Throughout this site there are numerous references to a concept (or more accurately non-concept) called The Absentia. What is The Absentia? The essay entitled Verse 82 gives us a hint. But there may be some who want further clarification as to the design and nature of this very strange idea (or to be more accurate, non-idea). Fundamentally, The Absentia is a theoretical "Godforce" (for lack of a better term) that "births" and subsequently influences the theoretical Universe that is created and discussed everywhere else in this study. Here is a verse that can be used to begin an understanding of exactly what The Absentia is... or isn't!:
Behold The Absentia!
Behold its divine mystery!
Know that you are here because it is not.
You do not dwell within it.
It does not dwell within you.
Your finite forms cannot contain it.
Your infinite grasp cannot reach it.
In a locationless location it is neither.
When sought it is either.
When found it is both.
As such, the more you look, the less you see.
And the less you look, the more you see.
So approach it with stillness.
And speak of it with silence.
By this alone, it is within and without you.
Through it you are found.
Through you it is found.
Together all are bound.
Let's dissect this verse line by line:
Behold The Absentia! - The first thing we should acknowledge is that this verse is a hypocrisy of description. By that I mean, The Absentia is not of this universe. The Absentia is ineffable. The Absentia is unknowable. The Absentia is absent from any universe attempting to know it. Thus, any form of discussion of it, only makes it something it isn't, which is fundamentally hypocritical. But inasmuch as we are attempting to clothe an ineffable mystery to "see" where it is, we continue...
Behold its divine mystery! - This is just superfluous, bombastic rhetoric designed to mesmerize "the faithful" into believing they are about to hear something important. I just threw this in for fun. Normally, I prefer a direct, straightforward, non-reverent approach to the presentation of ideas. You can throw this line out if you prefer. But, with or without this line, The Absentia is divine. It is the Mother of ALL. It is the Father of ALL.
Know that you are here because it is not - The Absentia yields a Universe of sides. The Universe of sides reduces to paradox, and through the impossibilities of paradox, becomes something not compatible with a possible universe - i.e. it becomes transcendent. The Absentia puts the universe of opposites into motion and departs, like a string leaving a top. Thus, the POSSIBLE universe of everything and nothing is seen as the logical opposite to the IMPOSSIBLE realm of The Absentia, which we are promoting here as a Godforce. We live in the possible universe and can't know its impossible, incompatible opposite, except by "clothing" it in paradox.
You do not dwell within it - Correct, we dwell within the infinity of nothingness and the finite forms of everythingness that make up the Universe half of the Universe/Absentia duality. The Absentia is the ineffable "hand that rocks the cradle," as described in Verse 82. We are here BECAUSE it is not.
It does not dwell within you - Correct The Absentia is a point of transcendence that cannot be contained. Even as sides converge and produce paradox, paradox is only the visible vestige of the immanent transcendence of The Absentia. The Absentia does not "dwell" anywhere. But, paradoxically, even though The Absentia cannot be contained, it is at the core of everything.
The Absentia: Can't live with it... can't live without it.
Your finite forms cannot contain it - The Absentia lives one step beyond the finite. Do not bother building churches, mosques and temples, it will not dwell within them. All attempts to contain The Absentia lead to an infinitesimally small and infinitely indefinable center that remains as uncontained and undefined as its outer counterpart outside. In other words, the infinite inside and the infinite outside are the same. They both defy containment. The outside will transcend to the inside and the inside will transcend to the outside. All finite forms that reside between, like buildings, churches, mosques and temples, are inconsequential to this flow. The Absentia is always as much outside as it is inside. Not to be owned by anyone's attempt at containment.
Your infinite grasp cannot reach it - Thinking, and praying might change our destiny... or even the world by affecting the fabric, or web, of spacetime that unites us all. But The Absentia is not of this world, so thinking and praying in the normal sense will not reach The Absentia. The Absentia lives one step beyond infinity. To think or pray to The Absentia a language of paradox is the only hope we have of making a connection. So... hold on by letting go. Say it without speaking. Approach without moving. See more by not looking...
The Absentia is: A place without a place.
