This is a brief introduction to a long topic. I will start with a quote. Maybe we should create a quote page?
This comes from D.T. Suzuki (one of the men credited with bringing Zen to the West):
“So with the ‘no-mind,’ it means the unattainability of mind or kokoro, or its nothingness or emptiness (sunyata). And it is all because of this emptiness that one gains the sense of absolute freedom in spite of every restriction and compulsion growing out of one’s sense-experience of individuation. The nothingness of all things means a zero, and their multitudinousness an infinity; and because of this apparent contradiction, the equation become possible, 0 = ∞ and ∞ = 0.”
I believe this both a practical and philosophical implications. It says a lot about how we define ourselves on a day to day basis. For instance if we really are just blobs of carbon rotating around a random fiery ball of gas, then to the universe we are meaningless (0 value). However, it is this same exact “zeroness” that gives us infinite freedom to do what we want with our lives. The notion of everything is nothing and nothing is everything can seem scary at times, but really can help you maximize your potential on earth.
Nailed it perfectly! Your conclusions constitute the moral, logical, and invigorating argument for existentialism…it’s interesting that it derives from a religious source as well – long before so-called existentialism and nihilism existed.
Maybe existentialism is closer to previous religions, and primarily a rejection of the Western Church – itself an offshoot within Occidental culture’s function as imperial, conquering, absorbing – through the arts, academic hierarchy, concepts of ownership, colonialism, government, and with a single organized theology (Christianity).
This helps to explain the disconnect between Jesus’ words (anti-doctrine, pro-peace, disdaining violence and social class, exalting acceptance and cooperation), coupled with the notion of an all-powerful God, and the contrary rise of of a sprawling, controlling, top-down institution only nominally devoted to the same.
It’s funny – the relation of a being (and its peers) to the universe is analogous to an anarchist society; the total of an individual’s power is 0, compared to the potential of the whole, yet due (thanks?) to egalitarian ethics each individual’s own potential is in actuality infinite.
Gives me a title for a punk song: “Jesus Was An Anarchist.”