Last week, in another unusual dream, I found myself on the desolate, featureless surface of a great orb, attempting to see where there was no light. During the course of conversation with a fellow sojourner (I hope not a fellow, permanent occupant) who acquainted me with the place, I noted a growing glow on the horizon. He responded, “wait for it.”
The orb revolved towards something infinitely more complex and beautiful than a nebula, spectacular in color and variety, awesome upon awesome when compared to the most stunning pictures from Hubble. It was as if we were at the outer limits of a universe, cycling between absolute nothingness and a universe full of light and life and potential that we could observe in wonder, but not partake.
If this is outer darkness, it is far more depressing than I had every before imagined.
On the other hand… (addendum on 2021.1.18)
After thinking about this a bit more, I wonder if there are other interpretations besides the implicit “weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt: 8:12; 22:13; 25:30; etc).” For example, perhaps it holds a degree of optimism and hope, given that outer darkness is not a permanent situation (highlights mine):
13 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil—for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house—and these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil. 14 Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection.Alma 40:13–14
Not to imply that the fiery indignation of the wrath of God is something to hope for, especially if one is to be counted among the sons of perdition (see: Doctrine and Covenants 76:30–49). But, what of those eventually included in verse 43: [Jesus] glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of His hands, except those sons of perdition who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him?
On the other hand, perhaps this represents cycles of descent and ascent?
On the other hand, perhaps there is something regarding discernment of light and dark, good and evil, truth and untruth?
On the other hand, might this additionally be attempting to juxtapose and thereby emphasize the magnificence of light and life and truth and all things wonderful?
On the other hand, might this be a type of temporal chiasmus? To what end, I have no idea.
On the other hand….
Or perhaps, Tevye, there is no other hand.