• Gregory
    144
    To ask what is nothing is to ask the wrong question. A better question is to ask if it's a state. Does nothing have boundries? Are there any works out there exclusively on this subject?
  • ZzzoneiroCosm
    331
    Sartre's Being and Nothingness is pretty interesting.
  • ZzzoneiroCosm
    331
    Nishitani's Religion and Nothingness is interesting too.
  • I like sushi
    1.7k
    Refer to Kant’s “positive noumenon”. It is basically a reference - pointing nowhere - to some contrariness of language that presents the illusion of ‘existent nothingness’.

    Note: I’ve never read anything of Satre myself. I guess one day I’ll take a quick look beyond the superficial image I have of him.
  • Razorback kitten
    70
    I believe nothing can always have at least two features. It's size and shape for instance (presuming it's in a frame of reference of something). Or nothing can have a direction relative to something. It seems odd I know but I believe without having these features, nothing wouldn't be able to form something and nothing would be all there is.

    Then again I believe I'm an eternal universe without a big bang, so who knows?
  • TheMadFool
    4.2k
    To ask what is nothing is to ask the wrong question. A better question is to ask if it's a state. Does nothing have boundries? Are there any works out there exclusively on this subject?Gregory

    Always fascinated by the subject of nothing.

    If I recall correctly nothing is defined as absence, a contraction of no thing. It's difficult if not impossible to understand something that negates everything after all for one to contemplate on anything at all it must first be a thing of either the physical or the mental.

    Yes, it's a concept of course - this nothing. However it, because it negates everything, lacks any properties and since analysis, the way I understand it, is about properties, it becomes impossible to comprehend.

    If there's anything I've learnt then it's the distinction between relative nothing and absolute nothing. The former is what describes our everyday notion of nothingness. We say an empty box has nothing inside or 3 applies - 3 apples = nothing/0. It's relative because there is a thing whose absence is noticed.

    The latter, absolute nothing is a different creature. Being empty of all things real or imagined it defies any attempt to grasp it since, duh, there is nothing to grasp.

    I think when people discuss nothingness they conflate the two - the relative and the absolute nothing - and though it's not a mistake for relative nothingness has greater utility it's far from a true understanding of the ultimate void of absolute nothingness.
  • 3017amen
    870


    Yes I think there is something to say about nothing. But there also appears to be nothing to say about something (ineffable).

    I wonder if there is an irony or paradox there somewhere...
  • Gregory
    144
    Heidegger in Discourse on Thinking talks of regioning. We can only think I'm space and nature. Nature includes nothing\zero, so we can't think without nothing it would appear
  • Valentinus
    603
    Are there any works out there exclusively on this subject?Gregory

    Exclusivity is a lot to ask for. Zhuangzi talked about different ways to refer to nothing. The distinctions made there are not arguments for what is or is not happening but a guide to how each expression has a situation that is meant to be conveyed.
    Our different descriptions set against the background of what we cannot describe.
  • Gregory
    144
    Mathematics says that objects are made of an infinity of zeros. So nothing, through the medium of infinity, creates something. Is this accurate?
  • Razorback kitten
    70
    If you replaced some water or air with a patch of nothingness, the surrounding body would undoubtedly collapse into the space. It creates a vacuum as we know. To create a near perfect vacuum takes a huge amount of energy. So if absolute nothing is no more than an impossible idea, why does it take so much force to create?
  • Gregory
    144
    Quantum computers now can do calculations billions of times faster than supercomputers now. They abide by a contradiction of math, schrodingers cat
  • 180 Proof
    398
    By nothing I understand

    (a) No referent (i.e. non-sense) re: semantics, cognition
    (b) No information (i.e. tautology) re: logic
    (c) No thing (i.e. formless, void) re: physics
    (d) Null set (i.e. zero) re: mathematics
    (e) Random (i.e. patternless, noise) re: computation
    (f) Omni-symmetry (i.e. non-being, nothingNess, absolute absence (of possible worlds)) re: metaphysics, or meontology

    and so I wonder: to which sense(s) of the word does the OP refer?
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    1.9k


    You appear to have said quite a lot about nothing.

