Opinion: How to fill the void?


Horror vacui. Fourth-century philosopher Aristotle is believed to have originated the concept, which scientists and physicists have tested and debated since. Nature abhors a vacuum. Essentially, the greater the emptiness, the more powerful the draw to fill it. Remove a bucket of water from the ocean and the hole left will be quickly filled by the surrounding water. Take a bucket of air to the bottom of the sea and the bucket would be destroyed by the surrounding aquatic pressure.

For most of us non-experts, we are happy to stay on top of the wave and apply the truism to more human proclivities. Whether we are rushing to nab that close-to-the-door parking spot or angling to get onto the airplane first, we all hurry to the opening. Maybe it is an echo of our days in primary school when we had occasion to be the lunchtime line leader. It is good to be in front. But when we run for the opportunity en masse, are we not only clogging the pipeline but also missing other prospects as we fight our way to the anterior?

In politics, no one seems to be on the ballot, then we find too many from which to choose. In commerce, there is one kombucha to try, then the next day, there are shelves full of assorted brands. In music, someone introduces a “new” sound until it becomes old-school and hope someday for revival. In our own lives, we fill the void of a lost pet, or growing children, or the halcyon days of our youth. We can’t help but fill them. Aren’t we better to plan for the opening than to get sucked into the void? What will be edited from our lives and how will we hope to fill the gap?