Of course, that does not change the fact that she sits now in this room all by herself trying to find the answers to the essential questions of life, or death, her life anyway. As comforting as it may be to know that there are the like-minded who would understand; that she has friends she could talk to; and that she also would find support and care from the ones who love her, who would share any wooden bench with her if they believed or assumed she needed help, - Femina is glad to be alone, that nobody is sitting next to her to hold her hand.
Dying is a lonely business, a one person job only. And she would not even bear to see the ones she loves being overwhelmed by grief. Particularly Pia, she does not want to see her crying. And Dimitri? He would be sad too, but they have become estranged, and too much would have to be sorted out between them. She is not up to it, not in the moment anyway. Gordon? No! She does not want to drag him down into her dark world. She cannot even contemplate to confront the ones she loves with her suffering or discuss with them any of her thoughts. Too much pain for both sides! Emotions would run amok and everyone would end up in tears. It is enough to depart without too much drama. After all, to share the good times with the ones you love is far more important. She understands this now better than ever. There is enough time for the crying, in the so suitably called mourning time.
“It is simple, isn’t it, once you question the absolute?” Femina hears her voice coming from the screen. “Though you may end up in strive with yourself, being so caught in and shaped by tradition and society, and all the education in school. It is therefore inevitable to face uneasy confrontations. I for myself however lean to science not to traditional beliefs. But isn’t it noteworthy that even there you have dogmatists, and in fact, theory and hypothesis operate on the basis of believes; and philosophy has come far closer to modern physics than most scientists like to acknowledge. There is sure a risk of science being turned into a new religion……, if human nature has its way.”
Femina decides to follow the film more attentively. After all, it was already far more useful than she originally and hastily thought it would be. Besides, she does not really remember all of the discussions she had with Phil, including the one on the day they met, only that it was a long and interesting one and that many others followed. But she sure remembers him fondly. From the beginning she found his intellectual mind as attractive, and as irresistible as the light is for the moth.
“But how do you explain, how can something come from nothing?” She hears her voice asking.
“Well”, says Phil, “it may be best, I take an example from cosmological science to demonstrate the concept. Though I am not a cosmologist, I know enough, and I think to use analogies to illustrate in simple terms what may otherwise be too complicated is the best for the purpose of our discussion. You probably have heard about the “Black Hole?” She nods. “Well,” he continues, “it was named to describe a phenomenon in the universe, which, as the name says, is black and looks like a hole, a black space between illuminated bodies. There is no light and it seems empty, but in reality, it gobbles up light and light cannot escape from it and it is certainly not empty either, containing matter that is so compacted and so full of energy, no illuminated stellar body is a comparison. So, Black Holes are part of the universe but it took a long time, to identify such a black hole and make it ‘visible’ at least in the eye of science. Now I take this example to an extreme measure that is the “Point” of unimaginable smallness, from which, started by the “Big Bang” the creation of our universe began to unfold. This point is indeed so small that one can practically declare it to be ‘nothing’. But it contained all and everything to bring about the universe and life as we know it. For the reason of simplicity, and we will sure come back to it later on, I name this ‘point of nothingness’, “Potency”. I’d like to think the comparison with the Black Hole demonstrates what I mean, being a useful simile because its existence is established and though still mysterious it is of a bigger scale than the “Point” and better understood. It also has and is potency but, of course in the true meaning of the word this truly is most applicable to the ‘point of creation’, considering the scale of creation we are talking about! Besides! When there is ‘being’, there has to be the ‘not being’, just like we have the visible stars and the black holes. There must always be a comparison for reason of definition, visually and intellectually. Without this comparison one would not understand what is, nor the meaning of it. Literally, nobody would know, what night is or means, if there was no day, isn’t it? Therefore everything has its comparative or opposing counterpart. Even the elementary particles in our universe have their antiparticle. There is also the hypothesis of “Dark Matter”, unproven yet, but that is only a question of time, just like the black hole was a hypothesis before it was proven. Obviously, we always deal with two aspects, even if we only talk about one, just like the saying goes: ‘Where there is light is shadow’. It means that we have essentially and fundamentally a dualistic world, evident in the creation of the universe and life itself, with Adam and Eve, symbolically speaking, the ultimate expression; they demonstrate it as the two gender human. It follows: On the one hand, we have the “Being”, on the other the “Not Being”, but they are the two sides of one thing. You can see it as two branched tree, or a two phased unit. The question of ‘be or not to be’, is a theoretical one, in reality both co-exist. There is ‘Existence and Nothing’, or “Being and Nothingness”.
