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The Existence of Absolutely Nothing

  1. Feb 3, 2004 #1
    Have you ever considered that absolutely nothing actually exists? It existed before time started, along with absolutely everything. The awareness of this basic paradoxical duality, (Absolutely Everything & Absolutely Nothing coexisting simultaneously, together, intricately intertwined), caused the start of real-time.

    The Judeao-Christian culture of Western civilization tends to deny the existence of Absolutely Nothing. This causes words, (reference points), that adequately describe the phenomena of absolutely nothing, not to be a part of the common vernacular. Attempts to describe Absolutely Nothing usually include the fact that it doesn't and cannot exist, yet it exists.

    The failure to recognize that Absolutely Nothing exists, as a viable entity, causes many flawed viewpoints and the inability to truly finalize a T.o.E.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 4, 2004 #2
    What makes you think that Absolute Nothing can 'exist'?
  4. Feb 4, 2004 #3
    Isn't absolute nothing the absence of absolute somethings? When there is no existents then there is nothing is there not?
  5. Feb 5, 2004 #4
    Yes, but that is a defintion, not a reason to think that 'nothing' can be reified.
  6. Feb 5, 2004 #5
    If that's the case then answer these 2 questions.

    What is nothing?


    What is existence?
  7. Feb 5, 2004 #6
    For me to imagine the "presence" of nothing, I need the existance of something to reference it by. Otherwise, I get lost in the absence of my own imagination, and lack the presence of mind to rediscover my point of reference.
  8. Feb 6, 2004 #7
    I take 'nothing' to be a scientific concept, in the sense that it is the absence of anything that science would judge as 'existing'. That's just how I use it usually.

    Existence (as a property) therefore has two meanings. One a scientific one (observable, measurable, inferable, etc), the other a more general meaning, as a property of everything that is (measurable or not).

    The first is the opposite of 'nothing', the second isn't necessarily the opposite of it.
  9. Feb 6, 2004 #8
    It's more a technical remark and not nescessarily meant too seriously, but: 'absolute nothing' is (linearily) unstable ;)
  10. Feb 6, 2004 #9
    I don't believe that 'absolute nothing' can exist. I've considered it before but apparently, whether reality is a creation of the mind, there must be something for us (or, at least, me, if you are simply products of my reality) to exist on, some plane of something.
  11. Feb 6, 2004 #10
    The big bang did not turn nothing into something it allowed super duper "compressed" material to go into its natural, relaxed, uncompressed state...
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2004
  12. Feb 6, 2004 #11
    Let's start with logic & Plato's ideas on "absolutes".
    This will help explain the use of the word Absolutely in reference to everything and nothing.

    Everything literally means every thing, (object, particle, energy, matter, anti-matter, etc...)
    Nothing literally means no things, (object, particle, energy, matter, anti-matter, etc...)

    Absolute Everything & Absolute Nothing are opposites, exact opposites

    See references below on Plato’s ideas:

    Plato described a dichon(total_absence_of_change, only_appearance_of_change),
    based upon, we believe, an invalid interpretation of Zeno's paradise.
    Plato's ideas, ideals, 'principles,' and concepts are absolute and changeless.
    His version of change is only apparent, illusional, delusional to observers.
    Aristotle invented a notion of 'substance' as absolute in place of Plato's ideas as absolute
    which can be represented by nomenclature, thus symbols.
    from URL:

    What Did Plato Mean by "Absolute"?
    Since his idealism was based on the belief that all knowledge resides within the spirit of an individual, Plato certainly sounds like a constructivist. But then again, he believed innate knowledge to be not only good and perfect, but also absolute - not entirely a constructivist approach. This, at first glance, could seem to belie his constructivist approach. Plato, recording the teachings of Socrates, actually divided wisdom into two categories: knowledge and belief. He proposed that the perception of absolute reality constituted knowledge, while most of what we commonly refer to as knowledge is simply our perception of "a representation" of absolute reality (Crombie, 1962, p. 102).
    Crombie, I. M. (1962). An Examination of Plato’s Doctrines. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
    from URL:

    Plato used the realm of Forms and the absolute Truth as his foundationblocks in describing the origins of the cosmos.
    It was Plato’s belief that the visible physical world, the cosmos, has been fash-ioned by the Demiurge based on its eternal Form. For Plato every object in ouruniverse, the realm of becoming, has been created after the likeness of its respectiveeternal model in the realm of pure and absolute Truth. Plato named the realm of pureand absolute Truth the realm of being, because absolute Truth is perfect, unchanging,immutable and ever-present. He named the universe the realm of becoming, becauseof its volatility and its unpredictability.
    from URL:

    And these you can touch and see and perceive with the senses, but the unchanging things you can only perceive with the mind -- they are invisible and are not seen?
    That is very true, he said.
    Well, then, he added, let us suppose that there are two sorts of existences, one seen, the other unseen.
    Let us suppose them.
    The seen is the changing, and the unseen is the unchanging?
    That may be also supposed.
    from URL:
  13. Feb 6, 2004 #12
    Nothing is certainly something in the way you are thinking. Zen teachings are certainly beyond what we call Physics. Our true selves would be able to perceive and fathom ideas beyond man's physics. But, please, bring yourself back to this elementary awareness and try to relate to why most cannot perceive physics outside of their thinking beings.

