• believenothing
    63
    If I ask someone "what are you thinking?" and they say "nothing", I suspect what they really mean is "nothing culpable". In order to think nothing at all, I suspect someone would then have no way of communicating.
  • bioazer
    25

    NOTHING, as @TheMadFool correctly stated earlier, is a completely negative concept.
    However, unlike most objects (mental/physical) NOTHING is defined in the negative. In fact it is the ultimate negative - the absence of everything.
    So it follows that we cannot describe NOTHING in positive terms. In other words, we cannot say what nothing is; we can only describe what it is not, which is literally anything.
    For example,
    NOTHING is not a slice of pie.
    NOTHING is not green.
    NOTHING is not a concept that we can discuss or even think of.
    NOTHING is not what I think it is, and it's not what you think it is.
    NOTHING is not what I am presently writing a post about.
    Whatever you call it, what we are discussing in this thread is not NOTHING. If you can think of it, and you can label it with a name, and you can talk about it's properties or even lack thereof, it's not NOTHING. The NOTHING I insist it is not is not even NOTHING. And neither is that last one. And so forth. It is unapprehendable and incomprehensible.
  • bioazer
    25

    Interesting point-- and correct, but that person would be unable to think of it in the first place.
  • Michael Ossipoff
    803


    No one ever experiences Nothing. So, in a metaphysics that's about individual experience, there's no such thing.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • Vajk
    113
    Everything lies between "two" Nothing?!
  • uncool
    16
    Lawrence Krauss has something to say about "nothing".
  • Starthrower
    29
    simple answer: nothing is absence of something. Or, in some contexts, no thing. Example: nothing is taller than Mount Everest. No thing is taller than Mount Everest.
  • TheMadFool
    1.9k
    If "NOTHING" does not exist as an idea, then how are we discussing it?bioazer

    Good point. Look at it this way. We have the word ''gravity''. It points to a physical phenomenon which I will approximate as an attractive force between two bodies. We can say we have a concept of gravity but the concept itself isn't gravity.

    Similarly, NOTHING is a concept of nonexistence but the concept itself isn't nonexistence. Am I right?

    The idea is NOT the ideated.

    No one ever experiences Nothing. So, in a metaphysics that's about individual experience, there's no such thing.Michael Ossipoff

    What were you before you were born?
  • Michael Ossipoff
    803
    What were you before you were born?TheMadFool


    There's a Mark Twain quote that I like:

    "I was dead for millions of years before I was born, and it didn't inconvenience me a bit."

    I like it, but it isn't what I'd say.

    If you believe that you didn't exist in any sense before you were born, then that time isn't in your experience, and therefore, in an experiential metaphysics, there was no such time. And that answers that question.

    But I don't say it that way.

    I've been saying that the reason why you're in a life is because, among the inevitable infinity of life-experience possibility-storys, there's one in which you're the protagonist. There isn't/wasn't any "you" other than that. This life of yours is that possibility-story and you're that protagonist.

    And I suggest that that's true whether or not there's reincarnation, and whether or not you had a previous life.

    As I've said elsewhere, I claim that reincarnation is unprovable, and that, if there's reincarnation, the matter of whether or not you've already had lives is indeterminate--It isn't true that you either did or didn't.

    It seems to me that there's probably reincarnation, because it's implied by an uncontroversial metaphysics.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • bloodninja
    187
    No one ever experiences Nothing. So, in a metaphysics that's about individual experience, there's no such thing.Michael Ossipoff

    What about the experience of loss, lack, dread, angst? Perhaps these experiences point to a primordial preconceptual phenomenal aquantiance with nothing. It is true we never experience an objectified present-at-hand nothing since everything that is objectified in this way is a something rather than a nothing. But why do we need to objectify nothing and turn it into a something? For pragmatic reasons i guess. In other words because objectified derivatives of nothing such as not, minus, zero, but, etc help us to get around in our worlds...
  • TheMadFool
    1.9k
    I only want to point to the NOTHINGness of the time before we were born. Perhaps contemplating that state of NOTHING will give us insight into what NOTHING is.
  • Daniel
    3
    What if nothingness is a state in which everything is the same thing. However, I believe it exists because it has a limit; that is, nothingness is just that, and it cant be something else which makes it exist.
  • Vajk
    113


    :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

    Does it have any kind of limitation?
  • Michael Ossipoff
    803

    "No one ever experiences Nothing. So, in a metaphysics that's about individual experience, there's no such thing." — Michael Ossipoff


    What about the experience of loss, lack, dread, angst? Perhaps these experiences point to a primordial preconceptual phenomenal aquantiance with nothing.
    bloodninja

    Ii doubt that.