In a locationless location it is neither - The Absentia is neither here nor there. It is not something. It is not nothing. It is neither. It is a place without a place.
When sought it is either - The state or condition of The Absentia is unknowable, and... until found, could be either something or nothing. It could be particle. It could be a wave. It could be alive. It could be dead. We don't know until we look for it.
When found it is both - The Absentia is found in paradox, where things are impossibly both. Paradox is like paint poured over an invisible man to see where he is. If it becomes something we have not found it. If it becomes nothing we have not found it. If it is exclusively neither, indeterminably either or paradoxically both we have found it.
The more you look, the less you see - Like a quantum cloud of probability, looking makes The Absentia into something it is not. In fact, just bringing it up as a topic of conversation makes it something less than what it actually is - thus, the Absentia that can be spoken is not the true Absentia. You can't draw a picture of it. You can't sing a song about it.
The less you look, the more you see - To find The Absentia, look where there is no Universe. In other words, see more by not looking. A concept that might be of particular significance to those who believe that FAITH is all-important. Don't try to prove the things we are supposed to accept on faith. We need The Absentia to not be here in order for our universe to be here. If, by lack of faith, we force The Absentia to be something, we loose it. Don't look, and it's there.
So approach it with stillness - By not doing we are doing what we should be doing. By not looking for The Absentia, we insure that it is there. Be still and know that it is. But don't be fooled... stillness alone does not find it. Stillness is only half of what we need to do. So in doing nothing... expect nothing in return. Then do something about it. In other words... utilize paradox, and approach (do something) with stillness (do nothing).
And speak of it with silence - Utter what you know of it, by NOT uttering what you know of it. Thus it is that this essay is a violation of this maxim - and a complete hypocrisy of description. This idea might be important to those who believe that, as a "Godforce" "His" name should never be uttered. There may be some who think that the name of "God" should not be uttered out of respect and reverence. But when "God" is considered as paradox, we see how uttering "His" name in fact makes "Him" something "He" is not, something less than "He" actually is. Thus it is profane to speak of The Absentia, through mouth, or pen... or paint brush... or dance, or any other manifest instrument of humanity.
By The Absentia being something that just isn't,
The Universe becomes something that just is.
By this alone, it is within and without you - By not looking, not doing, not speaking, and not containing, we find it... within and without us. If we look, do, speak or contain... it changes into something it is not - like a mirage. So don't anthropomorphize The Absentia into some kind of "God" who sits on a throne in "Heaven" and walks beside us, or among us. The Absentia is not a "Him" or a "Her" or even an "It" for that matter. One word of absentia is too many, so refer to The Absentia as an "It" is a hypocrisy of description. Calling The Absentia "The Absentia" is a hypocrisy of description. For that reason it is suggested that we embrace paradox as the most representative form of this unspeakable form! Because... paradox is the irreducible crux of universal flux. The Absentia is a singularity... in two places. It is beyond the infinitely large and the infinitely small, with a universe of possibilities between. Thus, as a singularity in two places, Unity is dual! In this way, the paradox of The Absentia is The Ultimate Symmetry!
Through it you are found - The Absentia is absent... or in absentia... not here... nowhere. There is only you, here and now. We can only enter The Absentia by exiting... and only by exiting do we enter. Thus by entering The Absentia we immediately exit... and come upon ourselves, chasing our own tail. By coming to this realization and no longer chasing our tail, we are found. Thus, struggles of life cease, because we have nowhere to go but to be here now. The Absentia is a black hole at the center of a galaxy! Entering puts you at the end of the line of others entering and being put at the end of a line that is forever entering.
Through you it is found - By being in absentia, The Absentia is ‘no concept at all,’ ‘not possible,’ ‘unobtainable’ and by necessity absent from any universe attempting to know it. Thus it is a locationless concept... or no concept. But through the universe that is born from it, each manifest entity becomes a doorway to that transcendence, at its infinitesimal center. So even though there is really nothing there (it does not "dwell" within us), the potential for transcendence that is enclosed within every manifest entity effectively shows us were The Absentia is - it puts a temporary location on a locationless concept, or no concept. If the galaxy was not there, the black hole would not be seen.
