14
   

Can 'nothing' exist?

 
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 10:14 am
@Ragman,
Ragman wrote:

Please reread and understand what I wrote. I do not include space or empty space as a worthwhile definition. Empty space should not be associated or not be an appropriate descriptor for 'Nothingness'. In fact, the concept of space or outer space can not be associated with nothingness either. Outer space has a direction and some boundaries relative to home planet earth (our reference point). Nothing does not and can not. There is a vacuum in space which many associate with nothingness, but is far from an all-inclusive term or descriptor of 'nothingness'. Outer Space is just a place without air or an atmosphere. Nothingness has no place or direction.


Empty space isn't even empty; any cubic meter of space is extremely likely to have at least a few hydrogen atoms floating around in it. You would have to get way, way, way out in the middle of nowhere, between stars, to even theoretically find a totally empty vacuum.

And if our Vacuum energy theories are correct, even THAT area would not be truly 'empty' in the sense that people think of.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 11:18 am
@KiwiChic,
Quote:
I think the concept of nothingness gets me when I think of outer space and the prospect of infinity - that blows my mind to the point when I have to slam the brakes on and stop thinking of an infinite black of nothingness....did that make any sense? lol, So what was the question? - Can nothing exist? well I guess it can.


KiwiChic, when you "think of outer space and the prospect of infinity," you are most certainly not thinking of "nothing." You just said you were thinking of outer space and infinity and that's certainly "something." And I believe that's what Phoney means when he says that one can't actually imagine "nothing." You will always be thinking of "something" and imagining "something." Pure nothing can be explained as the absence of literally anything, but such a condition cannot be visualized by the human mind.

But, again, as I said in my very first post, the fact that we can't imagine it does not mean that it does not exist.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 12:39 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Merry Andrew wrote:

Quote:
I think the concept of nothingness gets me when I think of outer space and the prospect of infinity - that blows my mind to the point when I have to slam the brakes on and stop thinking of an infinite black of nothingness....did that make any sense? lol, So what was the question? - Can nothing exist? well I guess it can.


KiwiChic, when you "think of outer space and the prospect of infinity," you are most certainly not thinking of "nothing." You just said you were thinking of outer space and infinity and that's certainly "something." And I believe that's what Phoney means when he says that one can't actually imagine "nothing." You will always be thinking of "something" and imagining "something." Pure nothing can be explained as the absence of literally anything, but such a condition cannot be visualized by the human mind.

But, again, as I said in my very first post, the fact that we can't imagine it does not mean that it does not exist.


Is there a difference between a Thing and a concept of that Thing? I think so. I can conceive of something that doesn't exist, and that conception doesn't magically cause that thing to exist.

Or, at least I hope. We're in big trouble if that's the case, actually.

Cycloptichorn
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 01:16 pm
Of course nothing can exist! I seen and heard lots of nothingness all the time so it exists. There are some people who are just that - nothing - and they exist even though they are nothing.
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  2  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 01:33 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
This is just off the top of my head without any prior thinking about it:

Any time we conceive of something that doesn't exist (as far as we know) we tend to, in some sense, visualize it, imagine it in our mind's eye, as it were. I don't think this is possible with nothing. Intelectually, we can postulate such a condition as 'nothingness' but we can't quite conceptualize it in a way that involves any of the five senses.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 01:40 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Merry Andrew wrote:

This is just off the top of my head without any prior thinking about it:

Any time we conceive of something that doesn't exist (as far as we know) we tend to, in some sense, visualize it, imagine it in our mind's eye, as it were. I don't think this is possible with nothing. Intelectually, we can postulate such a condition as 'nothingness' but we can't quite conceptualize it in a way that involves any of the five senses.



This conversation would go great with some Buddhist opinions! Meditating on nothingness, or 'non-being,' is something that I and others I know strive to do.

I am reminded of The Game; I don't know if you've ever played or not?

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
najmelliw
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 01:55 pm
Nothing is what you get when you measure both the exact velocity and position of a particle in quantum mechanics.


0 Replies
 
phoney
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 05:44 pm
I agree totally with everything you've said Merry Andrew.
Some replies suggest others are unable to grasp the very concept of 'nothingness'.
0 Replies
 
existential potential
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 May, 2009 01:45 pm
@phoney,
isn't it a sort of paradox to say that "nothing" exists?
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 May, 2009 02:04 pm
@existential potential,
Not necessarily. In theory, at least, "nothing" may well exist somewhere beyond the "something" we know of. If, say, the universe is not infinite but has boundaries, what's beyond it? Nothing?
Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 May, 2009 02:08 pm
@phoney,
Absence exists relative to presence.........however the absence of something does not assume the presence of its opposite.
0 Replies
 
existential potential
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 May, 2009 03:57 pm
@Merry Andrew,
I don't see how you can say that "nothing" may exist beyond something. if "nothing" means roughly "the lack of existence" then you cannot say that it "exists".

but if the concept of "nothing" has not "concrete" meaning or definition, how can we say that it might or might not "exist"?
existential potential
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 May, 2009 04:00 pm
@existential potential,
"there is no such "thing" as "no-thing"".
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 May, 2009 07:12 pm
@existential potential,
Seems to me that was Phoney's whole point -- and mine, by extension -- that the concept of "nothing" cannot be imagined but can be postulated. We can posit the notion that if there can be a "thing", there can likewise be a "no-thing" which it is beyond our intellectual powers to imagine in any sensual way.
existential potential
 
  1  
Reply Sun 31 May, 2009 05:02 am
@Merry Andrew,
“nothingness” is that which our minds cannot imagine, because by imagining, we inevitably imagine “something”.
solipsister
 
  1  
Reply Sun 31 May, 2009 06:01 am
@existential potential,
being and nothing is as nothing being here
0 Replies
 
nicole415
 
  1  
Reply Sun 31 May, 2009 12:06 pm
@Ragman,
Nothing is relative to something. Nothing is the lack of something. Zero is greater than -1. As a concept, nothing obviously exists.

(Just noticed this concept has already been argued.)
0 Replies
 
nicole415
 
  1  
Reply Sun 31 May, 2009 12:07 pm
@existential potential,

Quote:
Re: Merry Andrew (Post 3664377)
“nothingness” is that which our minds cannot imagine, because by imagining, we inevitably imagine “something”.
A Buddhist mind can...Smile

existential potential
 
  1  
Reply Sun 31 May, 2009 02:08 pm
@nicole415,
how can it?
0 Replies
 
najmelliw
 
  1  
Reply Sun 31 May, 2009 03:34 pm
Nothing is conceptual. It conveys an image that in fact is, as is aptly argued, something, that is, empty space.
I think it's hard for us to think about true 'nothingness' , since as humans we are bound to our threedimensional worldview, and our lives are structured by time.
That framework makes it hard, if not impossibble, to grasp 'true nothingness'.

If our universe has expanded for a significant amount of time, it follows that there was a timeslice x in which the size of the universe was smaller then at a later timeslice y. The space that has been occupied by the universe between those slices of time, it can be said to exist at time y, but not at time x, since there was no universe there.
Is nothing then that which will come into existence as part of the universe as we know it at a later moment, but is not as of yet?

Is this making sense?
 

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