Meontological Musings: Finding Satisfaction in Nothing

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Meontological Musings: Finding Satisfaction in Nothing

Postby Hesperus » Sat Feb 13, 2016 10:31 pm

(c) Hesperus, 2016

I grew up in a relatively pious Christian household, most of the members of which were quite complacent in the level of certainty about the nature and purpose of things afforded them by their faith. Then there was me. Just a few years after my introduction into the family, I asked my mother a fairly standard series of questions about where things came from, ultimately culminating in my asking where God came from since so many of her answers merely gave credit to this singular creator of everything else that had piqued my curiosity. She thought it over and, in the end, suggested that I ask God myself when I got the chance. I spent a few of my formative years doing just that in the form of my parents' style of prayer and, less than fully satisfied, eventually turned to other avenues of investigation. Over time and through the course of a fair amount of study in an array of fields, the language of my question evolved but the essence remained the same: What came before the beginning? What is the foundation upon which reality itself is built?

Whether this question is couched in the vocabulary of religion, physics, or any other philosophy, it is a common one among children and those dreamers who somehow eluded the loss of curiosity that is so often misinterpreted as maturity. I did finally discover, however, that one title for precisely this branch of inquiry is meontology. While the academic paper in which I first found the word was fairly dense, the concept of meontology is elegantly simple: it is the study of not-being. For someone searching for what could possibly have precipitated being and the rules that govern it—the study of which is ontology—meontology seemed a natural starting place.

Around the time that I started looking beyond the boundaries of my parents’ religion for answers I also began to develop migraines, a feeling like hunger that I couldn’t satisfy with any amount of food, vivid violent dreams, and an overwhelming sense of not belonging. None of that was particularly out of the ordinary for a teenager, of course, but then people I hardly knew started confiding in me their private thoughts, memories, and feelings, often stating aloud afterward that they weren’t sure why they had shared any of it with me. I would have written it off as just having “one of those faces” except that I felt better after these impromptu therapy sessions despite sharing nothing of myself during them. I felt impelled to look deeper into the only effective form of relief I had found.

Exploring the intimate patterns of thought and emotion unique to each person played an integral role in the personal experiences that would eventually lead me to identify as a psi-vampire due to what I perceive as a need to connect with others on an emotional level and have the flow of that exchange directed mostly at myself. One happy consequence of gorging myself on these interactions was discovering diverse ways of seeing and belonging to the world that extended far beyond my adolescent comparative religion studies. I learned to navigate these mental landscapes quickly since the better I understood how someone else saw the world, the more easily I could connect with them and the more nourished I felt after an exchange. Maybe it was gluttony that drove me, maybe it was the same childhood curiosity that eventually drove me to frustrated apostasy, but I wanted to find some common framework that would allow me to potentially connect with everyone; I wanted to know how one world could give rise to and simultaneously hold all of these perspectives and I wanted to learn that trick myself so I could do the same.

That’s where meontology comes back in. When I first came across the concept, I pictured a void like a big hole that went on forever, an infinite absence of matter or energy. What I learned from exploring so many others’ inner worlds, though, was that the rules by which people order and contextualize their perceptions are as various as those perceptions themselves. In other words, the governing rules of a system are not separate from the system itself. A true, absolute nothingness isn’t just a hole or an absence, as both still have defining boundaries; things fall into holes because holes are still subject to gravity and an absence implies that there exists at least the concept of a presence. Absolute not-beingness, then, wouldn’t merely be a big blank slate upon which the Big Bang would paint the universe, it would be the lack of everything including governing laws.

Imagining such a void that is not only an infinite lack of things but also an infinite lack of boundaries or limitations--something I affectionately refer to as the metavoid--is something I’m still working on wrapping my mind around and it’s not a feat I expect to fully master, but some traits of such a state follow logically. The metavoid, while having no things to occupy it and no medium such as space or time to host such occupants, would also have no law of conservation preventing things from randomly springing into being. In fact, no limiting notion as to what or how much could suddenly manifest could rightly apply. Such a meontological state would, then, necessarily give rise to an infinite array of things in an infinite array of arrangements. The metavoid, should it be imagined to exist, would immediately bring into being everything, every conceivable set of natural laws dictating patterns of interaction and infinitely more than I could ever hope to dream up, simultaneously.

This idea is far from scientific since it’s unfalsifiable, but I find it personally useful. Having struggled much of my life with feeling like a void myself, needing to be filled with what seems to come naturally to most others, imagining that a void could be the source of infinitely diverse experiences is empowering and helps me hold on to a consistent sense of self while I empathize with vastly different perspectives. Personal growth and exploration is an ongoing process for me as each genuine connection with another person reinforces a parallel connection within myself. I find this particularly true in my interactions with other members of the general vampire community, as so many I've spoken with are fellow adventurers, constantly seeking out new worlds in others' ideas and perspectives. There was a time in my childhood when I would have given anything to be like the other kids; now I'm grateful for my outside perspective as it grants me so many wondrous views and I'm in far better company than I ever could have hoped for in the loneliness of my youth. While this view of a self-manifesting infinite source may not be quite what my mother thought of as God when I asked her all those years ago, I find myself satisfied with it if for no other reason than that it allows my boundless curiosity a potentially infinite range for future exploration.
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