is not

Nothing from Nothing

Nothing from Nothing


A Novella for None


“An odd, almost mocking title”, Nosirrah called it, “a book that had cost me everything in my life and had given me naught.” The less said about this book the better, as the book itself would suggest. Not for the faint-hearted, and clearly written from the depths of Nosirrah’s being, or non-being as he might prefer to say it.

Nosirrah weaves his way through familiar and not-so-familiar waters, from Sartre to Star Trek, Kafka to Mr. Wizard, Wagner to Puke Rock (don’t ask) with no metaphysical or cultural holds barred to communicate something beyond them all.


In print: Released 2009 by Sentient Publications



The following review of Nothing from Nothing was written by Asil Nietshce Lak the noted North Caucasian Language Scholar, Kabbalist and Juhuro Musician (the Juhuro are also known as the “Mountain Jews of the Caucasas“). Lak is, strangely, a distant relative of Friedrich Nietzsche and, of course, Lak is reputed to be one of the remarkable persons Gurdjieff met in his wanderings through the Caucasus, perhaps part of the Sarong Sisterhood, the precurser to the better known Sarmoung Brotherhood. Lak is considered to be a prime influence on the development of Nosirrah’s reputed psychic abilities as recounted in his book Practical Obsession and later in coveying to him the esoteric inner essence of the Kama Sutra, particularly the full lotus mounted butterfly position as recounted in Nosirrah’s Chronic Eros (Nosirrah claims to still have scars to prove his mastery of that position).

For Juhuro music, click here (may be Lak on clarinet, we don’t have documentation)

We are honored to be able to publish this review by Asil Nietshce Lak:

Nothing from Nothing by N. Nosirrah is my favorite neoclassic, neocon, neopro, post-spiritual, post mortem, nouveau riche “DeNoted from the Underground” novella I ever read.

It belongs in my collection of “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”, as well as in that classic revised edition of the anthology, “The Soul Unearthed” which stands proudly next to my “Waiting for the Barbarians” by Coetzee on the bookshelf in the kitchen.

It’s a ‘must-read’ for the suicidal die-hards, a ‘thumbs-up’ for the perennial hitchhikers on a spiritual quest, a ‘high-five’ for the hot-headed cool dudes, and a low-blow to the high-falutin feminists…
Need I say more? Alright, I will.
A ‘hands-down’ for the gluttons of pleasure, a ‘heads-up’ for the fear-mongers of doom, an enthusiastic “HURRAH” for the uncommitted, and a “Here-Here” for the neither here nor there.

Even spell-check couldn’t correct it-that’s how cosmically O.K. it is.

In short, I love this book, this book loves me, I will put my dyslexic right hand on it as the oath by which I swear to and pronounce, in paternal matrimony: “Holy of Holies, Nothing from Nothing, I don’t!”

—Asil Nietshce Lak, Dagistan

Everything in this book, from the very title and name of the author, is playfully nihilistic, and not to be taken seriously. The author, it might be said, is carrying out the work of Shiva the destroyer, to bring down every preconception we might have about belief, art, the self, the novel, meaning, and existence itself. Yet like the wisdom of yoga, there is a redeeming wisdom here which can delight in the very spirit of playful dance, in which destruction and creation are two faces of the same art.

From the very beginning, the so-called Editor’s Preface, by a Lydia Smyth, is suspect, along with the Foreword by a dubious Nebirk Yallip. Later in the text the author interjects conversation with said editor, hinting also at personal relationship issues with her (among other attractions). These digressions are par for the course in a narrative that follows no linear thread, but the sparking digressions of a brain wired to everything and nothing at once.

The approach is ironic, in the tradition of Tristam Shandy. It is Nietzchean, in its bold broad strokes of overturning every conventional assumption in favor of a revolutionary insistence on the power of truth in the momentary impulse of expression. It is post-modern, discursive, tangential, irreverent, profane, fearless. It is at once “not an easy read” and effortless.

—Alternative Culture Blog

References in this Book

“Nothing from Nothing”: song by Billy Preston which went to #1 in 1974, considered the 5th Beatle, there is no direct evidence that Nosirrah was friends with Preston however the reference to the song suggests a dating of Nosirrah’s book to around the mid-1970’s. The original edition of the book had 1975 on the copyright page.

