Here I am in my usual void, flipping and pushing pencils until they ran out of lead. It was dull and as always with this restless mind, I was beginning to bore myself to death.
There’s an empty sheet of pad paper lying embarrassingly white in front of me, as if seducing the pencil I was holding to finally give in and touch its bare nakedness.
So I just let Pavlov’s hand do the thinking by letting this fair writing implement run wild in different fashions all over the barren paper hungry for its undivided attention. It responded in kind ever so dearly by willingly giving itself up and embracing the charcoal being spread from within.
My hand was moving in circular motion when I instinctively began crunching numbers. In my mind I was trying to come up with the most number of zeroes.
After an hour, what was once a blank sheet now looks like a blueprint dotted with small little circles of unlimited zeros. They looked like carbonated bubbles compressed in a very limited amount of space. Its purity is now gone, replaced by the speckled chaos that hovers its once fine layers.
At a glance, I thought of this basic but invalid economic idea brought about by the continuing influx of capital in the world. It was the concept of unlimited supply of zeroes, unlimited surplus.
They had this grand model of development and a promise of an unending accumulation of wealth for every man who would ever want it. The trick, they say, is finding most of them and keeping them all to yourself. As if all the zeroes in this world would make them better men.
In their world governed by numbers, zero means huge things, it’s worth almost everything. The more zeroes you could fit in it, the better. It was just purely delusional I must say.
Well, what the hell do I know about zeroes. I only have a few of them. And I really don’t worry much on keeping most of them hostage. Like a wandering mind, I set them free and let them fulfill their own purposes. When we finally reach our destined zero hour, it does not matter anyway. Funny most people look at it only as the money that it represents. I personally look at it as the plain zero that it is.
To early mathematician Brahmagupta, it may mean a lot of things. But I remember back in kindergarten -and by God, as one author would say, “all I learned about life I learned in kindergarten”– we were taught zero to mean nothing. And right this very minute, I feel nothing, I think nothing, and there’s practically nothing.
If I knew “nothing” then, I wonder, does that make me familiar to zero?
I don’t know. But I am sure familiar to nothing. It was the feeling of nothingness. Not that I feel empty… I just don’t feel a thing right now. And I was thinking of nothing in particular. My boredom was just letting my freaking mind adrift, freely allowing my body do its thing.
Now I had to worry about zeroes for crying out loud.
Quite simply, when emotions took over random acts of nothingness -like a lousy exercise of scribbling something on a notepad- silly nothings fueled by boredom and ignited by passionate imaginations can really become personal in a very profound way.
But essentially, like the now proverbial zero, it was nothing really.