Tintin as an explanation of nothingness

Philippe Ratte explains in ‘Tintin or access to the self’ that Hergé’s comics hero appeared out of nowhere, suddenly, in 1929, in ‘Tintin in the Land of the Soviets’. No past, no family, not even from an egg. Hergé is his father but has not put a single sperm in it. Tintin is the epitome of something seemingly emerging from nothing.

Nothingness on the couch

Étienne Klein takes up the idea in ‘All is not relative’ (2017) to make the analogy with the origin of the universe, starting from nothingness. To speak of nothing is already to make something appear. If a beginning is in a context then the context is supposed to have a beginning as well. An infinite chain settles that discredits the idea of a ultimate beginning. The word becomes a contradiction in itself.

Tintin saves the day, as an example of something out of nothing. It is not the simplest of his adventures, but he can stay at home: his existence is enough to solve the case! But did he really come out of nothingness?

Tintin makes his Oedipus on mother Nothingness

Étienne Klein’s strength is to mix seriousness and humor, both of which are never pure. He lets his readers make do with the mix, take what suits them. Some will see it as a joke, others as an enlightenment. There is not much distance between the two, actually. Isn’t humor rooted in the improbable and the unknown, in what we are able to imagine and which is very unlikely to be crossed?

Tintin as an explanation of nothingness is part of a particular conception of reality. Étienne, like most physicists and especially mathematicians, is seduced by the idea of a world of ideas, this concept attributed to Plato ideals flying over the world and giving it its structure. In this dualistic reality, Tintin emerges from nothingness because he arrives from an entirely independent universe, that of ideals, which is imprinted in Hergé’s thought.

Not only does Tintin know the origin of the universe —it’s the same as his own— but he has a transdimensional spaceship capable of instantly bringing it from the world of ideals through a wormhole, the worm being a parasite of Hergé’s brain —I tease Étienne in turn.

Virtual Transfer

For the serious still online, keeping the monistic universe requires reintegrating the birth of Tintin, and the virtuality of thoughts, in the form of neural patterns complicating information: Tintin suddenly appears on the front page of the newspaper, but all its constituents were there for a long time. The character is quite simple and Hergé must have imagined him awake. Many more complicated ones were born in dreams or on LSD.

Not born out of nothing. Nothingness remains an oxymoron, cancelling itself out as soon as it is stated. The origin to the universe probably does not exist. I would rather compare this origin to the egg from which Tintin was not born.


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