Something from Nothing

The Buddha solved the greatest problem in ontology: the problem of ontogeny. How does creation work? How can something come from nothing? How are being-and-becoming, form and objects born out of emptiness?

The answer involves desire and the process of Dependent Origination, but the Buddha’s crucial insight was that creation is only possible standing on nothing. As soon as you stand on anything—accept something that has being as context—you are limited in what you can create by your embodiment and the constraints of the context.

Something as vast, complex and apparently eternal as the universe could only be created by a being who is at home beyond being-and-becoming: in nothingness, or even in neither-perception-nor-non-perception, the highest formless states of concentration (jhāna).

Only such a high state of consciousness offers enough leverage to have full freedom of creation. Pulling apart emptiness, creating the polarities of being/nonbeing, something/nothing, stuff/spacetime, future/past, yang/yin, space/time is not an easy task. Spacetime itself is an illusion; one of the many language-based consensus ‘realities’ we use to deceive ourselves.

Just because we can name something, and create a model of it that seems to behave in the same way, does not mean we really understand it. Space is the quality of dimension, and we define dimension by movement and time. But then, time is defined in terms of movement and space, so concepts like ‘space’, ’time’ and ‘existence’ are actually circularly-defined assumptions. The ‘future’ is simply the process of becoming (bhava) and the ‘past’ is the process of non-becoming (vibhava).

So the universe is a fabrication, an illusory thing. But what a grand illusion! What kind of a being could create that?

Every being has the potential. We are all ‘magnificent idiots’ acting far below our true ability. We are the offspring of a cosmic experiment, an illusory simulation of reality. Now we are trapped, at the effect of an illusion that we have the power to banish. We can rise to our actual nature and become godlike, divine. We know the path, we just have to do the work.


Published by

Dev Jacobsen

Musician, author and yogi, developer of Palingenics.

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