Categories
Philosophy

The Abyss

Image by Peechaya Burroughs.

Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote, quite famously, that “if you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you” and it was meant as a warning, a caution following a statement that those who fight with monsters can themselves become monsters and this is in many ways a representation, among other things, of the manifest fear of the unknown that our unconscious minds must always represent – they can be known indirectly, only appearing through symbols and stories or the shared mythologies and belief systems of culture. Consider this, though – the abyss that represents emptiness, non-being, extinction and loss is simultaneously the source of novelty, new life and creativity or joy. We should perhaps or at least not always be afraid of the darkness, we should acknowledge that it is as irreducible as is the entropy of physics or the incompleteness of logic.

The source of knowing is also the source of unknowing and the paradox here is that freedom is not only in knowing, it is in unknowing. That which is unconfined, unbounded and unknown is a primordial source. It is also, quite unexpectedly, the source of all love. Love is another word for freedom because sincere love is never a grasping for control or capture through knowledge, it is a surrender to unknowing, the void, the undefined and the undefinable.

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