Why are we so scared of the vacuum? What’s so scary about our existence not having a purpose, a meaning, a raison d’etre? Why does the emptiness of it all cause us so much terror?
Now, that’s a question for the ages. I don’t know the answer. But I do know what we do in the face of such a gap.
We try to fill it. With something. Our minds abhor a vacuum. Anything is better than nothing when it comes to the “why” of our lives.
I’ll give you an example. Ask someone if they believe in God. The first thing you’ll get is a pause as they try to fathom your intentions. They may even get defensive. But if you can reassure them that you ask out of curiosity, you might get an answer similar to the following:
“I’m not religious, but I do believe there’s something out there. I mean, there’s no way this world can just have happened.”
This is a simplification of the intelligent design argument. The argument posits that things such as the human eye cannot have just evolved. The world is so complex, it’s components so inter-dependent on one another, that it can only have come into being by design. The world is staggeringly complex, so it cannot have happened by accident.
Except it did. That you are living, breathing, reading this, is just a miraculous, brilliant accident.
But still, people remain unable (or more likely, unwilling) to accept that our existence is devoid of purpose. Completely and entirely.
This doesn’t mean our life can’t have a purpose, just that life itself doesn’t have a reason, a why.
An individual’s refusal to accept this stinks of fear.
But let’s invert. What if the emptiness of existence excited us, what if we saw it as an opportunity, an advantage?
If our life has no meaning, no purpose, then our existence is a blank canvas. But it is a blank canvas onto which we can paint whatever we choose.
We can imbue our lives with whatever meaning we wish.