Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Metaphysics and something from nothing

  1. Aug 26, 2004 #1
    Is anyone working on defining nothingness as a possible physical force with an unbelievably explosive nature do to its infinitely great potential for smallness in definition?
    Please forgive the wording, this was the best way I could think to create SOMETHING from NOTHING!
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 26, 2004 #2
    nothing is perfect
    in the space where nothing exists
    will one find perfection
    the perfect nothing

  4. Aug 26, 2004 #3

    Thirty spokes meet at a nave;
    Because of the hole we may use the wheel.
    Clay is moulded into a vessel;
    Because of the hollow we may use the cup.
    Walls are built around a hearth;
    Because of the doors we may use the house.
    Thus tools come from what exists,
    But use from what does not.

    (popular chinese poem ca. ~500 bc)

    What you seem to be asking about is known as Zero Point Energy. There are attempts to harness it as a kind of endless source of energy, but thus far no one has managed to tap into it usefully. Most physicists believe it cannot be used without violating the laws of thermodynamics, cause and effect.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2004
  5. Aug 31, 2004 #4
    now that's a great poem.
  6. Sep 1, 2004 #5
    A better version of your poem should read:

    And the VOICE said let in Nothing be this
    Let in this be now
    Let in Now be that
    Let in that be Nothing
    And, truely, in that was Nothing

    .......that would be the day!
  7. Sep 2, 2004 #6
    No.......that would be nothing? :smile:
  8. Sep 2, 2004 #7
    More please

    Great pome! I would love to read more. Can you sagest where!
    (Chines Pome)
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2004
  9. Sep 2, 2004 #8
    Here we go!!!

    A voice= harmonics= information feeding strings. The rest gives beautiful dimensionality. Where does Voice originate? Come on...We can do it!
  10. Sep 2, 2004 #9
    That particular poem was incorporated into the Tao Te Ching. Because the original is in chinese, there are a number of different english language translations available. Just select a different translation at the top and you'll see what I mean.

  11. Sep 3, 2004 #10
    what can we do? that poem seems like a paradox to me.....
  12. Sep 3, 2004 #11
    global perspective

    Perhaps we can us this poem or another insighful statement to progress our thinking. This poem is rather good as it gives, even though not directly, dimensions we observe on the side of our everyday consciousness and luckily we all share the same consciousness with a slightly different perspective.
    We live in a "PARADOX". That is part of the beauty and the FUN. Everything is actually before us..We need only be clever enough and lighthearted enough to identify it, collectively name it and hold it as continuation of truth. Yes there is much in our view that will pull us back into our own personal concerns separating us from the collective effort to work in the revelation of the kinder more gentle energies. We need each other in a global interaction to support one another and burst ahead with our, (every) persons desire to find enlightenment.
    Again, with our senses we do not usually use, what could have come before VOICE and WHAT is voice as this voice is most probalbly continuing to animate the world we are acostom to observing.
  13. Sep 3, 2004 #12
    Exactly, it is a paradox. So is the idea of getting something for nothing.

    The black and white worldview of classical formal logic tends to rule various cultures, but that is not to say it is the only way to look at the world that has proven valuable. Paradoxes are quite useful in their own rite, as the success of QM has demonstrated for over a century now.

    However, paradoxical are holistic and their foundations are much more difficult to formulate than reductionist theories. In other words, if you want something for nothing you have to work hard to get it (sic). :rofl:
  14. Sep 4, 2004 #13
    yes but are we even able to get the POV of a paradox from "above" or are we forever trapped in them? in the latter case i'd just quit now and start wondering about more percievable things. and i do not feel compelled to accept it as perhaps god or something similar.
  15. Sep 4, 2004 #14


    User Avatar

    It's like asking if anyone is working on defining nowhere as a possible physical place. Pure nonsense.
  16. Sep 4, 2004 #15

    You are absolutely correct as far as I can imagine. NOWHERE would be the location of Nothingness and It is PURE-NON-SENSE. But we have to do better than that if we are going to place this thing on the map.
  17. Sep 4, 2004 #16
    Point Of View

    This is a subject of intense scholarly debate.
    From a graduadate student lecture I attended years ago in the physics department at Columbia U, I noted with the rest of the students that the speaker had places massless gluons on a grid with infinite degrees of freedom yet he was still stuck on the line. He was stuck with the problem of fazing out the containment wall. I thought that in order to bypass the infinities, one would need to go perpendicular off the line at (zero). In doing this one finds a free standing domain with ASSOCIATION being it's only connective property. If we raise a system through zero to detail it's expansion menchanism, there is nothing to prevent us from experiencing infinity endless while standing outside of it.
    After that if we consider infinity as an imitation of (zero)(nothingness) we can begin a dialog that can become a mathematical model for the supporting dimensions of physicality. The dimensions that feed information into strings and a force of (nothing) that will be compatible with any agreed upon model at every point.
  18. Sep 4, 2004 #17
    Only when it has no specific context. Words only have demonstrable meaning according to their function in a given context. If someone asks me, "What's happening" and I tell them, "Nothing" it makes perfect sense. Likewise, in this case he asks a physical question about energy from nothing. Whether or not it really is energy from nothing is not the issue on the table.
  19. Sep 4, 2004 #18


