*And no, my post is not on ‘vacuum cleaner’ – (which works on the vacuum principle but pardon me if I don’t go any further on this).
This morning driving home from teaching reading for pupils (for those who need assistance) at a primary school, I was going through in my head about words beginning with “V” followed by a e i o u. I thought variously of ‘vacillate’; ‘vexation’; ‘vicarious violence’; ‘voice’; ‘vulture’. I felt in a vacuum, vacuously wondering –
And while driving, I realised that a vacuum may occur when the A-Z is over.
Natura vacuum abhorret. Nature abhors a vacuum. I may find myself living in an existential vacuum at least for a while. Not for a moment will I have nothing to do; all those many other activities that have been neglected will come to the fore; packing to move into the townhouse (vacating our 26 years here in our lovely old home); maybe vacuum packing precious glassware; my own writing and much more. Maybe I’ll be able to provide a decent supper for my hard working husband on the odd occasion – veal as a treat?
‘Vacuum’ is defined as a region of space in which there is no matter, there is nothing.
Viktor Frankl writes on the ‘existential vacuum’. He posits that when we as individuals sense a vacuum in our lives, we ensure that we have stuff to do to fill it up which will provide ‘satisfaction’. Anything that keeps that vacuum-filled feeling at bay, an emptiness within, a sense of futility, we will find a way to fill it. We know in what way we fill it. A compulsion to passivity e.g.TV where violence real or otherwise is played out on the screen and from which we derive a vicarious pleasure because it is not us; conformity from a fear of being just ourselves; over eating. We vacuum up everything we can. We suck it up, faster, better, brighter. In some societies, where the government of the day is not fulfilling their promises to the population, people may find themselves living in a vacuum where nothing is happening. They may align themselves to a fundamental sect, right or left, to give their lives meaning, thus filling the vacuum.
Naomi Klein: ‘Politics hates a vacuum. If it isn’t filled with hope, someone will fill it with fear.’
Desmond Tutu our own recent past Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner: ‘I am a leader by default, only because nature does not allow a vacuum’.
I often find myself in a vacuum when I try to create with words. My mind feels vacuum-filled. I imagine others who create with different media e.g. paint, canvas, chisel, block, film feel similarly. The screen or canvas or the instruments remain motionless and nothing comes.
Yet, somehow the voice comes and out of the nothing all is contained.
*Sophia Loren: Spaghetti can be eaten most successfully if you inhale it like a vacuum cleaner.