My friend Jorge emailed me yesterday to wish me, in advance, to have a happy Create A Vacuum Day, today. I replied to his message to reciprocate and to thank him for his heartfelt wishes. I decided to send him an “e-card” to underline my happy thoughts about the occasion. Unfortunately, there is a virtual vacuum of Create A Vacuum Day e-cards. Jorge will be deprived of an e-card and will be left only with reading my blog today.
While I had the Ecosia search engine page on the screen, I decided to find out about this oddball holiday. There were a few acknowledgements of Create A Vacuum Day’s existence but again, I ran into the virtual vacuum of information about it. Nobody seems to have a clue about who invented it, why it was invented, or what it really commemorates.
Besides the household appliance, we pretty much understand what a vacuum means. There are vacuum-packed coffees, scientific vacuum chambers, and the “vacuum” of Outer Space. In fact the very word, vacuum, derives from the Latin term, vacere, which means to be empty. Wikipedia says that “Vacuum is one of the few words in the English language that contains two consecutive letter u’s.
Because nature allegedly abhors a vacuum, I’ll just go about trying to fill the void of the nature of Create A Vacuum Day with my own ramblings.
Just as it is impossible to create the perfect absolute zero temperature in a laboratory setting, the same can be said about creating the perfect vacuum. There will always be some sort of subatomic particle present inside the vessel being used for the experiment. Even in the vacuum of Space, there is no perfect vacuum present that we know of. There are photons, atomic particles, and the presence of radiation.
Then there is the subject of “mental vacuum”. This regards the lack of intelligent, analytical, critical thinking by allegedly living, breathing human beings. The term is sometimes used as an insult in discussions of controversial topics. For example we might hear, “Regarding his opposition to continued funding of NASA, Senator Jones exists in a mental vacuum.” A mental vacuum exists as a subjective, figurative concept.
Popular pundits might say that Facebook and Twitter are mental vacuums. It’s obvious that the two sites often contain pithy comments and bits of knowledge and legitimate news. On the other hand, people often accuse social media of existing in a mental vacuum when they scroll past seemingly endless cat memes and photos of food-heaped luncheon plates.
“Mental Vacuum” is also the name of an Electronic Dance Music track by the German artist Asamori. I decided to listen to a download of the song while I write this. Perhaps popular music purists think I live in a mental vacuum because I enjoy EDM.
People say that a mental vacuum is a state of mind characterized by ignorance about certain, specific subjects. Selective denial about certain aspects of life sometimes falls into the mental vacuum category. Micheal Shermer once said, “The reason people turn to supernatural explanations is that the mind abhors a vacuum of explanation. Because we do not yet have a fully natural explanation for the mind and consciousness, people turn to supernatural explanations to fill the void.”
There is a concept called “word vacuum”. This is when you realize you’re saying something inappropriate or wrong, halfway through the process of saying it. You wish there was a way to suck the phrase back into your head; hence, word vacuum.
There are creative uses for vacuum cleaners that don’t involve floor maintenance. When I was in college, my roommate once woke me up for final exams with a vacuum. He quietly wheeled the Hoover into my room, away from my bed, unplugged, but with the switch turned “on”. Then he plugged the cord into an outlet down the hallway when it was time to awaken me. This is a good prank, because it really works.
Vacuum is often used metaphorically. Arthur C. Clark once said “There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum.”
What kind of vacuum will you create today?