Nothing from Nothing has multiple references to and images of dogs including: The Fool with dog, the muse with “newly acquired attack dog”, Diogenes living like a dog, Edward’s future non-dog who becomes “indolent and incontinent”, Nosirrah biting German Shepherd, Nosirrah being able to tell dog from dog but not face from face. In the Introduction to the novella, childhood friend and long-time associate Nebirk Yallip mentions feces-eating dogs as part of Nosirrah’s Tantric training, but goes further by explaining that Nosirrah suffers from Cynophobia yet another serious psychiatric syndrome that serves to deepen Nosirrah’s realization of “the non-existence of a personal self in an intelligent and energetic non-dual universe.” (from the Introduction by Nebirk Yallip)

“This was the zero of kha” from the Nosirrah text: in the Upanishads or the early Buddhist tantras kha is associated with the element space, and symbolizes the emptiness and vastness of primordial consciousness. Kha occurs in the mantra of Mahavairocana.

Nosirrah believed that he once lived in earlier times as Diogenes the Cynic, an ancient Greek philosopher, lived in a barrel like a dog. And like a dog, it was reported that he would defecate anywhere he wanted to, masturbate in the public market and urinate at those who insulted him. He believed that men are like dogs–that all public norms, conventions and property are but inventions that have no relation to the real inclinations of men.

Legend has it that one day Alexander the Great saw Diogenes in his barrel and offered that he would grant any wish the dog had. Diogenes then gave his wish: he asked Alexander to step out his light.

Meister Eckhart interprets this encounter as:

That is why the man who sat naked in the barrel said to the great Alexander, who had all the world subject to him: “I am a far greater lord that you, for I have despised more than you have possessed. All the things that you thought so great that you wanted them were too little for me to dispose.”

In short, the Conqueror of the known world could not conquer the dog’s barrel.

Diogenes (aka Diogenes of Sinope )was the student of Antisthenes known in antiquity as an accomplished orator, a companion of Socrates, and a philosopher, Antisthenes presently gains renown from his status as either a founder or a forerunner of Cynicism. It is obvious that at least in the inscrutable mind of Nosirrah, he owes a great deal of his direct and uninhibited nature to his experiences as a student of this remarkable Greek philosopher.

More references by page number:

Antisthenes, p. 2
Dick Cavett, p. 4
Johnny Carson, p. 4
Alice B. Toklas, p. 6
Franz Kafka, p. 6
Shakti, p. 7
Godhead, p. 24
Captain Kirk, p. 24
Star Trek, p. 24
The Fool, p. 26
Bucky Fuller, p. 26
Caveat Emptor, p. 30
NORAD, p. 30
Surgeon General, p. 30
Bardo, p. 32
Sartre, p. 32
Hegel, p. 32

Daniel Felsenfeld, page 34: this article was discovered which might explain why the Felsenfeld in GIAA is an English professor and one who is indeed clueless that “he himself was not anchored in any reality at all.”

There are rumors, unconfirmed by this website it is important to note, that Nosirrah and the actual Felsenfeld are one and the same. The only Felsenfeld that could be confirmed at this time and the presumed subject of the above referenced New Yorker article is a composer as follows:


Repeated calls to the New Yorker have gone unanswered. As of this writing, we just dont know who the real Felsenfeld or Nosirrah is, whether they are the same, related, known to each other or figments of each others imaginations in an endless regression of fragmenting reality.

Please let us know if you find anything out about this subject.

