The great German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote that it is prudent to be cautious when engaging the deepest mysteries because “if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you”. When you do find (just such) a loose thread in the fabric of the world as an inexplicable enigma, an intuition and a sense of foreboding or excitement percolates into awareness. We find ourselves fascinated in this way by what we might still and yet fear but just as moths drawn to a naked flame, it becomes an itch and hazard that we can only ever scratch but never heal.
It is precisely this way that anyone begins to feel when, having once and wholly engaged their mind in the shapeless mystery of eternity or the unintelligible negation of infinite compression at a black hole’s heart, they encounter written within the book of this world precisely those facts that completely and utterly invalidate everything they believe to be true, that unwrite the facts with, by and through which the world itself endures. It does not take an advanced degree in astrophysics or fifteen years in a Tibetan monastery to directly (or indirectly) experience these mysteries – they are every-where and every-when, ubiquitous, discontinuous, quite literally awesome.
A greater mystery is that even while we all suspect (and deep down – believe or know) that there is more going in in this life than we can see or concretely and comprehensively identify, that there exist unidentifiable mysteries that sit just out of reach, haunting the peripheries of vision and mind or reality like quicksilvered spectres in the night – we deny it. The world we share is only ever rational and real in as far as we deny the mystery but in truth the cosmological mystery encapsulates it. If we accept the impossible, the possible vanishes but the possible can only ever exist within the bounds of impossibility. A paradoxical beauty, indeed.
Pictured above: the moment Jim Carey as Truman Burbank in the Peter Weir movie “The Truman Show” begins to question the nature and ultimate truth of the reality with which he is presented.