The strange Frenchness universalised in L’appel du vide


Like all things French, L’appel du vide entices almost with its ‘appealing’ consonance. Vide however its vying for the vacuum in the void and the magic of its relating assumes some sinisterness indeed.

The appeal of the void is what this phrase finds literal translation as, variously invoked also as call of the void. Palpable through either of these alludings though is the intent that is stark in an unsettling intensity, of a sudden, strong urge to give in to this yearning of manifesting perhaps the charms that remain mired in mystery. Thankfully however, this urge is rather short lived and seldom ‘hypnotising’ enough to find horrific realisation but that does not take away the eerie essence embedded in this expression of actually easy explanation.

Afforded in exact terms of the scientific through a specific exploration of it as the High Place Phenomenon is this experience rather commonly encountered. The reason behind this less poetic, more representation naming of it as such is also a draw upon the commonplaceness of its occurrence as an urge that strikes most when you are up somewhere really high and staring into the depths of the world that however physical it might be, still expresses as a void tempting enough to lose oneself in.

What the deep- seated urge of l’appel du vide expresses as is an impulsive thought in jumping off from a cliff or a ledge for instance even when it can also retail through other accounts of such experiences considerably steeped in danger. Interestingly though, many of these prospects presenting the appeal that reside in the void entail certain risks that one would not consciously entertain, at least not unless they are suicidal or harbouring self harming. From the consideration of swerving into incoming traffic for instance or putting your hand in a fire, even if for just a split second, this momentary call that the void asserts upon our subconscious can even be curious cases for a more certain consciousness to come around.

With some strangeness permeating then the entire extent of this perfectly composed expression, the impulse felt through this death wish sort of a narrative might not prove to be very convincing in its normalisation. But normal it is indeed an experience of universality for the human that derives upon many of the natural instincts to uphold the preciousness that dear life entails.

L’appel du vide can hence be exacted also as an emotion through which the pursuit of thrill rules as rather prominent. Consider it in another context and as relevant could be the freedom that one comes to realise in these few fleeting moments of courting possible danger- of choosing not to do so. All of these ultimately stir the same passion in living, one that perhaps would not prove to be so enriching- even exhilarating, an experience if not for the uncertainty of it.

call of the void
Source: Reddit

The romanticisation then of death, and ultimately of life, both of which bear no emotion whether of appeal or of escaping outside the other can be loosely presented in an ironic explanation of this generally inexplicable phenomenon. Tiptoeing on the edges of the known to afford even if just a hazy glimpse into what lies beyond the world of our knowledge is quite some stepping upon intrigue and l’appel du vide is one of the many ways we are led to scout the possibilities that exist thereout, that perhaps promise as being exciting due to the sheer unfamiliarity of them.

The high place phenomenon proves to be simpler than what it strikes as initially, as an unnerving thought of being susceptible in hurling oneself into the nothingness of what death is, without even wanting to do so. Reasonably therefore, this call of the void does not possess the alarming intensity that would have exclusively linked it to suicidal tendencies and/ or psychological disorders. Intense it still is though in a different sense of evoking and one that plays out even more poignantly the enigma in which the human existence is forever rested.

In a less profound assertion of its essence, the instinctive desire to explore this realm of the unfamiliar can be attributed to simply a miscommunication in the brain. By having this urge occur in an intensity considerable enough for its realisation and regarding, we might be in fact warned to avoid a possible danger lurking somewhere there in all threat of its reality. An instinct that feeds into our mechanism of survival while deriving also upon that very desire, l’appel de vide can be pretty much open ended an interpretation of what one holds it to be.

In other aspects of occurring, this encounter can also be complex in its paradoxicality. Considering it exclusively in regard to the high place premise of its holding substance and the urge to jump in can also be experienced by those afraid of heights enough to identify as acrophobic. But isn’t it this very version of precariousness that the void digs in to harbour that appeal? A fear of heights is most plausibly factored by this concern and possibility in falling from such elevations, and yet l’appel du vide manifests also its swift charm to those experiencing the other end of the extreme.

It could be such arising in ambiguity or even conflict that this experience is shied away from admitting by many of us who have indeed found themselves having such flickers of thought occurring in their mind. The possibilities that present in pointing perhaps to a fragile state of mental existence through accounts like these means that one might shy away from voicing their vivid dealing with such emotions of the supposedly untoward.

lappel du vide
Source: Etsy

To quite the contrary instead, this positing of the mind bears much rosiness in the seeming darks and greys of its proclamation. How this works might not be an explanation afforded in equal lucidity but the fact of the matter asserts that those who encounter such urges would be less likely to actually give in to them. It might be a case of mastering the mind such that it learns not to be too impulsive or an assertion instead of its more present awareness, availed from the larger case of what is collectively referred to as intrusive thoughts.

The call of the void is only one strand of expression that occurs as intrusive. Elsewhere on the spectrum, the urge might strike as one that tend to push someone else off a cliff for instance or one that courts even more obvious a specificness in its assertion as a throwing the baby impulse. In either case though the probability in actually doing what struck as a momentary thought is sufficiently weak, meaning that hearing the call of the void might even be something to seek out to validate one’s own sanity.

A random experience then in such oddness of an yearning or even some reasonably spaced out expressions of similar kind need not be concerning; it in fact can be pondered over in more positive a light of receiving. Letting l’appel du vide retain its poetic, or let’s say its oh so French! appeal by refusing to lapse into the void of the world while still musing upon its magnetic almost might makes for quite the liberated, worthy experience in living.