    User Avatar

    But the negative isn't being used in that proper context you posted. Here we have the reification of nothing. As per the example you provided (What's happening" and I tell them, "Nothing), its clear that words have a proper use in this language. Nothingness is a reification of the negative here which leads to countless other ludicrous notions.

    Asking if energy can come from nothing is a valid question. In other words, can energy just appear without having to come from somewhere? Or the question could be phrased to ask if energy can just come from nowhere. However, asking if nothing or nothingness is some kind of force is equally silly as asking if nowhere is an actual place the energy comes from.

    Discussions about nothingness seldom have much to do with serious philosophy, and is usually more a matter of raping the english language.
  20. Sep 4, 2004 #19
    Perhaps we are not discussing philosophy in the classical sense. I would only hope the the mind unfolds as fast as the rest of nature and with as much grace and excellence.
    If you feel uncomfortable with this topic then please allow me and perhaps others gain useful insights that only this kind of exchange can produce.
    YES! The subject is difficult, perhaps impossible, but I prefer to extend myself in the arena where there are individuals who are obviously many times more intelligent then I ever hope to be for just a moment in the light.
    Thank you
  21. Sep 4, 2004 #20
    Never was any good at mixed fractions. I have no business looking for the common denominator. But I'm a pretty strong donkey. Someone hook me up with a cart, I will "Work hard" to pull it a short distance.
  22. Sep 4, 2004 #21
    surely this discussion has its essence rooted in the concept of language more than anything else. For it is language that gives us all the ability to argue on some sort of common ground where there is no such thing. In fact i wonder whether or not there is any point using energy to debate the paradox when poetry , art, and the perception of the physical world by our own sensory organs, combined with thought processes making sense of it all, gives us the pleasure we seem to need to survive. oh, there's a paradox in itself... he he he

    oh well if you cant beat them, accept them (and forever ask yourself why you ever wanted to beat them anyway!)

    experience made meaningful is nothing, but nothing made into a meaningful experience is a fallicy. :smile:
    but then again, personal truths are all that there is, wrong?
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2004
  23. Sep 5, 2004 #22
    Not Giving Up

    YA! Language is indeed what we use until we develop more effective means of communication. There are personalities in the physics community who are gifted in several kinds of commuication beside physical expression and language. Several years ago I approached perhaps the most famous linguist of our time with need for assist in communicating these abstract concepts. He unfortunately was unable or unwilling to get involved. Yet Einstein himself was attracted to mystical concepts and his work reflects the ability to pull some of what we once considered metaphysics and ground them in mathematical constructs that are still being interpitated and reinturpitated today. Toward the end of his life he was heard admitting that he wished he had looked into Kabbalah. Obviously not the Hollywood kabbalah of today, but perhaps the kind that would have given hints as to which way we might look in order to continue to unify our understanding.
    My first encounter with who some people consider to be the smartest physicist alive today, was for me a profound mind meld that left me reeling for days. He said not a word to me, yet walked over and sat on the couch so close to me that I tried unsuccessful to pull my skirt out from under him. I suppose I was trapped for this transfer. Sure it did not phase him, it was proof enough to me that we will one day commicate in higher and more refined ways and we WILL succeed in unifying all of the forces. Even those that today we call impossible!
    "I have little patience for scientists who take a board of wood, look for its thinnest part, and drill a great number of holes when the drilling is easy" A.Einstein
  24. Sep 5, 2004 #23
    I have to agree with Eh on this one (I usually do). Words are of paramount importance in philosophy and physics, and the original question was very poorly formulated. However, this is a public forum and few of us are professional philosophers or physicists. As much as I may personally dislike people constantly babbling and goading people into arguments over nothing and childish plays on words, there are valid ways to discuss the subject of nothingness.

    Only by encouraging the ignorant to study the subject can you hope they will stop talking about it childish ways.
  25. Sep 5, 2004 #24
    whats the difference between epistemology ( which i love ) and metaphysics ( which i have never done before ) ?
  26. Sep 5, 2004 #25
    Metaphysics are what differentiate one epistomology from another.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook