August 15, 2022

Find your space

Stumbled on the great meme of this thread’s hero image when I was having a particularly difficult time getting my shit together a while back.

Somehow things just kept circling the drain and left me with empty spaces which were proving a bit of a struggle to fill. Then today I realised that that empty space was exactly the thing I was looking for. There can’t be any real progress without a gap to think in. Rather encouraging then that people with way bigger brains than me already knew this. I know.

Problem is an empty space can be a scary place.

Even the Google-machine is scared of the empty space, and is also rolling out new ‘warnings’ for times when a search term has hit a “data void” – a question where a good answer might simply not exist.

So now you get a “It looks like there aren’t many great results for this search,” return to your question about, say, suggestions for baking cakes as an edible representation of your PhD thesis (although that is an actual thing.).

More interestingly is that “this doesn’t mean that no helpful information is available” to which the only question ought to be ‘yes, but of no help to who?’ – and it’s hard not to answer ‘not useful to Google’s customers; the adtech ones, not the you or me type.

Cosmologists though (well, a certain strain of cosmologists) love to study the void. Or rather, the amazingly apparent lack of anything in voids between galaxies, the shiny bright bits of space, where, of course, all the interesting stuff is, yes? Well, not quite.

The galaxies with all their starry glamour contain mostly all the things we know. Voids though, voids contain mystery. They’re really old. As old as the observable universe but it’s not that old is interesting here.

These empty places aren’t like a time capsule that you forgot to fill with neat stuff from your childhood before you buried it.

Voids apparently seeth with stuff, principally dark energy (whatever that might turn out to be) or ‘the thing that the observable universe needs to possess, to explain itself to us for the reason it is, and why we’re here’ kind of questions.

Pretty big questions for a nothingness to inspire us to ask.

Next time you can’t seem to think of a thing to say or are lost for an idea, stop looking at the stars. Cut yourself a little slack and find some empty space.

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About Richard Hill

Creative director, writer, designer, illustrator based in the UK with global project experience and consulting skills across sectors.

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