    In this commonly understood dimention: Null values should be perceived as not instead of nothing. i.e. Not full but empty.

    In the one or true being: Absolute nothingness is not only vast but is what is behind all that is..
  14. Feb 6, 2004 #13
    The empty set, the origins of mathematics and the Buddhist concept of sunyata

    Much Ado About Nothing
    (My apologies to William Shakespeare)

    The Judeao-Christian culture of Western civilization tends to deny the existence of Absolutely Nothing. This causes words, (reference points), that adequately describe the phenomena of absolutely nothing, not to be a part of the common vernacular.

    I will approach the idea of Nothing, in particular an Absolute Nothing being in existence; i.e. Absolutely Nothing existing as an entity.

    The Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary definition of the word nothing does not adequately describe this idea.
    URL: http://machaut.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/WEBSTER.sh?WORD=nothing

    The Tao Te Ching comes closer
    14. Mystery
    Looked at but cannot be seen - it is beneath form;
    Listened to but cannot be heard - it is beneath sound;
    Held but cannot be touched - it is beneath feeling;
    These depthless things evade definition,
    And blend into a single mystery.
    In its rising there is no light,
    In its falling there is no darkness,
    A continuous thread beyond description,
    Lining what does not exist;
    Its form formless,
    Its image nothing,
    Its name silence;
    Follow it, it has no back,
    Meet it, it has no face.
    Attend the present to deal with the past;
    Thus you grasp the continuity of the Way,
    Which is its essence.
    URL: http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/gthursby/taoism/ttcmerel.htm

    From the PALI texts of Thervada Buddhism
    "All is changeable, nothing is constant. This is the law of birth and death."

    From - Mahayana Buddhism
    The teaching of sunyata: non-substantiality
    Subject: Living Buddhism 08/99 v.99 n.8 p.6 LB9908p06
    Author: Shin Yatomi
    “Nagarjuna, the Buddhist teacher believed to have lived in India sometime around the
    late second century and the early third century, expounded the teaching of sunyata (Jpn ku), which is variously translated as non-substantiality, void or emptiness. He developed the concept of non-substantiality from Shakyamuni’s principle of dependent origination (Skt pratityasamutpada; Jpn engi).
    Nagarjuna asserted that since everything arises and continues to exist by virtue of its
    relationship with other phenomena (i.e., dependent origination), it has absolutely no fixed
    or independent substance of its own (i.e., non-substantiality).Viewed from this perspective, there is nothing that cannot be changed. Nothing exists entirely on its own, and no form is absolute and immutable. The universe, then, is full of new situations at every moment.”
    URL: http://www.sgi-usa.org/buddhism/buddhismtoday/bc006.htm

    From: The Soka Gakkai International: Religious Roots, Early History and Contemporary Development - Part II. The Development and Spread of Mahayana Buddhism
    “Mahayana, within a few hundred years of its inception, split into two main schools. The first is grounded in the work of the great Indian philosopher Nagarjuna who, around 150 C.E., elaborated the doctrine of sunyata–the "emptiness" of all phenomena. This extraordinarily influential idea will be discussed later in relation to Nichiren’s teaching. Nagarjuna’s philosophical tenets formed the groundwork for the Madhyamika school.”
    URL: http://www.sgi-usa.org/buddhism/resourceguide/resourceguide.html

    From: The empty set, the origins of mathematics and the Buddhist concept of sunyata.
    ‘What is the origin of numbers? In what way do numbers exist? Have they always been present as 'Platonic' abstractions, or do they require a mind to bring them into existence? Can numbers exist in the absence of matter or things to count?”
    “The Kadampa school of Buddhist philosophy claims that all phenomena are ultimately empty of inherent existence and do not exist as things in themselves. All phenomena exist solely in dependence on other phenomena, which are themselves empty and dependently related to other phenomena and so on. No matter how deeply or far back we search, no phenomenon can ever be found which is fundamental or a 'thing-in-itself'. Neither the observer nor any observed phenomenon exist independently, but are inextricably intertwined. This viewpoint is known as dependent relationship.”
    “Buddhist philosophy claims that all things arise out of emptiness (Sanskrit sunyata or shunyata)”
    “Von Neumann [VON NEUMANN 1923] proposed that all numbers could be bootstrapped out of the empty set by the operations of the mind.”
    URL: http://home.btclick.com/scimah/emptyset.htm

    I hope this helps bring some clarity to the idea of Absolutely Nothing.
  15. Feb 7, 2004 #14
    These texts do not discuss absolute nothing. They discuss 'emptiness' which in non-dual philosophies is definitely not absolute nothing. 'Emptiness' is only 'nothing' in a scientific sense, in that it exists beyond contingent existence. These texts assert that absolute nothingness is an impossible state of the cosmos.
  16. Feb 7, 2004 #15
    Attempts to describe Absolutely Nothing usually include the fact that it doesn't and cannot exist, yet it exists.