There is also a kind of play with words at work here, because of how we immediately pass into and out of The Absentia when seeking it, and how the invisible lines of force that connect the inner and outer aspects of The Absentia resemble the lines of force that surround a magnet, and pass invisibly through the manifest substance that is the magnet itself. So... going through us it is found to be, or it is found to be passing through us. And, by passing through us, The Absentia finds itself. That is our divine function! People who think that we were put on this Earth "to serve the Lord" might choose to convert this idea into that.
Together all are bound - The Absentia yields a Universe of sides. Through paradox, the Universe of sides reduces back to The Absentia. The Absentia is the glue between opposite sides of The Universe. The Universe is the glue between opposite, inner and outer realms of The Absentia. So from The Absentia we get sides/opposites. By moving beyond sides/opposites we get The Absentia. It is an Ultimate Symmetry of: split Absentia = unified Universe, split Universe = unified Absentia... untwist the twisted part of a Mobius strip, and we twist what was the untwisted part. Thus, this relationship becomes a representation of the notion of Man creating "God" and/or "God" creating Man.
What it is
When it isn't
To understand the details of each explanation, read the book All Things Are Numbers, found elsewhere on this site.
The Mutually Assured Creation Mandala
Here is a mandala you can use to meditate on this idea of an Absentia that, through you, is found, and through which you are found. You are here because it is not, so to find The Absentia, look where there is no Universe. In this mandala, the triangular arrows running around the outside represent the same lines of force seen in the Wreath Mandala elsewhere on this site - lines of force that were just compared, in the text above, to the invisible lines of force surrounding a magnet. They illustrate the concept put forth in the book All Things Are Numbers of a singularity in two locations - outer and inner. The top and bottom symbols are The Absentia. The left and right symbols are The Universe. Both top and bottom rings have the highly stylized symbol of a Mobius strip to symbolize the paradox that is found within the realm of Absentia. The top absentia is the outer absentia that yields to the two sided universe of possibilities - symbolized with two mirrored Universe symbols.
The bottom absentia is the inner absentia where the two sided nature of a universe of opposites is reduced, through paradox, back to absentia. The two larger triangles in the middle show how the invisible lines of force pass through the manifestation of The Universe to endlessly replenish the outer absentia - like the lines of force that run through a magnet. By being identical in appearance, these two triangles accurately represent the idea of a singularity that is also binary. They are the same (singularity), but in two locations, or two forms (binary). Conversely, the two palm prints illustrate how the sides of a universe are not identical, but are split by the singularity of The Absentia.
The two keys hovering over the two large absentia triangles illustrate The Absentia as "two locked boxes, each containing the other's key" (see The Meaning of Life in the book All Things Are Numbers). These are the same keys found on the Hierophant card of many tarot decks... the number 5 being the custodian of the ineffable inner absentia.
Possible Impossibilities with Impossible Possibilities
Incompatible Interdependence or
Disagreeable Agreement or Agreeable Disagreement
The two hands drawing each other symbolize the interdependence of form that exists between Absentia and Universe, and the idea just expressed of Ultimate Symmetry and how a split Absentia = unified Universe, and split Universe = unified Absentia, and how that relationship can be seen as analogous to God drawing Man at the same time Man is drawing God. Is that God drawing Man in his own image, or is that Man drawing God in his own image? Can one really draw the other without the other drawing the other? It's a case of Mutually Assured Creation!! Unity is dual! Paradox is the irreducible crux of universal flux!!
The outer rings, that contain the triangular arrows, are in 18 segments - 9 along each mirrored path - to stand for the 9 numbers of numerology that describe The Universe that separates the two points of Absentia. The palm prints could represent the left/sinister/evil vs. right/virtuous/good of a mind that has acquired knowledge of The Tree of Good and Evil. The four operations of mathematics represent how the idea of a quaternary becomes a natural result of this one into two, two into one Ultimate Symmetry of a dual Absentia and dual Universe working together.
