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What is nothing?

  1. Mar 28, 2004 #1
    What is "nothing?"

    ... and, more specifically, what is the difference between nothing and absolutely nothing?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 29, 2004 #2


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    This difference between nothing and absolutely nothing is -- nothing!

    Nothing is the absence of anything; the state with cardinality zero, the empty set.

    Don't confuse nothingness with the physicists "vacuum state", which is the state you can't subtract particles from. That's a different definition and the interactive quantum field vacuum is a dicey thing and certainly not "nothing".
  4. Mar 29, 2004 #3
    Maybe I should have said no-thing and absolutely nothing.

    Would that have made your response any different?
  5. Mar 29, 2004 #4
    Let me add to that if I may.

    Even the absence of everything... isn't necessarily "absolutely" nothing.

    Prior to anything... is different than "in relationship" to anything.
  6. Mar 29, 2004 #5
    Let 1=something & 0=nothing. The difference is 1-0 = 1.

    No-thing is a non-existent. Have you ever found one? Have you ever found a unicorn?
  7. Mar 29, 2004 #6
    No-thing exists because at the very minimum it contains "implication."

    Absolutely nothing is a different animal.
  8. Mar 29, 2004 #7
    What is "nothing" for Artists and Scientists?

    Here is a link that speaks to this issue. I have struggle with this idea of nothing, and just doesn't make sense to me. From this perspective, I always start from something. Is this not logical?

    Anyway here is a link of interest.

    In the last 30 years, Particle Physicists, Cosmologists and Mathematicians have fought like alley cats, each redefining the concept of zero. But is zero "nothing"? "Nothing" is a serious matter. Understanding the "absolute vacuum" is a compelling quest. Does the Higgs Bosun exist? If we find it, what will it tell us? Why does the universe exist when matter and anti - matter should have cancelled each other out at the Big Bang leaving "nothing"?

    http://www.infinite.linst.ac.uk/english/symposium/popsympintro.php [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  9. Mar 29, 2004 #8
    you can't verify implication. You also can't verify absolutely nothing. There are no referece objects for either one.
  10. Mar 29, 2004 #9
    Does it include the absence of nothing its self?

    I think though nothing is equal amounth of pro and anti at once!
    Nothing is the perfect balance evrything tends to achieve!
    In a way nothing is all!
    GOD is all;all is nothing;nothing is GOD!
    Nothing is enough!
  11. Mar 29, 2004 #10
    No less than anything else one might want to talk about.

    This is the world of ideas... a world in which we have no reference objects to work with yet... that is what theoretical physics is all about.

    We are looking for a reference object... aren't we?
  12. Mar 29, 2004 #11
    When Certains Assumptions are Adopted


    This defintiely sets up for the ideas between two positions. Is a singularity really a singularity, or a connection in the idea (blackhole) of the recycling universe?

    Colliding Branes?

    The Universe was not born in one Big Bang, it has been going through cycles of creation and annihilation for eternity, according to a controversial new mathematical model1.

    Last edited: Mar 29, 2004
  13. Mar 29, 2004 #12
    sol2... I appreciate your approach to this subject.

    A helpfulness born out of humility is the only way we are going to make progress.

    deda... your question is a very deep one.
  14. Mar 29, 2004 #13
    "Absolutely nothing" existed... before the infinitely small, compact and powerful particle that produced the big bang somehow came into existence... or did it?
  15. Mar 29, 2004 #14
    I came to the idea of nothing when considering the above idea: a large expanse of emptiness that the Big Bang exploded into, creating matter out of nothing, pushing it into a big expanse of emptiness. It occurred to me empty space is definitely something. Our whole physics seems to be based on the existence of an infinite expanse of empty space. If physicists think empty space is nothing, let them try renting an empty space uptown!

    So I said, “What is nothing?” Nothing does not contain the concept of space. Nothing also implies the idea that there is a thing. Thing would be everything there is, but no “thing” is infinite, so outside the boundaries of the thing is no-thing.

    No I see a vast piece of matter surrounded by an infinite amount of nothing, which does not contain the concept of space. My first question was, “What is the tensile strength of the matter?” Is this large something like a heavy rock that is very strong and solid?

