This is my seventh entry into the 1001 challenge to write one thousand and one words every day throughout the month of November. Cheeee
I don’t know what to write about. Then again, I never do. I’m very scared of the void; the emptiness, or is it nakedness, I feel when I’m venturing into something new; the panic that blooms when the stability of habit is taken away from me. I feel it every time I’m about to write a new article, a new song, or talk to a new person. It’s a feeling, that time and exposure can never alleviate, and ideally so, because the emptiness and fear, are signs of growth; signs that something that has never been tried before, is being attempted. It is in this zone, that one finds innovation, and if the stars align, genius.
However, I’m not going to speak about that - genius I mean - I’m not qualified. I want to talk about the emptiness instead; the void. I don’t know what I’m going to say about it to be honest, as this is a stream of consciousness article. All I know is I want to speak about it, or something related to it, at least.
Now that I’m done with that bit, I’m scared again; I’ve stopped hearing the voice in my head that guides these words. But it’s cool, all I have to do is trust, and type on. It’ll find me again.
A void in basic English is a term used to signify empty space (it has since been discovered that there is no such thing as empty space, but that is a story for another day). Most of your actions as a human being, are habit based; behavioral, mental, and emotional algorithms encoded into your brain and body via long periods of repetition. So, every time you perform a familiar action, there’s an unconscious script that guides the process. Which is why you can tie your shoelaces, and have no memory of the event. However, when you attempt something new, you switch from the domain of habit, to the domain of conscious reasoning and high awareness. Your brain has no references, no stored data, and so it switches to beginner’s mind: a state of keen observation, where all your senses come alive, and you become painfully aware of everything happening, including and especially, the feeling of being naked (in a metaphorical sense of course).
The process of creation, of anything at all, whether a song or a career path, dictates novelty. It is a dive off the shores of culture, convention and organized knowledge, into seas of chaos: the natural state of life. Unfortunately, this “diving” is frowned upon by society at large. Institutions of all sorts, from the government, to family heads, seek to dictate what you should and should not do. This in itself isn’t a bad thing, after all, order must be maintained, if there’s no order, life cannot happen. Commercial music has to exist, films that appeal to the masses have to exist, studios and corporations have to survive, 9–5 jobs are important. These systems create the space for exploration in the first place.
However, there’s a limit to how much should be dictated. There’s a limit to the number of times you can hear the same type of sound and enjoy it. There’s a limit to the number of times you can use the same story framework before it becomes predictable. There’s a limit to the number of people that want to live conventional lifestyles. There’s a limit to the effectiveness of the current system. And until these limits are acknowledged, and addressed, human society will be a dull and monotonous affair, as opposed the variety and abundance that typifies life itself. This model also extends to your personal life; you should be concerned if you haven’t taken on a project that makes you feel fear and emptiness in a while; it signifies that you’ve been running the same shit over and over again, and you need to reinvent, do something fresh.
Life is like a giant experiment; a giant laboratory, filled with possibility and creative energy. We’re mostly making this shit up as we go. All of us, including the non-human animals. Sure, there are rules, and ways to go about living life, that can be considered right, but the funny thing about any rule is, if you understand the conditions guiding its origin, you can break it without consequence. So, it’s not like rules were made to dictate your life, or cage you, they are just bits of compressed knowledge that organically arise when you gain a proper and precise understanding of how the world works. But to gain this understanding you have to explore, you have to temporarily ignore what everyone else has said, and see for yourself what is true and more importantly, what is possible. Which brings us back to the void.
I’m fucking scared of it. It’s so much easier to follow the common-sense movement, and sometimes I think that’s the way for me. Sometimes, I think wanting to be a musician, is a stupid idea. Sometimes, I think I don’t have anything different or unique to offer any audience. Sometimes when my guys play beats for me, I get scared and my voice comes out like the croak of a man who’s on the verge of dehydration, begging for water. Sometimes I wonder if I can get anyone to love me, because who wants to be with a man whose future is uncertain? Sometimes, I just want to chill, and be like “fuck my dreams man, I want this money, I want this baby boy lifestyle, I want to fit in.”
But then I always ask, what if?
What if I actually have mad potential? What if I go on to become something legendary? What if I do find someone to love me? What if people actually like the melodies that come through me? What if I’m not the only one that thinks I’m good?
The answer is usually, “you’ll never know if you don’t try”
So, every time I feel the void; the nakedness I feel from not knowing what’s next, I ignore it. I decide to push on with my practice, with my freestyles, with my writing. I don’t know if I’ll blow, but that’s not the point; I won’t forgive myself, if I don’t try. If I blow, then great, if I don’t, well, it’s never too late to reinvent, or pivot as the entrepreneurs will say.
I crave order in my life, I really do, but from what I’m beginning to understand, it can be very limiting. I’ll let Richard Feynman explain:
“I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing, than to have answers that might be wrong. If we will only allow that, as we progress, we remain unsure, we will leave opportunities for alternatives… In order to make progress, one must leave the door to the unknown ajar.”
If you feel like the conventional path is for you, then by all means go for it, just don’t get too stuck up on it. Find activities that create voids in you, empty spaces for the unexpected, the mysterious, and the unusual, to grow in you. Peace.