antonyms of nothing?
Alas, can it be? Oh, no! I have tried to trick you, dear reader, but methinks I have become the victim of my own trap! Because… isn’t talking about nothing something in itself?
Nothing left for me to say then other than…
Congratulations, dear reader, you have just read a post about nothing!
I bet you’ve never done that before.
How do you feel now, after reading what you have just read? Whisper it or shout it or cry it out loud in the comments. Scold me for wasting your time, demolish what I have said with your logic, or say it was not all in vain, but please oh please, dear reader, do not sulk away in silence…