In previous essays (The Bubble, Inverse Realities and Intransigence), I've described a creation that includes much more than we generally are willing to grant it. We generally think of the universe as all that is. When we grope to think of what is beyond or before creation, we simply imagine an absence of all that is. What we ignore is that creation must include all that is not as well. The very concept of binary existence—that something could either be or not be—had to be created.

That puts the Creator of this scheme in a different light as well: The Creator originates the very concept of yes and no, being and non-being, presence and absence—and is therefore beyond such. To Him, all of these lump together into a single pile: His act of creating. Just as His will sustains the existence of things that are, so He sustains the very concept that they could also not be.

To illustrate, lets ask a question: What would happen if He would cease for a moment to sustain the creation? You might answer that the world would disappear. Something like when you turn off the TV or computer display—the world it was projecting no longer is there. The author of the Tanya, however, writes otherwise. He states that in that case the world would not be absent--it would never have been, just as before it was created. Absence is also a creation—and that would be gone as well. Perhaps a closer analogy, then, is the experience of being rudely awakened from a daydream—not only do we often forget the daydream, we sometimes even forget the fact that we were daydreaming. That chunk of time is virtually removed from our reality. (Unfortunately, it may not be removed from your supervisors reality.)

This presents the most elegant answer to the problem I discussed in my last essay—the problem of intransigence, that G‑d does not change. Even as He is involved in the world and concerned over the outcome of things, none of this implies any change in Him. You are He before the world was created, You are He after the world is created, we say in our morning prayers. Why? Because for Him, existence and non-existence are equal entities.

As the Psalmist wrote, To You, darkness and light are all the same. To us, light is something and darkness is a non-entity—it is no more than a void of light. To Him, however, both energy and the absence of energy are equal building blocks for constructing a world.

Wild as it sounds, we actually have achieved a limited comprehension of this idea in recent times. For millennia, thinking minds considered the entire universe to be composed of two elements as distinct from one another as you could get: matter and energy. Matter was considered to be essentially inert with no inherent quality other than that it takes up space. Energy, on the other hand, was conceived as a quality of things, occupying no space of its own, without mass or form. Quite simply, matter is the quantity of things, energy the quality. Energy pushes matter about, matter reacts to energy with movement and change.

In the world of matter, then, energy is not a thing—it is just a quality of things. Vice-versa, from energys point of view, matter is nothing more than an obstruction of energy.

What a surprise, then, to discover that matter can be converted into energy and vice versa. Yet, with a footnote scribbled incidentally on an obscure thesis, this is exactly what a young patent clerk named Albert Einstein proposed. And our use of nuclear power today bears it forth.

Research with matter and antimatter provides further examples, as does research with positive and negative particles. Perhaps, eventually, we will have concrete evidence that the cosmos is no more than a bread sandwich (i.e.: two slices of bread with another slice in between. Most often composed by upper middle class kids desperate for variety of cuisine while traveling and roughing it.) We will come up with a model of the universe where the foreground and the background are essentially the same stuff—as absurd as that sounds.

When we do, the Kabbalists wont be surprised. The "Ari" (16th century Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria) describes the process of creation in terms of an ongoing interplay of positive and negative energy (light and vessels, gilui and tzimtzum), extending from the two principal names of G‑d, Elokim and Havaye. Havaye is the Creator as He shines forth His creative light and His presence, Elokim is the same Creator in a mode of eclipsing and negating that light. With each negation (hester), the light is stepped down into the realm of a lower world. That world becomes entirely divorced from the world before it, containing a light that is darkness relative to the previous light.

Thats all from the subjective view of those conscious minds created within this scheme. The concealment process, however, works something like one-way mirrors—looking from above down, all is clear as day. The darkness hides nothing. Whatever light was negated was only negated for the receiving end. From His perspective everything that was there to begin with is there at the end.