Is that God drawing Man in his own image, or is that Man drawing God in his own image? Can one really draw the other without the other drawing the other? It's a case of Mutually Assured Creation!! Unity is dual! Paradox is the irreducible crux of universal flux!!
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Paradoxes, from a Pair o' Boxes
In many traditional tarot decks, the card labeled The Pope, or Hierophant, has two keys featured in some way. Many interpret these as The Keys to The Kingdom of Heaven. To the All Things Are Numbers approach, this would make sense, as The Pope usually occupies position 5 - the card of infinite inbetween that holds The Absentia within. At the end of the book All Things Are Numbers the idea of The Absentia, and there being two Keys to understanding the meaning of life, were compared to a slightly modified version of a verse by the poet Piet Hein:
The Absentia is like two locked boxes, each containing the other's key!
With the meaning of life inside, never to be set free.
The concluding thoughts that followed from that statement bear repeating here, as we attempt to understand The Absentia. The Absentia - this study's word for a Godforce - is like two locked boxes, each containing the other's key. Some seek this Divinity by going outwards, some go inwards. But... ultimately, it doesn't matter which way we go, because... when or if we ever get there we just encounter a locked box (metaphorically speaking)... with a note saying that the key for this box is in the other box! And when we turn around and reach the other box, there is another note telling us that the key for that one is in the other box! That is our life; existence between two Absentias. Thus it is this very back and forth design that gives all forms of Paradox their characteristic pattern of incompatible interdependence. One person says they got there going outward. Another says they got there going inward. But to where did they get? If they got anywhere significant, then they would be telling the same story of a locked box and a note telling them that the key was in the other box!
But the real kicker to all this - which most people never even know exists - is that each box is completely unlocked and open... until we get there! The box that holds the key is open... only when we are not there... i.e. at the other box, reading the note about the box we are not at. When we get to the other box... it's closed... and the one we left behind is now open! Again, the biggest problem being... that most of us don't even know this is going on. And so we either press onward as far as we can go in either one of these two directions, or we dart back and forth forever; debating endlessly the relative value of either destination against the other saying things like: "The answer isn't out there, it's in here" while simultaneously building ladders out and up to heaven. The trick of course is in being in
both places at once. Only then will we encounter a box that is both opened and closed at the same time. Only then will we be able to obtain either key. Of course, at that point, the keys will not be necessary, because both boxes will be opened, and all the answers pouring out and through us.
Here is another analogy we can use to visualize this perplexing state of affairs. They keys for understanding life's meaning are hanging from a string, over a teeter-toter. When our weight is pressing down on one side, the key is out of reach. But we look at how close it is to the raised up (i.e. enlightened) side of the teeter-toter, and so we head for that side. The problem is, once we arrive, our weight presses down and the key we sought through enlightenment is now just as out of reach as the other. Thus, in both examples, the only way to acquire either key is to acquire them both at the same time, using absolute, perfect balance between two parts of a single entity. The problem is, that we would have to split ourselves in two, and stand on either side of the teeter-toter in perfect balance to achieve this elusive goal (see Be Gray Every Day elsewhere on this site). The impossibility of achieving this in our physical analogy becomes a metaphor for what me must do in our minds. We need to be both inward and outward seeking at the same time... both conscious and unconscious... both male and female... both up and down... etc, etc, etc. Thus, mastery of opposites, rather than the elimination of opposites, is how we obtain the keys to
understanding life's meaning... with Paradox as the only way of knowing we are even close to our goal (see Stuck in the Mudaphor and Dreams and Dreaming elsewhere on this site).
