In the subbody or shadowbody, we attempt to find an edge or bottom body. For those into digging and digging to find the ultimate primordial “thing” or No-Thing, The Void or Abyss might eventually be touched. This territory has been seen as the most terrifying place in existence, possibly even more so than the Spanish Inquisition.
Yet, this attitude of fear is only adopted by those who resist. The sign before the entrance to Dante’s Inferno read “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.” But the key is in interpretation. Abandon hope by surrendering, else resistance will be the true hell.
For those who have reached this edge of all edges, they may have in result gotten to step into the kingdom of kingdoms, The Void’s “opposite” associated with maximum meaning and value. This happens because The Void implies its opposite. If The Void is the serpent’s ferocious mouth (the end of everything) then its opposite is the beginning of everything–the Tail or Tale (story). Life is a story, a theater. For this reason, shadowbody butoh is about life resonance.
When we dance butoh, we dance life. If we go to The Void, it’s in order to kiss the immortal flower that grows from it. It is one entity, the ouroboros.
The ouroboros is the serpent that bites its own tail. This shows a prolific, powerful image of primordial nature, lying at the heart of all that we are and do. All appears to possess a type of feedback loop. This can be visualized by pondering over the notion of memory with its endless loopy associations of past, which are but endless copies fed into itself. One cannot say that the past or future exist identically as the present, unless one steps radically inward or outward to visualise a notion of transcending space/time itself, hence theoretically making all exist equally to each other.
For a century, Quantum Physics attempted to dive into smaller and smaller bits of substance, attempting to find the most primordial substance of all, only to find itself biting its own tail like the ouroboros. They noticed the act of observation completely modified or undermined their own experiments. This appears to make the primordial more mysterious than it was in the first place.
Where, then, can an individual even begin to ponder over what the primordial is? Here are three perspectives.
1. The No-Thing
As a black (w)hole. The no-thing is big in eastern and occult lexicon, a paradoxical nothing and everything simultaneously (nonduality). This is what I call a greater duality that has come together as a singularity. The lesser dualities are those that are quite rational in today’s world like a big for every small, whereas the greater ones lie within the territory of a something for every nothing. Imagine if an omnipotent Creator were able to have enough ability to destroy him/her/themselves. This idea would be in perpetual competition with the notion that the creator can withstand anything. One is forced to deduce that the creator can both destroy him/her/themselves and keep him/her/themselves from destroying him/her/themselves. In Zen, this is reminiscent of their versions of yes/no answers being mu, or “not yes, not no”, or “un-do the question”.
Exercise 1: The Gateless Gate
This is a paradox exercise where we perpetually resonate with movement along the totality of life itself. As soon as we reach the peak, however, we switch over to The Void or complete indifference. Once all has turned grey/worthless/meaningless, we switch over to life resonance, full of “Yes, And” and value. This play continues till perhaps we can find a place where both take place simultaneously. In Zen, this has been viewed as The Gateless Gate. It is the paradox of all paradoxes.
Exercise 2: Immovable Force vs Unstoppable Object
See Immovable Force vs Unstoppable Object in the psychodrama & rituals section.
2. Infinitely-Refining Substance
In a black (w)hole. Because Zen philosophy clashes with some Taoist philosophy, we can say as the Taoists do that there is an absolute primordial substance, but the catch is that this primordial substance is perpetually refining itself. Imagine if the same omnipotent creator were able to have enough ability to delve straight into the primordial substance. This idea would be in perpetual competition with the notion that the creator can always go beyond the primordial substance. The idea of an actual existence of a primordial substance would be in perpetual movement like the permutations of pi. In other words, a cosmic programmer would realise he/she/they programmed the primordial substance, but then realise he/she/they had to have been programmed too. There would be a perpetual game of him/her/them as a programmer outprogramming another programmer, a game within ones own self. This would be a game of a serpent biting its own tail. The programmer and programmed would be a greater duality here.
A question to note: Where is the primordial substance in a fractal?
Exercise: Fractal Walk
Slow walk as you control the head string of a miniature version of yourself who is also slow walking. A larger version of yourself who is also slow walking controls you by the head string. Hence, there are three difference sizes of you walking, one in the 3d world and two in the multi-dimensional vaporized world. If possible, imagine this line of controllers of yourself goes on for infinity.
3. Absolute Potential Substance
Nothing more. As one delves into deeper and deeper worlds, one may begin realising that the primordial substance may just be a relational type of thing, where there are only potentials/possibilities. Perhaps in coming to an understanding of this, one may realise that the primordial substance is free will, but free will may clash with determinism, creating another greater duality.
To resonate with the potential space, see section Filler, Idle & Scribble.