The following occurred one afternoon years after my letters to Paul. We had just arrived at a bed and breakfast in Iceland. Signs of the financial crisis littered the sea-ports. Men carried signs, ‘Fish or Algorithms for Food.’
Therefore, the Fate which up to this point has lacked consciousness and consists in an empty repose and oblivion, and is separated from self-consciousness, this Fate is now united with self-consciousness.
‘I have a question,’ Paul raises his hand, ‘I have always felt like an oblivion, well- I mean, an empty repose. Really.’ I watch Paul turn a little white and pink. ‘Does that change anything?’
The individual self is the negative power through which and in which the gods, as also their moments, viz. existent Nature and the thoughts of their specific characters, vanish.
‘Am I an individual self?’ Paul asks himself. He picks a few hairs from his arm. ‘I conquer gods?’ Paul taps his finger-nails. ‘I kill their existence, I kill their moments, but I am just a moment!’ He watched me, then said before I could, ‘Repeating moments!’
At the same time, the individual self is not the emptiness of this disappearance but, on the contrary, preserves itself in this very nothingness, abides with itself and is the sole actuality.
‘I wouldn’t change this day for the world,’ Paul turns at me, ‘I wouldn’t wish to be alone for the world.’ I notice something I have never noticed, in the way Paul speaks. There is something to his use of mono-syllables. It is as if he uses them like sounding boards, that is, as if when he spoke he spoke to himself. That when he looks at me, he looks through me, he even looks through the trees behind me. That, I suppose, is how emptiness sees.
All quotes: Phenomenology of Spirit. Hegel.