“But what you are saying is confusing, because you state that Nothing is not nothing but something, that means there is no Nothing after all. I cannot accept that! Nothing i s nothing!!!! She is unconvinced.
Phil smiles forgivingly: “Not so simple after all to question the ‘Absolute’, isn’t it?!” Amused, he bats his eyelids, but continues: “I pointed out before that I prefer to call the Nothing a ‘Potency’, because it cannot be compared to anything that we understand “Being” is. Though it is something, no known rules of our physical world apply to it. No rules, measures, no laws of physics, mechanical or otherwise can be used to describe, explain or reason with it. It has in itself no known limitation or comparison. The potency as we know it from our material world has limitations, because it has matter and is measurable. The potency in or of the black hole, and even more so, the point of creation is unmeasurable, having no mass or measure nor limitation we could apply to. Consequently you can state, ‘Being’ has measure, ‘Nothing’ has not, but it still is. We know when a star implodes it turns into a black hole, and we know at the ‘point of practically nothing’ the ‘Big Bang’ marks the “Birth of the Universe”. Our universe will end some when as well, it may implode like a star or dissipate. The scientist are not sure what will happen, but it will return to ‘not being’. You can say, it will return to the nothing it came from. Literally speaking, the Nothing as Potency is pregnant with a new “Being” or is filled with the Old that has passed away. I T is a cycle, a ‘perpetuum mobile’, a coming and going, birth and death, a growing and dying, with all the unique manifestations, continuous modifications and altered repetitions. The “Being” is in its finiteness the upholder of the “Nothing” and the “Nothing” is in its infinite potency the creator of the “Being”. Not God as such turns the wheel of creation, the divine lies in the principle itself. Therefore, everything, you, me, the universe, all being and all nothingness is part of this process and principle. Every stone, every cell is divine, is the expression of the divine, or if you like is God. Doesn’t the Bible state so fittingly that we are ‘Children of God’? Man comes from earth; according to the Bible he was created from loam. Well, indeed, life comes from matter and earth is a true breeding incubator of all life as we have it on planet earth. It obeys the principle’s aspect of the physical world, of the “Being.”
“But where is the beginning?” She asks, generally agreeing with him now. She needs to hear his opinion because she has doubts and uncertainties, and being not clear about in her own mind she is definitely interested in what he has to say. He already has helped her to redefine ‘nothing’, but what does he think about beginning and end?
His answer is no real surprise: “There is no beginning, there is no end. That is what specifies eternity. I T i s eternal! We are eternal. Only a change of state occurs.”
“Well, you are only redefining God,” she says somewhat disappointed.
He smiles. “I have no intention to devalue the God-principle; the only thing I may do is dis-empowering the stalwarts of tradition. In their eyes I am an atheist, which of course I am not.”
“Yes, I can agree with that,” she says satisfied. “And you are right, all reasoning points to it, isn’t it? I have but a problem with the ‘we are eternal’. I cannot see myself as eternal and I don’t think many people would. Neither can I see humans as godly, not the way they behave anyway - neither do other humans. It is most likely one of the reasons why man cannot consider or accept his own divinity. Besides, it implies grandiosity having no real might which one expects from God, the Almighty. Men can only dream about such power. It does not prevent him to pursue it though with utmost zeal, while always knowing that he has as little mightiness as the ant he tramples on his Sunday walk. Seeing God as something external to himself, he imitates Him and he searches for Him everywhere, just never where he should. It is however only a dimension of his mind that he does not have, not yet at least, and it is not necessarily his fault. He is as everything else a work in progress. There needs to be a further evolution of the mind. One can only hope that he does not eradicate himself before that. After all, intelligence is only one aspect of the mind. Unfortunately, it is a grenade in a fool’s hand. And unfortunately, this missing dimension is to blame that humans hang on to religion, which is the fertile ground for growing and yielding power, for propagating submission. It breeds the bigot, the executioner and the subjugated; it makes people either dependent, grand or desperate.”
Phil listened attentively without even attempting to interrupt. She does not give him an opportunity either, continuing with another question: “Well then, do you believe in reincarnation?”
Instead of answering he asks back: “Do you?”
“Yes and no,” she says. “It depends what you mean by that. I personally believe in rebirth, going into nothing when I die, and returning into existence in whatever shape or form that may be. I don’t believe that I return as me specifically. Of course I cannot exclude it, but it seems to me rather farfetched, like finding the needle in a haystack, considering that too many elements would have to be reconstituted to rebuild me. Besides, it would be without my awareness anyway, so why bother about! But I can’t deny, in a way I could see it as something exciting in view of what phantastic opportunities it may offer, but then again, what a horrible thought as I might be far worse off than I can even imagine. This thoughts are really mind games, aren’t they? Therefore, reincarnation means for me only participation in the ongoing process of life and death without particular conditions to form or structure. However,” she trails off into fanciful thoughts, “I could imagine thousand things and more of what I would or would not like to be. I could become a witch-hunter, or a stone, a Mozart, or a cloud. Naturally, this eternity of coming and going is angst provoking for me too, but then again, it is just another life and will come to an end, be it good or not, it does not last.”