Skinner, p. 34
Mr. Wizard, p. 38
Tesla, p. 38
Erich Kleiber, p. 39
Reichstag, p. 39
D Minor, p. 40
Bruckner, p. 40
Symphony No. 0, p. 40
Fritz Zaun, p. 40
Gertrude Stein, p. 40
Bernard Fay, p. 42
Akashic records, p. 43
John Kennedy, p. 44
Sixties, p. 45
Om Shanti Shanti, p. 45
Maharshi, p. 45
Mia Farrow, p. 45
Zen, p. 45
Tao de Ching, p. 47
Michio Kushi, p. 51
Okinawan Karate, p. 51
Marlboro Country, p. 54
Madison Avenue, p. 54
Nicholas Chauvin, p. 55
Napoleon, p. 55
Waterloo, p. 55
Richard Nixon, p. 55
Wagner, p. 62
Brahms, p. 62
Tristan und Isolde, p. 63
Schumann, p. 64
Punk kids, p. 65
Diogenes, p. 66
Eureka, p. 67
Feta, p. 67
Falafel, p. 67
Socrates, p. 69
Plato, p. 70
The Devil, p. 71
Goethe, p. 72
The Invisible Man, p. 72
Fortran efficiency, p. 75
Pi, p. 76
Le delire de negation, p. 81
Jules Cotard, p. 81
Cotard Syndrome, p. 81
Proust, p. 82
Rotary Club, p. 86
Saint Jerome, p. 89
Divine Feminine Principal, p. 90
Mercury, p. 91
Mahavira, p. 94
Jain, p. 95
Ahimsa, p. 96
Book of the Dead, p. 98
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, p. 103
Humpty (dumpty), p. 106
Prosopagnosia, p. 106
The Twilight Zone, p. 111
Julie Christie, p. 111
Doctor Zhivago, p. 111
Omar Sharif, p. 111
Elizabeth Taylor, p. 111
Cleopatra, p. 111 (movie)
David Lean, p. 111
Lawrence of Arabia, p. 111
NY Times, p. 112
Lara Antipova, p. 112
Red Cross, p. 114
Albrightsville, PA, p. 115
Grand Lady of the Poconos, p. 115
Quaker, p. 116
Coors, p. 117
Charlton Heston, p. 118
Madalyn Murray O’hair, p. 118
Bishop Fulton Sheen, p. 118
Ford Fairlane, p. 121


The Foreword:

It is unusual to find a foreword written to a novella, yet when Lydia Smyth asked me to write something to explain both this work of considerable mastery and its author, N. Nosirrah, whom I have known since childhood, I saw a chance to contribute something, however small, to this profound project.

Nosirrah is a chameleon, a man whose compassion and connection to the human condition and to the everyday people he encountered led him to a kind of fluidity of identification. He has no sense of time—by that I mean not time of day, but rather present, past or future, that is, where he stood in that continuum and whether he was flowing forward, backward, or in random temporal patterns—and this in combination with his flexible identity led him to inhabit many lives in many times as if these lives were his own. Perhaps those many lives were in fact his lives, after all these were not just the imaginings of a novelist, or as some say, a schizophrenic sociopath, but this is really trans-location of the mystic moving through the medium of divine madness, mind without boundary. He is convinced, for example, that he is the bastard child of Alice B. Toklas, the result of her one night stand with Franz Kafka in Berlin. It seems an impossibility—he seems hardly that old—yet nothing is impossible with Nosirrah.

Those of us who have the firm conviction of our selfhood, who are deeply attached to the elements of belief that give our lives meaning and who are certain that the past is known and behind us, the future ahead and unseen, will find the state of mind of Nosirrah quite difficult to comprehend. Yet despite this great challenge, we can easily see the brilliance of his words, the depth of his insight and the creative invention of his life in all of its cinematic detail.

For Nosirrah, life is a dream—not just a dream, but an agitated dream, interrupted by sudden gasping apneatic awakenings, then these awakenings themselves interrupted by dreams, until the whole of being is a dream that is awake—a state of awakening that has the richness and sinuous quality of hallucination, of delusion, but nevertheless a stark vision of reality itself deconstructed to its essential energy. Yes, he has been sent to psychiatrists more times then I can count, but he always came out of the seventy-two hour involuntary hold feeling that he had helped them and quite willing to return should life deliver him again to the psych ward.

Many have been taken aback by his relationship to women, and I myself have found it shocking to observe his animal magnetism in relation to women despite nature's unkind endowment of his truly repulsive physical characteristics, well noted in his writings. Here we must make a leap in our own consciousness to understand this is Nosirrah, a jnani who is beyond causality. Perhaps for you or me, a crude, anatomically descriptive pick-up line to a waitress during an otherwise sedate meal would be a shocking departure from social norms, but for Nosirrah, this is not just a buxom young woman, but the Goddess herself, and his attempts to seduce her, and the women in the booth behind him and the ones on the other side of the restaurant, and the policewoman called by the manager to eject him, are simply his worship of the Feminine Principal incarnate, his adoration of Shakti.

