From nothing. To nothing.

In my last post I touched on the idea of the ex nihilo nature of all things, including us as human beings. As a way to elaborate on this idea further, I used the description:

…out of nothing we came, and to nothing we shall return.

It was brought to my attention this this line may need some further thought and discussion to get at the concept that I was trying to convey.

And so, that is what I will attempt to do.


Where was your consciousness before you were conceived?

Where will your consciousness be after you die?

From a purely physical standpoint, all of the necessary energy and atoms needed for your brain to exist and neuronal pathways to operate have existed since the Big Bang. After you die, all of that which composes your physical “mind” will decompose and return to a state of unorganized matter. But this idea seems insufficient to describe the complexity and nuances of a mind, of a consciousness.

What I mean by the phrase “out of nothing we came” can be thought of as: from no “thing” did we come, where “thing” refers to our common understanding of physicality. By saying “to nothing we shall return” I mean to say that no “thing” we currently can conceive of physically is sufficient to describe where our consciousness will go or be, absolutely.

I know that the function of your brain can be described quite well with physics, math, chemistry, and what have you. However, I am speaking on a more metaphysical level here.

If you lose your arm, are you still you?

If a part of your brain is removed during a surgery, are you still you?

How much of your physical body can be removed for you to sufficiently not be you?

If a brain injury changes your personality, are you still you?

These questions seem, to me at least, to have a much less scientific and material answer as a metaphysical one. That is what I am driving at here.

In his book Falling Upward, Richard Rohr quotes Carl Jung as saying:

“Life is a luminous pause between two great mysteries, which themselves are one.”

With my words I am not trying to make an eschatological statement about the ultimate fate of humanity, but I am trying to present an awareness of the mystery at the core of our existence. A mystery often called the soul.

Richard Rohr goes on to say:

Agreeing with Jung, I believe that the One Great Mystery is revealed at the beginning and forever beckons us forward toward its full realization. Most of us cannot let go of this implanted promise. Some would call this homing device their soul, and some would call it the indwelling Holy Spirit, and some might just call it nostalgia or dreamtime. All I know is that it will not be ignored. It calls us both backward and forward, to our foundation and our future, at the same time.

From mystery.

To mystery.

From nothing.

To nothing.

No meaning.

Profound meaning.

Nothing to do with God.

Everything to do with God.


Paradox is at the core of it all and, when accepted, is the most liberating awareness one can have.


Grace and Mercy ⇒ Peace and Love



One thought on “From nothing. To nothing.

  1. Jason, thank you for clarifying your thoughts on nothingness. I find the language around soul, consciousness, awareness quite confusing. I tend to think about consciousness as to do with the higher functions of the brain, soul to do with the amazing human limbic system that provides all our emotional tools for the deeper experiences of being human. I use the word spirit to refer to the essence of each human that has the capacity to be an eternal heir to the complex richnesses of Loving Creator. Many Australians suffer from poor self-esteem (probably due to our convict past and our refugee-rich heritage) so focussing on human nothingness in Australia is detrimental. You may be interested in reading two of our earlier writings: a poem called ‘in the beginning’ and a piece called ‘The Quantum Brain’ (on the menu at the top of our blog). L’chayim.

    Liked by 1 person

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