Re: Quoting Nietzsche is a perilous business

From: Amara Graps (
Date: Sun Jan 06 2002 - 22:53:59 MST

>Hmm Like I wrote of in my previous post regarding this, your abyss must be
>located in a better neighborhood, then my abyss. My abyss intones, whenb
>you're dead you're dead; and when you are it'lll feel like eternal

Oh no, yours sounds perfectly normal.

The deep abyss is never nice when one first meets it. It's
terrifying. Most people's biggest fear when they encounter the abyss
is that they will fall forever in that place. Writers talk about it.
It's in every religion. This void is a terrifying place because it's
a complete blank. A nothingness. The only thing in there is you. Can
you live with that? What is 'you' ?

Imagine the fear one has when bungie jumping. Now remove the cord
and remove the Earth below, so you're in an eternal freefall. No
possiblity of a foot-hold or a person to 'fix' it. That's
bungie-jumping-fear multiplied a million times. Or, imagine being
somewhere where you don't have your culture, your language, your
family, your friends. Again, you are faced with a complete
nothingness and then 'you'. Terrifying.

Most people, when they face a terror this large, go distract
themselves (running away from themselves) or find support, i.e. turn
on the television, play with the dog or the kid, call up one's
parents, play on the internet, pray, etc. They don't usually stay in
the abyss, because it's too frightening. This void is the loss of
all of your suppports, visible and invisible. So what do you do?

Well one can choose consciously to depend on one's visible and
invisible supports and distractions, (although more people respond
unconsciously to have that dependence). Or one can choose to deal
with it, which means discovering what 'you' are. But in order to
first discover the 'essence' (for lack of a better word) of who one
is, one must first decide to live, that is, take responsibility for
one's life. From that point on, then you're building something. Your
awareness brings particular items into your world, you choose to
keep it or discard it, and, along the way, you discover 'you'.

Given the topics that are discussed on this list, I don't see how a
person can shape the universe, including their own external physical
selves, unless they grasp their internal world: that is they know
'who' they are, without all of those supports and distractions. Can
you imagine being a 'brain in a vat' and not having a sense of who
you are? What is the driving force (without the supports and/or
distractions) that makes you jump out of bed every morning ? That's
what facing the abyss is about.


Amara Graps, PhD email:
Computational Physics vita:
Multiplex Answers URL:
     "Trust in the Universe, but tie up your camels first."
               (adaptation of a Sufi proverb)

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