Nothing From Something
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Nothing From Something

By: Atman Brahman and AI

Discourse about Value, Identity, and Truth.

I have recently been struck with the great luck of somewhat of an epiphany! This Magazine tends to be a bit of a blur, or a mixed pallet of different ideas and philosophies, but every once in a while, all those ideas click perfectly into place and spark a fire deep in the human psyche. Something from Nothing. I have begun to think about the nature of life, our lives here on earth, and what it means to live. The one thing that keeps coming back to me is the fact that this short time we are given here on earth is invaluable, and yet so many people spend their time doing things they don’t enjoy, or worse yet things they hate. But the thing that really sparked this manic sprint of inspiration to discuss in this article was the concept of “value” in the first place. I am a poet, but I’ve been writing for years, and I’m still skeptical about how much they are “worth” to anyone else. Rene Descartes said “I think therefore I am”, but what happens when you stop thinking? It’s easy to get to the point where you ask yourself what you are worth. This is not an easy question to answer. But if we define “worth” as something like excellence in some particular area, like intellect, or artistry or athletics or even brawn then perhaps there can be an answer. The only way that I know of to ever achieve excellence in any art form (and by excellence I mean greatness) is for there to be a close connection between the artist and the work.

…stop stealing my thoughts AI. I’m writing this article, jeez, I want to write this one from the heart but it pretty much ran with what I was saying and was accurate.

Art by AI from Titled: "Nothing from Something: a novel about truth that is mistaken as illusion".
Art by AI from Titled: “Nothing from Something: a novel about truth that is mistaken as illusion”.

But that is the crossroads I came to, while sitting in traffic physically, but figuratively, the crossroads in my head where everything was in perfect harmony. In the middle of a heavy downpour, rains like I haven’t seen before; it all clicked. Pondering all this “value”, everywhere around us. Investments, crypto currency, NFTs and their implications and applications. This is less about tangible value like commodities or goods. I was digging at the more intangible, more abstract value involved in things like investments, bitcoin and NFTs. Baseball cards, coins, collectors items. Why are some worth more than others? Rarity is a part of it; but there’s more to it. The most well known example of value involved with an NFT is a painting; the Mona Lisa, the original one, as opposed to re-prints and copies. What a huge value difference. An NFT offers that possibility of having an original, certificate of authenticity; trust. But what does that mean?

Here is where all the ideas of our times and of my philosophical ramblings come together as a work of art in itself. Digesting the thoughts further, as I sat eating dinner at night; at a table, eating pizza. Its physical energy content being consumed to fuel my mind, which was a trillion miles away, in Crypto NFT world, and the concept of VALUE.

When we look at a piece of art, we are contemplating its meaning. Its meaning is often a reflection on ourselves because it is a “created” piece of information. It is a story. This is what stands out in this treatise; this is the epiphany: It’s the STORY, not the visual stimulation. It’s all in the story! When I use the AI image generation at this site, it is interesting to me how it shows a deep look into our cultural collection, because it is the culmination of all of our stories, in language itself; encoded. It shows us images we have conglomerated on subjects, and mixes them all up. It also can act somewhat of an ink blot test; where we see what we want to see, or what “speaks to us”. These different level; system level connections that are beyond a human individual “conscious”, but what speaks to us is “the story”. What does it say? What is it telling us? What are we telling ourselves?

Many people are familiar with the painting of Guernica, by Pablo Picasso. This painting is so famous and amazing, but I mean, really? Is the painting itself, in a technical sense really all that “out of this world”? I mean, many people gawk at its size, but its meaning and its story and the story of its creator are what make it what it is. The physical and visual stimulation are mildly sub-par, one could even argue, but the story, the statement and the idea itself is what makes it an idol.

Where all this conceptual analysis applies in our story, is in our whole society. Our current era of post-modernism, and The Great Identity Crisis, is all underpinned by this concept of value; of authenticity, on both sides of the political isle. We are all struggling with this concept of value, and “the story” that paints it to speak to us; in this digital-age information overload we endure daily. Identity and authenticity, and “the real thing”, “the story”, are what make anything have that intangible value.