    I concluded tensile strength was irrational. Matter has no tensile strength to speak of. Raw matter is like water. The Bible says, “The whole world was formless and void and the Spirit of God flew above the waves of the abyss.” That describes a very large formless thing that is like water, and it has boundaries that God is just outside of: exactly what I created from my exploration of the concepts of thing and nothing.

    We know a Big Bang happened, so the way to make the thing larger and more complex was to break it up. Breaking it up makes it expand into nothing. If you break it in half and separate the two halves, they want to come back together because they are separating into what does not contain space. This has the same feel as gravity: two pieces of matter want to fall back into each other. But the force is not gravity it is the strong force. The tensile strength of matter is the weak force.

    I exploded this vast sea of liquid matter, and the attraction between every drop of matter is the strong force. The drops of matter make up the points of space. Space is not an empty expanse; space is the distance between two points of matter. And the two points are separating against the strong force. The two points separated by a distance is a string, with string tension, which physicists say make up every particle.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2004
  16. Mar 29, 2004 #15
    The expanding or exploding point... into nothing and from nothing... in the beginning was the word... and the word was "poof."

    Seriously though... everything (including anti-matter) and nothing (empty space) are just two sides of the same coin. A coin that appears to be real but actaully isn't. On the everything side it never reaches solidity, i.e. matter without anit-matter, or a "point" you can put your finger on... and on the nothing side, it never reaches nothing because empty space is still something.

    Both seem to be infinite. Go out beyond everything and there's empty space... go a little farther and everything is still there... a little farther still... more nothing, or empty space... ad infinitum.

    If you're headed toward everything, the universe seems to be expanding. If you're headed towards nothing, the universe seems to be contracting.

    There is a step beyond this though... a different kind of step... a leap as it were... where absolutely nothing resides... or doesn't.
  17. Mar 29, 2004 #16
    Nothing does not even contain empty space, therefore we have to build space out of the only thing that exists, which is matter.

    Each point of matter represents a point of space. When you build space out of physical points, you create a space in which you can only go in a limited number of directions. Try laying pennies on a table. The pennies are points that you are using to build a flat plane. You'll find that if you can only go from one penny to any other penny, that is to say, from one point to any other point, there are a limited number of directions and paths you can go. These limited paths become dimensions. If space were a given, if space existed on its own there would be an unlimited number of paths. If you have to construct space out of physycal bits of matter, then there are a limited number of paths you can travel, and these limited paths become dimensions.

    When you put distance between points, you create multiple dimensions.
  18. Mar 29, 2004 #17
    I agree that space is completely tied-up with matter.

    But is it fair to only say, that we build space out of matter?

    Couldn't we just as easily say, that we build matter out of space. There would only be one single point of matter, if it weren't for the space inbetween multiple points of matter.

    Matter and space (thing and no-thing) make up the universe... but neither one, nor both together, rise to the level of an absolute.
  19. Mar 30, 2004 #18
    No, you can't say you build matter out of space. Space is much too complex to be an absolute form of existence. To begin with, it has three dimensions. Where did they come from? Matter has only one quality: it is. Based on that charactorization of matter, it has two natural qualities. It is, therefore it is not something else, therefore it has inertia. And it occupies a place.

    So ironically, we can't say in an absolute way there is nothing. That implies the absence of something, which requires something. The only absolute idea is: it is. We can't say, "How do things come into existence within space?" Saying that, we are implying two complex thoughts: we imply the idea of nothing, which is a combination of two concepts, no and thing; and we imply the idea of space which is a combination of three dimensions. Matter has one dimension, it is. That leads to two qualities. It cannot be something else, therefore it has inertia. And it occupies one place. Matter is the singularity the universe was made from. It didn't spring from nothing within space. Something exploded within nothing.
  20. Mar 30, 2004 #19


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    Umm, matter has a lot of properties, whether at the particle level or emergent. Think of all the different elements. Think of the different states of water. Look at the world of matter around you. You can't capture its essence with just generic stuff.
  21. Mar 30, 2004 #20
    Nothing is by definition "not anything", therefore it has no properties what so ever. Therefore it cannot have anything within. That would imply that nothing is a something. Nothing cannot exist because in order for it to exist it must have properties.

    Space has 4 demensions.
    The actual fabric of space has (according to M-theory) 8 curled up demensions.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2004
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