What is "nothingness"?

 9191 (@BV92)6 years ago

My friend and I were sitting around a fire at his place talking about whether we believe in God.

He says he doesn’t believe in a God and believes that there was something that happened in the universe that resulted in earth and life. I told him to think about that at one time there had to be nothing and from nothing, came something.  By ‘nothing’ I mean no planets, no rocks, no air, no space, and at one time ‘nothing’ would’ve had to exist. Nothing does not mean open space because open space is something, right?  So we both sat there contemplating what ‘nothing’ actually was with regards to the universe. 

Anybody have any opinions on what our universe being ‘nothing’ would look like / mean? 

June 11, 2015 at 8:41 am
Jon Brooks (4,512)A (@JonBrooks) 6 years ago ago

To ask what would nothing look like is obviously the wrong question. 

The closest you’ll ever get to experience what nothing feels like is to think back to that time before you existed. How did that look?

This video by Lawrence Krauss goes into the science of what “nothing” is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbsGYRArH_w

kokopelli (8) (@kokopelli) 6 years ago ago

god is that nothingness.

Nothingness and infinity are the same. They both have no end and no beginning. If you are eternal and have always existed then there is no time for you. If you are never ending in size then you are also nothing. 

The all which is god is also the nothing. This may seem like a great contradiction but it is true. when we return to God we return to the void of nothingness. The whole point of the universe was so that something can happen. In the infinite nothingness ( void) all that could ever exist already exists and so nothing new can ever happen, no thoughts can even take place. The universe allows events, thoughts, and feelings to take place.

Cameron (0) (@Cameron-Cox) 6 years ago ago

Nothingness can’t look like anything, there’s nothing to look at, nothing to look with. there’s just nothing. I feel like that’s a really hard concept for us to wrap our heads around, seeing as humans are such visual being when they have manifested thoughts. @jonbrooks video is really awesome. 

Jordan Bates (4,683)A (@bashfulkoala) 6 years ago ago

i’d also recommend this Alan Watts’ video on this topic, BV92: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6mxhCnmmOU

from the perspective of zen buddhism, everything is, at root, nothingness. even everything that feels so tangible to us — trees, desks, rocks, planets, stars — are but forms arising transiently out of a fundamental nothingness. i hope i’ve characterized this correctly. it’s something that’s very difficult to explain in rational terms, but meditating on this idea has brought me face to face with the slow crumbling of everything around me, the ever-shifting forms that characterize this material realm. if something could be said to lurk beneath it all, “nothingness” actually seems a pretty apt term for it at this point. i wish i knew japanese and could understand the original translation of “nothingness” in context.

agigliotti (24) (@agigliotti) 6 years ago ago

Nagarjuna, who is considered one of the most influential Buddhist philosophers, started the Madhyamaka school after he had realizations that lead to the second turning–The Doctrine of Emptiness. Here they started applying the Doctrine of No-Self to everything only to realize that even “emptiness” cannot be “empty” because that would be giving it inherent meaning. Nagarjuna realized that no thing or concept can have an inherent nature, for it depends on what conditions it. But what other word would we use to describe “nothingness”?

This displays the flaws in language to conceptual understanding. There is actually no distinction between “nothing” and “something” because this is a dualistic diluted view of reality. Language is largely responsible for this separation of reality because concepts are what provide this distinction and separate the whole to become fixed entities in order for us to understand.

Using logic Nagarjuna realized that something couldn’t have own-nature or other nature (nothing or something) because both depend on the opposite to exist. Therefore f there is no true existent and no true non existent–all that we are defining is a dualistic illusion. Since everything is mutually dependent; concepts are only given meaning by their relation with one another. Another thing Madhyamakas discovered through logic is that Nirvana and Samsara are really the same thing because they are conceptual opposites, only given meaning in their relation to one another–this is true for everything, hot/cold, light/dark, good/bad. Samsara is empty and so is Nirvana–they are just concepts we have used to convey conventional truth. They are the same thing seen from different angles, either from spiritual ignorance of true knowledge. Enlightenment is knowing that there is no distinction and one can understand this conventional truth in an ultimate way through meditation on emptiness. These realizations are the reason why instant enlightenment is possible in the Chan Buddhist and later Zen Buddhist schools because a jolt out of conceptual thinking can lead one to see that our dualistic notions are creating our delusional view of reality. 

The concept of “nothing” gives meaning to the concept of “something”, just as the concept of “something” gives meaning to the concept of “nothing.”

