“The Nothing” is an unusual villain from the German fantasy book “The NeverEnding Story” (a film version was made in 1984)
(*** spoilers below ***)
I use the word “villain” in a loose way, as it’s more of a force of nature. In the story, it is slowly destroying Fantasia, a land of wonder, imagination, and endless variety. In the movie version, “The Nothing” is represented by an ominous storm, and by a large black wolf:
The book is not as concrete, but much more frightening in it’s portrayal. “The Nothing” represents all of the worst of humankind. Apathy, cynicism, despair, and all the darkest aspects of our nature.
In the end, it’s a boy’s imagination and willingness to believe that saves Fantasia from “The Nothing”.
The Nothing: It’s At Work On Our World
Beyond the simple story lies a chilling truth: “The Nothing” is quite real. And it’s been growing. We feed it by giving into our greed, anger, and small-mindedness. Where is it? How can we identify it? And what can be done to stop it? I’ve provided some examples below, and I’m sure once you see it too, you’ll be able to find many more…
The Nothing of Sales and Marketing
We are bombarded every minute of every day by a NeverEnding stream of sales and marketing. Some products and services are worthy of our attention, but the vast majority are not. In the end, they are a waste of our time and money.
So-called “experts” write for industry papers – essays with lots of words, and little or no real meaning. They just want your money. Period.
Pharmaceutical companies come up with new syndromes. Then they tell you that their product is the only solution. You MUST have it.
Smart phones, computers, and all manner of tech want you to believe that you don’t have everything you “need” – and thankfully, they can sell it to you. Then you’ll be popular or successful or loved.
Whatever it is you want, someone will find a way to sell it to you. And even if you don’t want it, they’ll convince you that you do…
The truth: Maybe you don’t need it. Any of it. Turn it off. And in some cases, even warn others away. Why should they waste their time on it?
The Nothing of Politics
Politics has unfortunately become a veritable bastion of “The Nothing”. Vague promises. Outright lies. They truly put into practice the quote “There’s a sucker born every minute”
Some politicians prey on fear. Some on elitism. Some on ignorance.
“The Nothing” politicians want you believe that they are “just like you”… or maybe that you can become who they are. Rich. Powerful. In control.
The truth: Your vote really does count. Take time to find the hidden lies. The vague “Nothing” promises that can never be fulfilled. The telltale con-man routines. Those who tell you what you want to hear, rather than what they believe or will do.
The Nothing of Bigotry
Race, gender, age, social status, and on and on. All of these can be used to separate us. The separation also makes us weaker. Easier to control. Better to have us fighting each other than to notice that those inciting the fight are profiting from it. They are the ones in power. They pull the strings.
The truth: What are you fighting for? Who are you fighting against? Why? We only get one life. One span of time on this planet. I for one don’t want to waste it by fighting. I’d rather hear what you think. I may not agree, but that’s no reason to hate you. Unmask the puppeteers. They are the ones that deserve your anger.
The Nothing of Religion
Fundamentalism and extremism in religion pervert the potential good that it can do. These methods prey upon the weak of spirit to exert control over them. They rely on ignorance and fervor to get people to think and act in terrible, hateful ways. Promises of rewards after death are used to bait the gullible to do the bidding of a handful of corrupt leaders.
The truth: religion, at its best, can be a powerful force for good. It can aid the community and give strength and support to individual members. But it requires open hearts, open eyes, and open minds. If you see any of these tightly closed, it’s a warning sign. Finding the real message and living it takes more than just blind faith.
The Nothing of Social Media
Likes and Counts and Views. Thousands of “friends”, retweets, endorsements. All these are the epitome of “Nothing”, as they have very little to do with the real world, success, or anything of value. We waste our time and energy in endless and pointless discussions with trolls and fools. Worse yet is that they cause us to miss out on all the things that truly matter on life. Real friends. A job well done. Experiencing life.
The truth: obsessing over online minutia is an incredible time suck. Disconnect. Think about what really matters to you. Then do everything you can to reach for it. There’s a lot of nothing online, and I think you deserve much more than that.
Destroying The Nothing
We can push back The Nothing – even banish it for a while. But it will always be there, lurking in the dark. No organization, government, or superhero can defeat it. That’s up to each of us. Individually and together. We have the power and the responsibility.
All it takes is a willingness to fight. Not for money, land or power… but for each other. We must stay alert for “The Nothing”, and call it out when we see it. Political Correctness only gives it a shadow in which to hide. Name it. Stand up for those of us who are in need. Give. Support. Volunteer. Be creative, and inspire creativity. And don’t take any BS.
Think for yourself, but feel for others.
All content written and voiced by Joe J Thomas online at: JoeActor.com
Some children’s stories have deep messages…