for far too long the world has believed that the state of zero was undesirable. a state that needed to be exited. if it was zero it was the opposite of having, of being. zero was assigned negative meanings, whatever negative itself means. it was a gordon gekko world. and we see where that has taken us.
but what if zero was the state to be in?
these are seemingly static states that allow for small incremental adaptations and evolutions, similar to what has been happening across the world’s ecosystems.
think of it almost like a net-zero state, counter-balancing the positive with the negatives. where all our actions feed into a cycle of continuity.
it allows for time to be more expansive with respect to change.
it allows for the indigenous expressions of taking just enough to get by, leaving enough for tomorrow and the day after.
it allows for the ecclesiastical verse “all go to one place. all are from the dust, and to dust all return.”
in the buddhist texts the concept of sūnyatā is described as a void, the non-existence of an absolute.
if everything was caused by a prior phenomenon, then there is no absolute, nothing that existed independent of causes.
this lack of absolutes is the concept of budhist emptiness. the emptiness or sūnyatā is a state of realising the underlying causality of every phenomena, or what the buddhists call ‘co-dependent arising‘. and so the room for absolutes is empty, sūnyatā.
and where did the word sūnyatā itself come from? an ancient sanskrit word derived from sunya or null. the ancient indians were the first to use sunya, symbolised by a little dot, within a numeric system.
so much nothingness that it becomes something. in indian post-colonial english, there is sometimes a reference to a failure as someone who is “one big zero”. other times there is a hesitation to admit to having “zero impact”.
all of these are nothing but cultural meanings assigned to words. in some cases, a much-maligned victim often gets tarred with feathers, then placed on a donkey, backwards, stoned, made to run the gauntley, out of the village. so it was with zero.
we need to reclaim the zero for the biggest zero we know…the planet and the circle of life that is sheltered on this green planet. or was it blue?
all pictures are from unsplash and credits are in the alternative text