I tend to blog on practical topics. But every now and then, we may benefit from diving deep. I was recently on a public broadcasting radio show where the host launched the hour of talk by asking "What is the meaning of life?" I said something like, "Wow, we're not going to start small here today." And, yeah, in case you're wondering, I told her the answer. But that's for another time.
My favorite Southern novelist asked me this week by email how I would define or characterize existence. And that's quite a question. To define existence is such a bear because, in order to be helpful, definitions have to be in terms of either more fundamental things or more familiar things. And what's more of either than existence? But what you can’t define or analyze into component parts, you can sometimes still elucidate or parse. And I'm willing to give it a try.
So: What is existence? Well. Let's try some things.
Existence is the wild unruliest child of thought, which thinks first itself.
Existence is whatever makes illusion possible.
Existence is the great grandfather of thought.
Existence is the domain encompassing all of necessity and a thin sliver of possibility, stirred and shaken.
Existence is the actualization of all the potential that just could not wait any longer.
Existence is the gossamer veil of reality that floats within the vast emptiness of surrounding nothingness.
Existence is the thick, rich, dense soup of the actual.
Existence is the play of divine creativity.
Existence is the actualized realization of potentiality.
Existence is the most basic quality everything shares, down deep, throughout, and shimmering on the surface.
Existence is the ontological moment, the evanescent bubble of being, the knife’s edge between the future and the past.
Existence is what bricks, dogs, numbers and rainbows have in common.
Existence is etymologically to stand out, to rise above the boiling yet somehow nonexistent abstract cauldron of mere possibility, breaking the thin eggshell of mere potential and emerging, whether for a brief moment or an eternity.
Existence is the sparkling foam from the roiling void beneath.
Existence is the gift of God, but a gift that's in the giver and giving as well as the receiving—that one unique metaphysical gift that calls forth the recipients one and all, inviting us to the party, and bringing us here with love and a fierce hope that we'll make the most of this most spectacular present.