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A Column About Nothing
[ Issue 120 Page 10 ] Sunday, March 31, 2013, 18:13:50 Yoo Hee Kang yoohee1222@kaist.ac.kr

This column is among the mix of many other options of articles to read, and even after getting a chance to be read, it will soon be forgotten. Even those who read this article will soon be gone, so no matter what, nothing seems to be able to escape the gruesome black hole of nothingness. Though I’m not a fan of pessimism, life itself does come down to nothing in the end; it is the bare truth. So one might find it consoling to turn this around, at least in one’s mind, and think about nothing from the start; the unstructured and inscrutable nothing itself.

Nothingness is stifling hollowness that feels closer to us than the tangible things that occupy the space we live in. It has no shape, and because it has no shape, it takes over us when we are defenseless, and makes us feel helpless and regretful of the very fact that we are human. In times of such inexplicable despair, it helps to associate the strange nothingness that overwhelms us with things that we are more familiar with. This can help us come to a better understanding of nothingness, like filling in puzzles one at a time to see the whole picture.
To start off, love is a piece of nothingness. No matter how much love we have for our loved ones, we will never be able to reach them fully; No matter how much we desire to be one, we will never be completely one. It is disheartening to admit that love cannot keep our loved ones safe and happy in fatal circumstances; love is vulnerable and powerless; it is nothing. Bursting into tears full of emotion cannot lessen the burden of another person, and a heartfelt kiss does not do any good when the person is in too much physical pain. There is no way we can share what the person next to us is feeling.

Nothing is the way the other person feels, so empathy is nothing. Breathing is nothing. After taking in so many arduous breaths in the hope of survival, silence follows. Silence is nothing. Life is nothing. It is bitter to accept, but on a more hopeful note, nothing is so many things. It is as though life sprouts from vacant emptiness; nothing is love, empathy, breaths, comforting silence, and much more to name. Though miserable and fragile at times, love makes our lives more beautiful and, in doing so, the world. We still dream that we would feel our neighbor’s soul someday, and hope to share the pain our loved ones are going through. Though we know we will never be able to fully understand others, we still long to understand. These things that we struggle with, yet hope for, we call them life.

When nothingness fills up your universe and painful memories color you black, it helps to grope around in the dark to look for some exit, even if there isn’t one. Life is a journey of enduring and embracing the dreary and dazzling nothings and making them into something more bearable. We all trudge on, learning to enjoy the smallest things in life. Even when life gets unbearably hard and the troubles we go through don’t seem to be worth it, we keep living if only to find the small joys and meanings in life.

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