    The OP seems to be answering the title question in speaking the title too, a rhetorical aphorism for the ages, I think.
  • 180 Proof
    398
    You appear to have said quite a lot about nothing.TheWillowOfDarkness

    You don't say.
  • Gregory
    144
    I think that if consciousness is the brain (identical), than we have to say that consciousness is a null set. The highest realities are the inversion, contradiction, or maybe just the negation of material being. Being seems to apply only to the material anyway
  • Pfhorrest
    470
    I don’t think that’s accurate to say that mathematics says things are made of an infinity of zeros,

    but modern mathematics does construct all its objects out of nested sets of sets of ultimately empty sets,

    and all of its functions can be constructed exclusively with nested application of the joint denial function (“nor”) which is basically a binary negation operation (“nor(x,x)” is the same as “not(x)”),

    so it is fairly accurate to say that everything is made of negations of nothing.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    If you've got nuthin' to say about nuthin' it's hard to keep a message board going.
  • Gregory
    144
    Pfhorrest seems to have proven that something can come from nothing
  • Bitter Crank
    8.4k
    I refer the OP to the Jerry Seinfeld Comedy series, which was a show about nothing. Very popular. Also, this on YouTube:

    Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'
    You gotta have somethin' if you wanna be with me
    Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'
    You gotta have somethin' if you wanna be with me

    I'm not tryna be your hero
    'Cause that zero is too cold for me, brrr
    I'm not tryin' to be your highness
    'Cause that minus is too low to see, yeah

    and so on. Nothing has been done already.
  • Gregory
    144
    "The linear series that in its movement marks the retrogressive steps in it by knots, but thence went forward again in one linear stretch, is now, as it were, broken at these knots, these universal moments, and fall asunder into many lines, which, being bound together into a single bundle, combine at the same time symetrically, so that the similar distinctions, in which each separately took shape within a sphere, meet again." Hegel
  • 180 Proof
    398
    Our nada who art in nada, nada be thy name thy kingdom nada thy will be nada in nada as it is in nada. Give us this nada our daily nada and nada us our nada as we nada our nadas and nada us not into nada but deliver us from nada; pues nada [then nothing]. Hail nothing full of nothing, nothing is with thee.

    "A Clean Well-Lighted Place" (1933)

    :pray: :eyes:
  • Possibility
    673
    I like your thinking.

    Nothing, for me, can be understood in terms of actuality, potentiality or possibility (but then, I do tend towards ‘glass half full’). When there is actually nothing, there is still the potential for something. Likewise, even when there evidently can be nothing, we could nevertheless imagine the possibility of something.

    ‘Absolute nothing’ is a concept that refers to an absence even of the possibility of anything. We can approach an understanding of this ‘absolute nothing’, but ultimately there is no way of fully understanding it as such.

    Any concept of ‘nothing’ is relative at least to some possibility: being whatever is striving to understand it...a possible ‘something’ to which this ‘nothingness’ matters...for whom ‘nothing’ has meaning...
  • Wayfarer
    8.8k
    Nishitani's Religion and Nothingness is interesting too.ZzzoneiroCosm

    Nishitani's 'nothingness' is śūnyatā, 'luminous emptiness'. Not like Sartre's 'god-shaped hole'.
  • Marchesk
    3k
    If I recall correctly, Parmaneides argued that since nothing does not exist, change is impossible, because otherwise things like the past would cease to exist (become nothing which is impossible).

    Lucretius used nothing to argue that something cannot come from it, otherwise anything would come into existence, which we don't observe. Therefore atoms must have always existed.
  • A Seagull
    78

    Constructing fundamental mathematical objects out of sets is like constructing bricks out of houses.
  • ZzzoneiroCosm
    331
    Nishitani's 'nothingness' is śūnyatā, 'luminous emptiness'. Not like Sartre's 'god-shaped hole'.Wayfarer

    Yes. Nothingnesses in need of a hieros gamos. From what I've read of him, Sartre never came close to illuminating his nothingness.
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