    To me, that sounds pessimistic. Loss, lack,and dread are all firmly part of the world of things and events. As for angst, that's just an ill-defined affliction limited to some philosophers.

    But yes, you're right when you suggest that, though we never really experience Nothing, there's at least one time when we approach it.

    As I've often said, at the end of lives, at the latest stage of shutdown, just before full shutdown of awareness, we probably don't remember that there ever was such a thing as worldly life, body, identity, events or time. ...or such things as menace, loss, lack, or dread.

    That's why I disagree with your suggestion of implicating or blaming Nothing, for those negative feelings.

    On the contrary, I suggest that, to the extent that we approach Nothing, we're free of those negativities.

    As I've said, of course at the late stage of shutdown that I referred to above, full shutdown of awareness (our complete shutdown from the point of view of our survivors) is immanent. But we won't know that, or care, because we'll have reached timelessness. The immanence of complete shutdown is therefore quite irrelevant and meaningless from our point of view.

    A life is finite. Even if we live a finite number of finite lives, that's still finite. ...while the approach to Nothing at the end of lives is timeless.

    One dictionary definition of "Natural" is "usual or ordinary". Well, which is more "usual", something finite, or something timeless?

    So, arguably the timeless sleep at the end of lives is what's natural, and maybe our lives in this changeful temporal world of events should be called the "Supernatural". :D

    I've been saying that our world of experience is a hypothetical life-experience possibility-story, consisting of a complex system of inter-referring abstract if-then facts about hypotheticals. I call that "something", and "real", because it's real in the context of our (temporary, finite) lives.

    But, due to its temporariness and finiteness, could that purely hypothetical system of abstract facts be argued to be less real than the Nothing that we approach, but don't reach, in the timeless sleep at the end of lives?

    Michael Ossipoff
  • Michael Ossipoff
    803
    I only want to point to the NOTHINGness of the time before we were born. Perhaps contemplating that state of NOTHING will give us insight into what NOTHING is.TheMadFool

    Agreed.

    I don't say it quite the way Mark Twain did, but it's of interest.

    What was there before, and how and why did this life start?

    More in a few minutes or about an hour or so.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • Rich
    2.5k
    No one ever experiences Nothing.Michael Ossipoff

    Of course they do, when they are unconscious or asleep and not dreaming. If I may relate, it feels like no duration had transpired.
  • TheMadFool
    1.9k
    Of course they do, when they are unconscious or asleep and not dreaming. If I may relate, it feels like no duration had transpired.Rich

    Very interesting.
  • Michael Ossipoff
    803

    "No one ever experiences Nothing". — Michael Ossipoff

    Of course they do, when they are unconscious or asleep and not dreaming. If I may relate, it feels like no duration had transpired.
    Rich

    What was it like? No, I'm not asking for your experience aferwards, when "it feels like no duration has transpired."

    I didn't say that you don't experience a time after there was nothing. I said that you don't experience nothing )

    So, what was it like when you were experiencing Nothing?

    (...given that an experience is of something :D)


    Michael Ossipoff
  • Rich
    2.5k
    I didn't say that you don't experience a time after there was nothing. I said that you don't experience nothing )Michael Ossipoff

    The mind loses consciousness and then somehow issues a spark to regain consciousness. In between there is nothing. One knows they were unconscious due to a discontinuity if memory. Similarity, one feels a similar discontinuity when one enters a dream state.

    To understand life, one should study the nature of duration and memory, the key aspects of life.
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