Thank you for your emails, and for your patience as I stumble to find myself at the ripe age of 27. With changing high heels and careers, practicing for law school and the imposter that is disappointment, paying credit card invoices and my dues, and waking up over a pile of manuscripts on the couch wondering whether I dreamt of self-playing violins that sound like nihilism because I happened to have been asleep on top of that particular page or because of broodier implications, the only time I’ve had left has been expended in casual conversation with coworkers.
On one occasion, I recounted to a coworker asking an astronomy instructor what was at the center of the universe, a question he insisted was demonstrative of a misunderstanding which he could not identify. He asserted instead that the universe is both a sphere and has no center.
“I’m sure it’s possible to have some weird center-less geometry,” said my coworker in an attempt to resolve the issue. “Maybe that guy was a bad explainer though.”
“He was bad because he said pointedly that the universe is spherical.”
“Yeah it seems like spheres have centers. Is there nothingness inside the sphere?”
“That would still mean it had a center, unless there is a kind of nothing that is nothing. I mean, if the logical opposite of nothing is not nothing, and something surrounded nothing in a spherical form, then the nothing would still be at the center (as opposed to elsewhere in the spherical something), but if there is no center at all, then it is a different kind of nothing than nothing.” I paused. “It is non-existent.”
How many kinds of nothing are there? Or, I suppose, how many kind of nothing aren’t there? (Or is this a double negative?)
Most pressingly, what kind of nothing am I (not)?