She suddenly stops, only to return to an early point of conversation. “Now, we talked about chance, what role it plays in the occurrence of illness. I think it goes further than that. It has a significant role in our existence altogether considering the chaos that followed the initial stages after the ‘Big Bang’, the very beginning of our universe. All along there are the odds of possibilities that were to unfold, the chance formations, the constellations, combinations, the selective and the adaptive. Despite being bound in or by the fundamental principle manifesting itself in matter through and in the laws of physics, - chance and incident are part of it, bringing about the most impressive results. If not being the reason for the diversity, it is at least essential for the process of creativity. Creation itself is most mind-boggling, in fact, words fail to do it justice. But this is not because a lone artist is at work. It is the process that is truly divine, meaning, not everything is incidence or chance, but chance plays a big role. For instance, I see myself to some degree as a product of chance. There were thousands of sperms hurrying to the egg; my father impregnated my mother, not another woman. Incidentally I was born into this particular union. Another race, another culture, other life circumstances, - I may have never eventuated. Even as far as my genetics are concerned, it is incident that I have dark and not red hair, that I look the way I do, that I am as intelligent as I am. I definitely prefer to think that the imbecile was an accident of nature too, a chance occurrence, rather than the doing of someone cruel.”
So far Phil had only listened, sometimes amused but without a comment. Now he asks her: “What is then not chance? I agree with what you said, not everything is chance what seems to be. But what is what?”
“Well,” she says, “I would not call it chance when a soldier is killed by the enemy’s gun. He is after all not accidentally on the battlefield. But why he dies and not the other next to him, that is bad luck. Or, there is a new island in the middle of the ocean. By chance, the current brings seeds and with the fitting conditions, the island will have grass and palms and even creatures inhabiting it. Chance yes, but as conditional as the soldier dying in the war.”
“I agree. You hit the nail right on its head. So we have a base on which chance is operating, but the base is the predetermining and that is not incidental or just chance. Obviously there is a scheme, a pattern, or a directive that governs. How do you explain that?”
She shrugs her shoulders and her voice is uncertain: “I do not know…..I really don’t know. I can only draw conclusions from what my rational mind knows and allows.”
He nods. “That is a significant point! A native living on an isolated island would certainly have a very different interpretation of his existence than you and me. But let us continue on the level of knowledge that is ours. My conclusion is that we have a “Complex System in Action”, as I pointed out already before when we talked about the ‘Being and Nothing’. It is the matrix, the fundamental principle that is self-contained and renewed by its own actions. Expressing it in the simplest way possible, - it is like the car battery that uploads continuously with the running car. Chaos will always seek order and order will always disintegrate into chaos. It is movement, from the beginning, associated with life at the most specialized end and motionless, perceived as a standstill, associated on the other end with death. Neither is viable without the other; the principle of I T i s means “Being and Nothing” is! Time belongs to the “Being”, it has no meaning overall. This sure compares to the notion that ‘God is’, no past, no future. He is ‘All’ and is ‘ever present’, but not as a separate entity. The question what comes first, the chicken or the egg is as pointless as, one depends on the other, both are, but living in the world of matter and time, both will die.”
She laughs. “Isn’t it amazing how congruent the Bible is with your philosophical interpretation based on science? Concepts such as eternity, ever presence, immortality and infinity, they are as universal as they are antiquated. It looks as if the Bible was written by an intelligence that was far ahead of its time, demanding adjustment to the prevalent mental capacity of the human race. The same applies of course to the interpretations since, reflecting the intellectual level of its clerical guardians. It is well overdue to have a new approach. But that is more or less true for all passed on traditional believes. I have no doubt, - a new consensus has to be formulated. It is inevitable anyway, but….. I am just worried…….very worried indeed!”
Silence ensues. They both seem to hang on to their own thoughts.
Femina welcomes the break too. She needs to bring peace to her own thoughts to make them useful rather than confused. Though the discussion has little to do with the emotional state she is in, one feeling is overwhelmingly present; she is grateful. She is grateful for this room, grateful for this film, coming from the archives of her collective memory, and she is grateful for the time that she has been given. It allows her to think and to clarify the essential questions in order to make up her mind about her life, whether to live or to die.