“The Absence Of”

Is there such a thing as being cold? You might say: “Of course! My air-conditioner works like a refrigerator!” Well, the truth is that there really isn’t such a thing as “cold”. We can have heat, a lot of it, or sometimes very little of it. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat at all. However, we cannot go any lower than that. There simply doesn’t exist something called “cold”. We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy and measurable but cold is not the opposite of heat! “Cold” is a word we made up to describe the lack of heat.

Then is there something called “darkness”? We assume we see it every single night. The truth is…there isn’t! We can have little light, a lot of light, bright light or even flashing light. Darkness isn’t the opposite of light, it’s just the lack or absence of it. If there is such a thing called “darkness”, wouldn’t we be able to make it darker?

Similarly, we don’t have “death”. Death doesn’t exist as a substantial thing. It’s also not the opposite of life. Death is just the absence of life.

I was talking to a dear friend two nights back. She was saying that she can’t and/or doesn’t feel pain anymore. Immune, you might think? What did I say? “It’s not that you don’t feel pain, you just forgot how happiness and joy felt like.” My reasoning?

“Pain is not the opposite of Happiness. It’s the absence of it.”
~ © Esmond Ng 13/09/05

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