Here's a third analogy: The relationship between The Universe and The Absentia is like a Grand Cosmic Sandwich, with Life and Death as the ingredients between two slices of Absentia. Only a jaw (i.e. spiritual philosophy) large enough to embrace both the slices (Absentia) and the ingredients between (Universe of Life and Death) will taste life's true meaning (see Ontological Argument below). Here is another verse we can use to visualize the topography of our place within this placeless place:
Paradox as a Pair o' Docks
by Guy Palm
Beyond the fast
Beyond the slow
Unique in form, special in flow
Either way, can't be killed
Beyond the large
Beyond the small
From any view, more or less all
Can only be one, as a pair
Between the two
A web like lace
Paradoxically contained, by a place without a place
Life and death
Absentia through Paradox
There are many spiritual philosophies that speak in paradoxical ways, but without ever using the actual word "paradox" in their text. Some do, but many don't. They hint around about it, they give instructions for living that are rooted in it, they make outright declarations of spiritual fact that attempt to enlighten and confound at once, but all too often do not state the obvious - that: paradox is the irreducible crux of universal flux! With some of those spiritual texts in mind as an inspiration, I decided to write my own ode to paradox...
The Point of Paradox
The Mind of the Divine and The Mind of the Human are one
So... to seek The Mind with a mind is absurd, and only leads to Paradox
Causing a Human Mind chasing its tail... to be Divine!
With Paradox... there is no one without two, and no two without one
So... to abandon twoness for oneness is as misguided as abandoning oneness for twoness
Thus making a life lived only in oneness as much of a prison as a life lived only in twoness
With Paradox, here is there and there is here
So... do not bind the self to either through a binary choice
Bond the self to both... through Paradox
Paradox unites the divided and divides the united... and back again... simultaneously... and perpetually
Through Paradox... unity is dual and duality is one
Humanity becomes Divine, and Divinity becomes Human
Thus it is, that...
Paradox is the irreducible crux of universal flux!
Nothing is anything and everything is nothing
Nowhere is now here.
All one reality!
No need to choose
Like a Mobius band...
Untwisting the twisted will only twist the untwisted
Paradox gives with one hand while taking with the other
Leaving behind something that is nothing
Be Human with the Duality of opposites
Be One with the Unity of opposites
Be Divine with the Paradox of opposites
Life and death
With a Mobius twist
Reveals The Absentia
If the Human acknowledgment of opposites is a disease,
Paradox is the cure!
To find the Divine
Oddly enough the paradox is one of our most valuable spiritual possessions, while uniformity of meaning is a sign of weakness. Hence a religion becomes inwardly impoverished when it loses or waters down its paradoxes; but their multiplication enriches because only the paradox comes anywhere near to comprehending the fullness of life.
-- Carl Jung
The Ontological Argument
As stated, The Absentia is a theoretical "Godforce" that, by its necessary exclusion, stands as a logical opposite, and thereby perpetually births, a Universe of everything and nothing. Some of the points made within the dissection of the Absentia verse might have lead some to suspect that, by this necessary exclusion, a statement is being made that God does not exist.
Many great philosophers have attempted to logically prove that "God exists." I am not a "great philosopher" but, like everyone, I have an opinion to share. Thus, it would be my opinion that indeed "God" (by necessity) does not exist!
Many of the ontological arguments that I've read that attempt to prove the existence of "God," seem to center around a "wishing makes it so" mindset or a "because I say so" mindset. They argue that "If I can conceive of "God," "God" must exists." They argue that "because I can conceive of God, God necessarily exists." As a devotee of paradox, I would argue just the opposite, and state that "If you can conceive it, it is not "God"." Here is the argument:
God should be ultimate.
If you can imagine God, you have not gone far enough to be ultimate, there is one more step you have not taken.
God, by necessity, must be unimaginable, inconceivable, ineffable, unknowable or otherwise impossible - a paradox.
Therefore, by necessity, God does not exist... within our conceivable, knowable, and possible universe of mortal minds.
That's the short, thought provoking argument. Let's dissect this:
God should be ultimate - A bold claim, with no logical proof, other than the obvious, which would be: If God was not ultimate, there would be something that is, and we would likely want to call that God.
If you can imagine God, you have not gone far enough to be ultimate, there is one more step you have not taken - This is where many arguments in favor of the existence of God fall short. Like cattle encountering a barbed wire fence, many "great philosophers" will not venture into paradox and notions of the impossible. To many, paradox is nothing more than a nuisance. To many, paradox is an indication that reasoning has gone wrong. This is where so many fail. Thus, truly, The Lord is their shepherd - and their reluctance or refusal to embrace paradox is the Border Collie that keeps their minds herded forever within the possible, conceivable and knowable. By excluding the impossible, we are thus, logically... limited. We need to take that final step. Sadly, many don't.