Before every reader is lost, we need a good analogy. The best analogy for this concept is not from physics, but from psychology. Pedagogy, to be precise. The analogy is analogy itself:

Teaching abcs is one thing, but lets say someone has to teach something deep. Lets take a profound philosopher and put him in a room with a few bright young nudniks who ask questions like, Why is there evil in the world? or What is the meaning of life?

The philosopher has put his lifetime into examining these questions. Maybe he wrote papers about them. But thats not going to help much right now, because these kids wont understand a word of what he wrote there. Not only will they not be answered if he talks that way to them—theyll be totally bewildered and regret they ever asked a thing to begin with.

Right now, hes going to have to put aside all the fancy words and elaborate proofs and go back to the essential core of the matter—the raw, naked point from which his ideas extended in the first place. Once there, he can begin to dress that point up all over again—this time with very different clothes.

What kind of clothes? Clothes that kids can relate to. Clothes that are very alien to his world, but fit nicely into the world of a child. He may give examples from action heroes, baseball, candies and ice cream. He might make up a story built from the characters and common objects of the childs world.

The interesting thing is that those metaphors may be entirely alien to the concept the philosopher is trying to teach. But that is also part of his genius—just as he is a genius at plunging the depths of a problem, just as he is a genius at abstracting a concept and stripping it to its most fundamental core, so he is a genius at perceiving reflections of it in common, everyday matters. When he looks at a baseball, he doesnt just see a baseball, he sees this concept he wants to teach. And so, he can use it for a metaphor.

So the children get a story, and the story is meant to teach them something. Initially, they may just hear the story. But then they think, We asked him a question. Why did he tell us a story? And they realize that there is a meaning to the story. And they go on and realize that some of the details of the story dont fit perfectly—they sort of stick out a little bit. So those details must contain deeper meanings. If they hold on to the story for long enough—forty years, the Talmud tells us—and they work hard at it, they may come to understand the depths their teacher invested into that story.

To the students, the artifacts of the story comprise a layer of clothing covering over an idea. Like layers of wrappings over a birthday gift, the ice-cream metaphor, the baseball parable, the candies example—all these act as packaging inside packaging, layers upon layers of clothing to sift through until they can reach the idea.

But to the philosopher cum story teller, the packaging is all transparent. When he talks about ice-cream, he doesnt think ice-cream—he feels the idea that ice-cream represents. In fact, he doesnt see a simple story at all—he sees an explanation.

After all, what is the philosophers idea wrapped in but his own mind? His analogy is like the turtle that lives in a house made of itself. So too, the story that provides a house for these deep ideas is built of that same authors creativity. The only difference is that the content behind the story expresses the authors ability to understand and make clear that which is obscure to others, whereas the process of telling a story expresses his ability to abstract an idea and see it in other forms.

For the student, the teachers story is the teachers mind wrapped up in a story. For the teacher it is his mind wrapped up in his mind.

Now, think of all this world and everything it contains as one big parable. Those who have no questions take it at face value. They believe the artifacts of this story exist on their own right. They dont even see a story.

Those who know it is a story examine it and discover meaning inside. They begin to see how G‑d communicates with us through the artifacts of His world. They see that water expresses infinite kindness, fire expresses infinite might, the sweetness of a fruit expresses wisdom, birds express the freedom of the soul, fish express the oneness of existence in the hidden worlds. These people peel away the outer layers to find the sparks of truth inside.

The Grand Storyteller, however, looks at the story and sees nothing but Himself thinking about Himself. The energy of existence is no more than His infinite wisdom. And the filters and negations of that energy are no more than His power to find expression of that wisdom in finite forms. The Power of Being and the Power of Not-Being. At the convergence of both, there is He in His raw Essence.

As ethereal as all this may sound, it has very practical application. Viewing life as a parable for infinite wisdom, we begin to see the bumps and bruises in a different light. They are no longer obstacles standing in the way of what you wish to achieve. Like the anomalies the sage purposely places in his story, they are tight knots of light, waiting for you to unravel them and discover the wisdom they are made of.