Crazy enough, this all ties back to my time in China, in 2011. I was a young man and on my own, literally in my own apartment for 4 months living in Xiamen, China, alone. My inspiration was to be a writer, and tell the stories and legends I learned in the ancient land; the archetypes that still exist in us and resonate throughout time. Remnants of dragons, everywhere! My idea was to write a story about stories. I had come to a conclusion, in a deeply drunken, isolated, meditative state, that I wanted to write a story that spoke to the search within that we all go through in a search for truth. We are all reaching outwardly with our eyes at the world, where we can learn more about truth from looking within. Identity. But my real conclusion and realization then was that the story had to be a work of fiction. To be able to really hit on points I wanted to talk about, and to really wiggle and weave through the deep underpinnings of reality, without being nailed down by citing and research project detours, and neurological proofs. But can fiction be “truly” enough to achieve utility in real world applications, and knowledge?

The answer is obvious. Yes! Fiction can offer us some of our deepest most reflective truths! There is value in Fiction other than entertainment purposes.

Art by AI from Titled: "Fictional Truth".
Art by AI from Titled: “Fictional Truth”.

Another moment of luck, and ideas crashing together, I came up with the concept of “Nothing from Something”, as a play on words of the current theory for the creation of our universe, The Big Bang. But it also is a play on ancient Buddhist concepts of unlearning, and stripping back all that we “know” to “understand”. To go backwards, not forwards. Towards the mind of a baby, and its innocence and agnosticism to this reality. When we do this, to a story of fiction we come to underlying fables and truths that resonate with our experiences in ineffable ways that transcend our words and language, and the “true”, “actual” parts of the story. Fiction has Truth in it!

Weeks ago I caught COVID-19, which was pretty mild. But I was in isolation for 4 days at my office computer. The quarantine and remoteness of my being was the most painful symptom, I felt when it was all said and done. Coming back to reality, released into the world, and speaking with people I felt an interesting reinvigoration to my identity. I am a man that has a really deep voice, and that plays into every interaction I conduct as a human animal. People treat me a certain way, stern or casual, based on the tone of my voice. But isolated in my office, I interacted with many friends and family, and even my immediate wife and kids just outside the office, through the internet, digitally. Typing away, I communicated with both hands outstretched in front of me, pressing away, key after key, in an aggressive crunching of mechanical buttons. Now, out, interacting with real live humans, my identity was restored in some sense by the sounds, reverberating from my neck. This deep vibrational disturbance I send out into the world, in words and phrases to tell stories, and transcribe into peoples ears. This is part of “what I am”. These sounds, blub schnoob gribbly whoop, are a representation of me; my identity. They are used to tell the story of me. This is what I’m worth.

Value and identity crash in this whirl-winded, rainy, crossroads as well. The reason that Mona Lisa, and an NFT have more value, is because they have authenticity of identity. We have this notion that a story from the first person, and not handed down, is more “truthful” or “real” or “accurate”. We feel that the further distanced from the original, the more corruption, and loss of its identity or truth it may have held. It’s STORY has been corrupted, disrupted, or lost. Value, truth, and identity, intertwined at a “spiritual” [for lack of the word] entity.

We seem to have a natural tendency to think that verbatim, 1st hand accounts, or non-fiction are “truthful” where-as fiction is reserved for un-reality. Not so! We see this paradox manifested in today’s world, where “real journalism” is effectively dead. The concept news media conglomerates seem to get wrong is the egotistical trap of applying their own authenticity. They attach their “authentic” values onto the stories they tell, making the stories not authentic to themselves. They tell “their story” which is not the “raw” story, in its natural context. We are currently in a vast crisis of trust with mainstream media (MSM) in the world, and they are the sources of “truth” we are duped into expecting from them.

But fiction can tell a deeper story. Fiction can tell the subliminal, more transcendent truths of our existence. If we take it too literally, we might miss the truth embedded. This is why Nothing From Something needs to be a fictional story about truth, to offer value to the world.

What does this tell you about truth?

Does my “true” story about “truth” speak the semblance of “truth” to you about fiction, art, identity and value?

*Disclaimer: Some of this story was generated through the use of AI. All italic text was created by the AI Writer.

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