Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Sunday when I was nine, my father laying on the bed watching 'This Old House', and the press of the impending parental switch in my mind: I walked into the room and declared "I am so bored" and laid down alongside my father and cried. He held me and this is all I remember.

I remember this feeling of emptiness, beyond nothing "to do" into feeling nothing inside of me: no direction or will, no 'spring' of life bubbling up from the platform of ourselves. I began to tell this story for the first time about three years ago to a therapist, randomly trying to get to the bottom of my relationship with my father.

The feeling could easily be confused with depression but I don't think a nine year old can be depressed, at least not in the way that I understand depression. But whatever this feeling was, it has stayed with with me. Psychologically (I think), what is at stake is not the feeling of emptiness but the fact of my perception regarding it. Inherently there is nothing wrong with nothing, right? I mean, how could "something" be wrong with "nothing"? Beyond semantics, nothingness seems to me the baseline for the universe and by universe I mean everything; that is, we return to it always hence the term "eternally generative void" (Wen Fu). That always, something emerges from nothing; our being being born and the silence at the end of a sentence, just beneath the surface of everything we do.

Psychologically, what is at steak for the science of, is the concern or direction and quality of my attention vs. this observation. In other words, why does this bother me? Why do I remember? What is the stress or what am I really talking about? George Oppen:

The self is no mystery, the mystery is
That there is something for us to stand on.

(from "World, World--" as found in the book This In Which)