The Relationship Blog

The Hole, My Book on Accepting Emptiness – How Our Government Could Have Used This Knowledge

My book The Hole deals with the most dreaded thing to mankind, which is emptiness. I wrote the book to teach people to respect their emptiness, not to reject it, or run from it. It needs to be appreciated and integrated, as it is an essential part of our nature. If we look at the government shut down, they don’t allow any emptiness. As a result, they’re constantly trying to fill up this empty bottomless hole with their own egos, their know-it-all attitude, and what they are trying to prove. If they were to really integrate and respect emptiness, they wouldn’t have a desire to fill the hole with all this nonsense. If you can accept emptiness, you can accept anything.

How would that fit in a dialogue with a Republican or Democrat?

The key to my book, The Hole, is that most of us are frightened of the hole and are constantly seeking out ways to fill it. We believe that some external thing is going to fill it and whatever we deem as the thing to fill it, we’re going to be very attached to it. What recently occurred with the government shutdown is that different people got attached to different things. For example, the democrats are attached to Obama Care and the Republicans are opposed to it. Each side thinks that their stance is going to fill them and make them whole. When we get attached to something like this, we get invested in it, and your ego gets involved.

Let’s take the example of guns. Many Americans think that having guns and the right to have guns is going to fill them, protect them, and take care of them to the point that hold on tight to this view. As a result we are not able to address the violence in our country when people think that guns are the answer to their life. This pattern is never ending as we’re constantly coming up with things that we think are going to fill us and become the answer to our life. We get caught up in wars thinking that they will be the answer, or if we accomplish this or that, that they will be the answer. The beauty of the book, The Hole, is the realization that no external thing is ever the answer. That the only way you can ever fill anything is to accept your own emptiness. And it works, paradoxically. When you can accept that, only then can you feel full.

The Feeling of Emptiness

Emptiness is the same as a space, or a void. It’s part of being able to appreciate that you’re relating to something. If there was no space, you wouldn’t even know there are Democrats or Republicans. For example, if everyone was a Republican, there would be no sense of the concept of being a Republican. Everything exists in contrast .

When you allow there to be an empty space, then you can have a greater appreciation for different forms. Everything is space and form. One creates the other. When you can relate at this level, where you can appreciate space and form, then when you come toward different things in the world, you’ll have a much greater appreciation of it, and much greater respect for it. Because we don’t allow any space, or emptiness, and everything is focused just on the external, then we don’t have much of an appreciation for life or the world we live in. Just like when couples are in a relationship where they can’t allow any emptiness. They just fill the space with a lot of noise and a lot of conflict. If you totally accepted the emptiness, conflict would almost entirely drop off the map. It’s very important to be able to appreciate the world you live in and what’s going on around you, and to be able to free yourself of the never ending trap that the next “thing” is going to be the answer.

Author: Bruce Derman Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist and author of his best-selling books about relationships. He specializes in working with people in all stages of relationships. You may reach Dr. Derman by calling (818) 375-7194.

For more information on couples therapy in Los Angeles & Woodland Hills, contact Dr. Bruce Derman PH.D. at

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