Zykanthos (4,757)M (@chodebalm) 6 years ago ago

I wrote an article about this a long time ago. Check it out and let me know your thoughts:

Ponderer (2) (@Ponderer) 6 years ago ago

Nothing might be the fundamental component of the universe. It would be an “object” with no properties. The problem with most discussions about this is that when you start describing nothing it seemingly violates is definition; that it cannot have a meaningful description. This is, however, not necessarily true.

When discussing this issue it is important to separate between the intrinsic properties of something and the properties humans apply. An apple, for example, does not have the property apple, but it has certain fundamental properties on a subatomic level that we recognize as an apple.

Therefore nothing can be real even though humans may apply some properties to it. But what happens when you remove all the properties of something? It becomes the raw form of existence. Nothing is what everything is beyond its properties. This means that nothing is what makes everything exist. A kind of atom of existence. 

It is not weird that something can come from nothing. What would be weird is if we believed something came from something.

SoulPerfection (25) (@soulperfection) 6 years ago ago

I suggest reading a book by Doloras Cannon, one of them talks about stuff like this.

ArmoredBerserk (3) (@ArmoredBerserk) 6 years ago ago

There are no contradictions in nature such as dualism/non-dualism, these terms are simply contextual measurements limited by our senses.

Nothingness and substance are one in the same, an emergent quality of nature, although our sense tell us this is a logical contradiction, nature is not dictated by the prior.

For those interested, I stumbled upon this heart sutra by accident while investigating a deep meditative experience I had, in which I entered the 7th state of samadhi: the dimension of neither perception or non-perception.

http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/heartsutra.html     <—————(source)/(clipped)

Body is nothing more than emptiness, 
emptiness is nothing more than body. 
The body is exactly empty, 
and emptiness is exactly body.

The other four aspects of human existence — 
feeling, thought, will, and consciousness — 
are likewise nothing more than emptiness, 
and emptiness nothing more than they.

All things are empty: 
Nothing is born, nothing dies, 
nothing is pure, nothing is stained, 
nothing increases and nothing decreases.

So, in emptiness, there is no body, 
no feeling, no thought, 
no will, no consciousness. 
There are no eyes, no ears, 
no nose, no tongue, 
no body, no mind. 
There is no seeing, no hearing, 
no smelling, no tasting, 
no touching, no imagining. 
There is nothing seen, nor heard, 
nor smelled, nor tasted, 
nor touched, nor imagined. 

GarrettMc (59) (@GarrettMc) 6 years ago ago

There wouldn’t be nothing unless there was something. It’s two sides of the same coin. 

agigliotti (24) (@agigliotti) 6 years ago ago


TPK (9) (@@TPK) 6 years ago ago

“Nothingness” is a philosophical conundrum created by the paucity of human language.  The “universe” is, of course, “something,” so attempting to use imagination— mind— to comprehend a mental concept of a reality devoid of anything, is a contradiction of philosophic terms and the equivalent of nonentity.  
In the time-space frame within which we find ourselves, and from the intellectual reference point of our limited comprehension, even an infinite God cannot create square circles, or say, produce evil that is inherently good.  Even God cannot do the ungodlike thing.  
“Cosmologists” like Lawrence Krauss, who authored “A Universe From Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing” is an example of the tortured logic necessary to invoke the universe from “nothing.”  Riddled with red herrings and awash with circular argumentation and self-contradiction, Krauss nominates himself the poster child of confused mechanism.  There’s an excellent article here: http://www.bethinking.org/is-there-a-creator/a-universe-from-someone-against-lawrence-krauss&nbsp;

Nick Sousa (3) (@Nick-Sousa) 6 years ago ago

Well, the concept of nothing wouldn’t have any type of spatial relationship so this type of idea wouldn’t “look like” anything. The first thought that comes to mind when thinking about the idea of nothing is the value zero.

Zero, when viewed in two dimensions, has infinity on either side of it. It also serves as a way to join together two opposing relationships. Zero, in a sense, is a point of balance that is neutral. One theory is that the sum of the energy in our universe is zero.

To draw on a parallel example – I just got home from the urologist after being sterilized. Even though I have two balls (let’s call them “negative” and “positive”), you could assign a value of zero to my genitalia.

unconditioned (9) (@unconditioned) 6 years ago ago

nothingness and something are concepts in your mind. God is beyond(again beyond is a concept) that. Belief is a concept too..

When you drop all concepts what is? Also scientifically, time came into existence after the big bang.. according to me time is a concept..

If time was not there before the universe came into existence. How can there be a before?   

JennyWren (0) (@JennyWren) 6 years ago ago

The opposite of nothing is not something, but everything.  The interconnectedness of everything: that is why the experience of emptiness is so overwhelmingly amazing. 

load more