Equally disturbing is Nosirrah's fascination with urination and bodily secretions of all kinds, many of which seem to spontaneously erupt from him at inopportune times. This is not simply the infantile fixation of a man who was left to potty train himself and did so by reading a plumbing manual. When body liquids or semi-solids squirt from Nosirrah these are the fluid stigmata of a saint, and the result of Nosirrah's Tantric mastery. In India and Nepal, Nosirrah, under the guidance of a Tantric master, performed long ritual meditations in that tradition so as to transcend the thoughts and feelings of disgust with all bodily fluids as well as other Hindu special concerns such as carrion, feces-eating dogs, and dead bodies, as well as clothes that have been in contact with a sick or dead body, food that has been spit upon, pecked at by birds, smelt at by cows, touched with the foot, sneezed on, or defiled by hair or insects and all other impure and polluted substances. In other words, when Nosirrah urinates, it is from his exalted perspective the release of nectar, and only for we who are still veiled in illusion does it appear to be stinky pee.

Dogs are of special interest to Nosirrah. In part this is due to his unusual upbringing in which there was virtually no acknowledgment of his existence. This led him to two profound but irreconcilable theories of self which he developed at a prodigiously young age. His first theory was that of the non-existence of a personal self in an intelligent and energetic non-dual universe. The second theory of self was that he was a dog.

Nosirrah would be well into his adolescence before he unified these two theories by developing cynophobia, the irrational fear of dogs, and hence an intense self-hatred of his delusional dog self as well as all the rest of the unfortunate canines living in his neighborhood. While his new phobia allowed him to meld his personality into a singular but depersonalized self, he would from that time on be morbidly interested in dogs biting and being bitten as you will see throughout this novella.

Who is Nosirrah and what is his message for mankind? I have been with him from nearly the beginning, and have listened to him as he traveled the world talking with those who needed to meet him, yet I can tell you only this: you, the reader, the seeker, the lover, the fool, are yourself the message that Nosirrah brings; you are the revelation and you are nothing, just as I am nothing, and Nosirrah is nothing, and from this nothing which we all are comes forth nothing, and this is the shattering, silent beauty expressed in this incomparable work written in precise and elegant words meant for none.

—Nebirk Yallip


You cannot hope to discover anything at all in this book.

Put this book down unless you cannot.

You cannot interpret these words, you can only read them.

You cannot read these words, you can only imagine that you are reading them.

You cannot imagine reading these words, you are being imagined.

Your imagination is not flexible enough to imagine itself.

Unless it is.

And then, it does not imagine, it only knows.

What it knows is that you are reading these words and interpreting them precisely.

What these words say is that they say nothing, that you say it all as you read them.

You construct the meaning that is not there unless you do, and is not there if you do. Meaning is not there, it is constructed as there. There is nothing before it, there is nothing after it, there is nothing during it. There is no it. It is just a word, without meaning unless you construct that meaning, and then it has none, it just has construction.

You cannot understand that there is nothing that is something; you can only understand that there is something, or that there is nothing. Either is a universe that you understand. Or is a universe that you understand. This is dual and what is dual can be understood. If you want understanding then you must find another source, another book, another group of words. These words cannot bring you understanding, only chaos.

Some say chaos is freedom, but it is not. There is no freedom because there is no prison, and no prisoner. Chaos doesn’t bring you freedom, it brings you nothing, and takes away everything, then it takes away the nothing.


I visited Nothing, but you think I am joking. I found what I was looking for there. You might, too.You can go there yourself, although I don’t recommend it. It exists and it doesn’t exist at the same time, it is a place called Nothing, Arizona. Mile Post 148 1/2, Highway 93, Population 4 +/-.

But if you go there and there is nothing, it is because you are looking for something, and you won’t find it there, you will just find your looking. Go there looking for nothing and you will find Nothing, and it will be exactly what you are looking for, just as it is, just as you are, just nothing.

You may think I am joking but I never visited Nothing and you will never visit there either. Send me a postcard when you get there, they sold them at the gas station when I was there last. I will tell that tale another time, in another way, the story of my life, the story of no life, the life I will write about in the future about my past which will always and forever be read in the present. I will call it Practical Obsession for life is exactly that, isn’t it.?

But I was a fool then, and a wanderer, just like the tarot card, with a dog nipping at me, walking along the edge of a cliff. Is it faith that allows us to walk on the edge of destruction in our lives, or is it naiveté? The Fool is oblivious to these categories, each step is its own adventure, its own moment, its own universe with only the dog of time, the hounding of reality taking a bite out of his Foolish ass here and there. And, of course, in the Tarot cards, the Fool is number 0, he is nothing and doesn’t seem to even notice.