    Combine the idea of nothing with the idea of absolutes; then the idea of the dependent relationship, if Absolutely Everything exists then Absolutely Nothing exists.

    See below for more on the dependent relationship

    Geshe Kelsang Gyatso [KELSANG GYATSO 1995] states that there are three levels of dependent relationship:

    (1) Gross dependent relationship - causality - the dependence of phenomena on their causes.

    (2) Subtle dependent relationship - structure - the dependence of phenomena on their perceived parts (including aspects, divisions and directions).

    (3) Very subtle dependent relationship - the dependence of phenomena on imputation by mind.

    These ideas are remarkably similar to the theory of the origins of mathematics first proposed by the mathematician John von Neumann, who was one of the founders of computer science. The theory relies on simple maipulations of sets.

    A set is a collection of things. An empty set is a collection of nothing at all. An empty set can be thought of as nothing with the potential to become something (that is to be become a set with at least one member).

    URL: http://home.btclick.com/scimah/emptyset.htm &
    URL: http://www.sgi-usa.org/buddhism/buddhismtoday/bc006.htm
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2004
  17. Feb 7, 2004 #16
    "These texts do not discuss absolute nothing. They discuss 'emptiness' which in non-dual philosophies is definitely not absolute nothing. 'Emptiness' is only 'nothing' in a scientific sense, in that it exists beyond contingent existence. These texts assert that absolute nothingness is an impossible state of the cosmos."

    The sutras often use the word "great void" to explain the significance of Sunyata. In general, we understand the "great void" as something that contains absolutely nothing. However, from a Buddhist perspective, the nature of the "great void" implies something which does not obstruct other things, in which all matters perform their own functions. Materials are form, which by their nature, imply obstruction. The special characteristic of the "great void" is non-obstruction. The "great void" therefore, does not serve as an obstacle to them. Since the "great void" exhibits no obstructive tendencies, it serves as the foundation for matter to function. In other words, if there was no "great void" nor characteristic of non-obstruction, it would be impossible for the material world to exist and function.

    See URL: http://www.angelfire.com/electronic/bodhidharma/sunyata.html
  18. Feb 8, 2004 #17
    Ok. I'm not disagreeing with that. I'm disagreeing with your interpretation of 'emptiness' as 'absolute nothingness'. They are not the same thing. Buddhists do not claim that existence arises 'ex nihilo'.
  19. Feb 8, 2004 #18


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    Why is that we don't see other negatives being reified in threads like this? Why no threads about nobody or nowhere?

    Subject: The existence of absolutely nobody

    Have you ever considered that absolutely nobody actually exists? This nobody existed before humans, along with absolutely everyone. But what kind of a person is nobody? On that subject, what about nowhere? What kind of place is that? Oh, and [insert some misunderstanding of comsology here].
  20. Feb 8, 2004 #19
    The main problem here is semantics, the limits of our language to handle such things. Semantics aside, It is my thinking that both the Tao and Buddhist's void do exist in reality.
    Void is beyond the absence of anything and everything it is without time and space, without dimension and direction. Nothing is what I call null-space to avoid the mind bending thought that Nothing is real. I wouldn't call it an entity but I understand the intent. Entity implies something not nothing. This is why I say Nothing is real. I'm not sure that I can even say that nothing exists but only that it is real. Even that statement is inadequate as it contains the word"is" which implies something is. It is not vast nor is is microscopic as those words have no meaning and cannot be applied to null-space, nothing. Nor do the words eternal or infinite, here there, now then, fast slow etc apply to Nothing.

    How then do I know that nothing exist? I ask myself, If God created the universe or if the Big Bang happened, where was it created or where did it happen? If a black hole grow massive enough to warp the local space around it until it becomes closed; and, it is no longer in or a part of this universe, where does it go? If multiple universes exit or branes exist what is between them that separates them? My only answer is nothing, nowhere, void, null-space.
  21. Mar 1, 2004 #20
    So then emptiness is nothing from which everything becomes something?

    Has the Avatamsaka Sutra been translated in English language yet?
    In its last part, called the Gandavyuha, it tells the story of a young pilgrim, Sudhana, and gives the most vivid account of his mystical experience of the Universe, which appeared to him as a perfect network of mutual relations, where all things and events interact with each other in such a way that each of them contains, itself, all the others,
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2004
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