God, by necessity, must be unimaginable, inconceivable, ineffable, unknowable or otherwise impossible - a paradox - If our perception and conception of God is not unimaginable, inconceivable, ineffable, unknowable or otherwise impossible, there will remain something that is. We will likely want to call that God. Why is being unimaginable, inconceivable, ineffable, unknowable or otherwise impossible supreme, rather than inferior? Because it represents that which is beyond the reach of mortal minds and existence itself.
Therefore, by necessity, God does not exist... within our conceivable, knowable, and possible universe of mortal minds - The Universe of everything and nothing is here BECAUSE The Absentia "Godforce" is not. Like a martyred savior dying for the sins of others, "God" does not exist, SO THAT we do. To say that God exists, is to lower God to the level of mortal thoughts in the minds of humans. To be ultimate, God must be beyond the reach of mortal minds and all forms of existence. Being impossible accomplishes that. And whereas some might view the idea of a God in absentia as a nihilistic view comparable to declaring there to be no God at all, that is not the case in this arrangement. In this arrangement, our absent God is analogous to a parent sitting on a park bench watching us - the children of the world - play in a universal playground of life (see Verse 82 elsewhere on this site). This hands-off quality then explains the philosophical "problem of evil" as it implies that we are given the free will to fall and skin our knees and effect our own repairs. In this analogy, a Divine influence can still be theorized that would be comparable to the hands-off parent stepping in to provide miracles of healing when a more severe evil, like falling off the monkey bars and cracking our head open, happens to us. Miracles being themself unexplainable phenomena thus fulfill the criteria of being impossible acts of an impossible God. But while this idea of an intervening God might appeal to certain personality types (see Consider the Source elsewhere on this site), the basic concept of God should remain unknowable and impossible - a paradox. God, by necessity, and by design, does not exist.
Many of the arguments I've heard about the existence of God, don't really define what they mean by existence. My definition suggests that existence be defined as that which can be conceived or realized, within the limits of the finite and the infinite. The Absentia is, by definition, and by necessity, beyond each of these - i.e. inconceivable, ineffable, unknowable or otherwise impossible - a paradox. It is called The Absentia, because it is necessarily absent from any finite/infinite universe that might ever attempt to perceive it. However... if one wanted to prove the existence of God, one would only have to extend their definition of existence to include the inconceivable and impossible, and embrace paradox as the irreducible crux of universal flux. If this is a stated preference - then... God exists!
To repeat in summary:
If existence were to be defined as all that is possible in a universe, i.e. everything and nothing taken together as one... the infinite and finite taken as one... and... if God is defined as all of existence itself, then, God exists... as existence itself. But if God is supposed to exist within the context of existence itself, i.e. some sort of actual, possible, knowable entity or being existing within a universe of existence, then God would not be ultimate to existence itself. God should be ultimate. To be ultimate, relative to existence itself, God would have to not exist within the context of existence, or even as existence itself. To be ultimate to all that is possible, God would need to represent an impossible realm beyond existence itself, a realm that is beyond the reach of any conceiving mind or possible existence. That is what we would likely want to call God. Therefore, unless definitions of existence are extended to include the impossible, God, by necessity and design, does not exist. If, however, definitions of existence are extended to include the impossible, then God does exists, and paradox becomes the closest possible approximation of God that any mortal mind could ever conceive. God exists only by the inclusion of exclusion. Existence is, only when God isn't. God is paradox. Many feel that the mere ability to conceive of any notion of God, paradoxical or otherwise, means that God exists, if only in our minds. But a God of paradox is essentially a God we cannot even conceive, because of how self-nullifying and impossible paradox is to our minds. Thus to conceive of God as paradox is to conceive of God as something inconceivable. God is a beginningless beginning without end! God is a circle with a circumference that is nowhere, and a center that is everywhere - a place without a place. Only knowable through not knowing. Conceivable only when inconceivable.
All is possible.