The value of emptiness

Aristotle was the Greek philosopher who wrote the idiom, “Nature abhors a vacuum”. This means wherever there is emptiness or a void, it tends to become filled with something. This happens in the natural world – things move from greater concentration to lower concentration – to balance a system. This also applies to our lives.


Examples of Voids

Whenever we believe that we have a void or “missing something”, the tendency is to want to fill it with what it is we are lacking. There are many examples of this. If your bank account is empty, you seek to fill it with money. If you have hunger pangs and your stomach feels empty, you seek out food. If you lack a relationship, you look to find someone with whom you can develop a relationship. A little secret; there are no voids, we fill our space with something.

The feeling that we lack something is often a misperception in our mind. There is no absolutism when it comes to feeling an emptiness. A couple who have no children may be totally happy with their lives and don’t feel that they are missing anything. Another couple without children and the same amount of money may feel miserable; they perceive that there is a great void in their lives. If you have a million dollars in the bank, you may feel you don’t lack anything. Another person with a million dollars may have great anxiety because he feels anything less than 10 million dollars is a shortage. The only difference is the perception of the individuals.

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Purpose of Voids

Voids serve a useful purpose. On a simple level, if you throw out half of the clothes in your closet, you are more likely to buy more clothes. When we have voids, we are often motivated to remedy the situation. In fact, it drives our purpose. I can recall in high school my parents taking me for a psychological evaluation when I failed year 12. The results of two days of tests were that I would never finish high school, and gaining acceptance into university was out of the question. I believe that perceived void drove me to achieve, and I went on to university and completed two degrees.


Many seniors have a sense of emptiness in their lives. It is often a good idea to write down what the perceived voids are and then to look at where in your life those things are not missing. Alternatively, you can turn the question around and determine how you can fill the void. Write down as many answers as you can. This will start your brain thinking how you can create a new purpose in your life with new goals.


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