Friday, August 13, 2021

Questions for the People

Why is there something and not
Nothing is one popular

Question. A better question,
Maybe—Why, since there’s something,

Always something, do we think,
Can we think, about nothing?

Our intuition deals in
Presences and absences,

And both presence and absence
Feel real. But they’re specific—

Something is present, something
Is absent, at least within

Our field of experience.
We’re born wired to understand,

At least to predict, expect,
Object permanence. Babies

Are surprised when something blocked
From view is gone once the view

Is restored. Where did it go?
As adults, we abstract this

As the shared understanding
Things must exist we don’t know.

We understand air’s not empty,
Nor the dark between the stars.

If anything, we’ve struggled
To come to terms with nothing.

Ciphering zero came late
And null sets even later.

Now we can’t math without them,
Though, which raises the question,

What does all this empty talk
About something to nothing

Have to do with suffering?
You may ask, reasonably,

If selfishly, for yourself,
More reasonably and less

Selfishly for those you love,
For your own kind, your people,

Is there nothing we can do?
Well, no. There’s never nothing,

Given there’s always something,
But then there’s that thing about

Presence vs. absence not
Being something or nothing.

You can push your suffering,
Your people’s suffering off,

But its absence doesn’t mean
It’s nonexistent. It’s just

Out of your view. It’s someone
Else suffering for you now,

Unless, unless it could be
There’s a hole in the cosmos,

A way, let’s call it nothing,
For suffering to drain through.

How could you know if there is?
Could you not guess? How could you?

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