Much existentialism is done by thinking about the phrase “in and of itself”, by parsing the syntax which makes this a phrase unto itself, because this precludes thinking about what it means to distinguish one thing from another thing, or one thing from all of the other things.
Another way of saying this is that this prompts us to think about what it means to distinguish a thing apart from that which is all things (everything) and also apart that which is no other thing (nothing) whereby in terms of value “everything” and “nothing” are identical.
But if “everything” and “nothing” theoretically function the same for being of the same value, and thus the concepts “everything” and “nothing” are identical, what then does it even mean to be a thing? However, therein lies our answer: “meaning” unto itself does not exist.
Rather, “meaning” is the relationship between one thing and that of another thing for which a value (numerical or otherwise) is ascribed by the valuer (subject) to the valuee (object), thus in one very particular way describing the relationship of the subject to the object.
It therefore seems as if our mind does not intuitively recognize us as a value as consciousness initially comes into play, and therefore we are initially the “nothing” in relation to the “something”—indeed, tasked by the cosmos itself to ascribe value unto itself.
Or, as Carl Sagan said, “We are way for the universe to know itself.”
Why? How? Fuck if I know…
If I knew this, I would know the answer to a great many things and would have already dealt with many an ignorant asshole by now instead of bitching about them on the internet.
Alas, this is the gist of “existentialism”—the philosophical era wherein philosophy answered a bunch of “oh shit” questions with a bunch “no shit” answers, philosophically leaving us with no shit, existentially again saying “oh shit”. And yet, it is ironically still some of the best shit.
As such, some readers may be inclined to ask, “But what even is the point of such a thing?”
And, to such a thing I would reply, “What is the point of anything? How does one ascertain the point of one thing apart from that of all the other things?”
Moreover, how does one ascertain the point of DOING one thing over another thing, including nothing at all, from among an infinite possibility of things to do? This requires us to evaluate the value of not just all things, but the possibility of all things—present, past, and future.
For in order to (rationally vis-à-vis instinctively) act with respect to the future, one must reflect upon observations of the past. Although, perfect 4-dimensional awareness, i.e. “omniscience” for all practical intents and functions, is impossible.
Thus, there always exists infinite perspectives from which our actions appear, and indeed are, irrational, and this is true regardless of omniscience. This is simply true of the human experience—dare I say—in and of itself (a lesson to cis-het males claiming rationality).
However, the possibility of perfect, 4-dimensional knowledge so as to ultimately deem our actions and that of others “rational” is hardly relevant considering our existence within this particular universe theoretically consists of a possible total of 11 dimensions.
One might wonder whether perfect 4-dimensional knowledge of the world necessarily entails perfect 11-dimensional knowledge, but why even consider such a thing save entertainment value when one may as well contemplate existence of self as “God” or the universe itself.
However, such an exercise does reveal to us why the reality of the human condition, including any cognitive interpretation of our perception of this reality (necessarily), is to be considered only metaphor; necessarily, this entails any attempt at expressing said reality.
Every metaphor logically breaks down at some point. What matters is cogent communication of the fundamental concept. This also includes so-called “reason” and “knowledge”, to further include that which we deem “logic”, “mathematics”, “language”, and—naturally—“art”.
What are any of these in fact but symbols systematically arranged in so elegant a way as to convey understanding of our reality, both of the One and of the Many; or, in other words, what are these systems if not but themselves a form of art?
Would this not therefore suggest art, itself, is the highest form of all human endeavors—consciousness as “will and representation”? After all, this is why the artist is the most valued among all human beings. The artist expresses what words and logic often fail to do.
Art smoothly fills in the gaps of the human experience left untold or unexpressed by words alone. ‘Tis the reason art whatever the form can bring humanity together when words alone often fail to do so. Art touches at that which is the heart of the human condition.
For art is no other but the soul of the human condition—the “soul” itself a concept that is a metaphor representing the totality of our existence during this lifetime, to say nothing of life beyond this existence, nor of any other possible existences, for of this we cannot know.
Thus revealed to us is the value of culture, and of being multicultural, that so long as there exists shared experiences unique among various groups of human beings, it is important these experiences be included in the overall human experience, as indeed they are intrinsic to it.
A culture is in no better way expressed than by its art, not even by statistics, engineering, and math, for these are all universal expressions of the same and they do not tell a story; though, this is never to devalue their role in the creation and understanding of said story.
I think it therefore appropriate to consider art as the soul of humanity—art, the soul which embodies our humanity, which tells our story, not only of humanity worldwide, but of each culture of which humanity is comprised. Thus, to devalue art is the devalue our very soul.
You all see where I am going with this, yes? I very well hope you do—for, if not, then there is no hope. We, each of us, are the creators of value in this world, and on pain of violence, or death, and even whatever lie beyond death, must defend this value.
Otherwise, the worst becomes realized: that the nothing failed in its valuation of the something; thus, nothing of value did it produce nor protect.
How did something come from nothing, you ask? Why, it did not, for it utterly and completely failed, and thus did it become less than nothing!