Thursday, February 8, 2007

Q&A Nothing almost defined...

On Feb 8, 2007, at 7:25 PM, Joe Bjorklund wrote:

I decided to look up the definition of nothing in the dictionary and was horrified to find an actual definition, should there not be just a blank space? I have been reading your blogs and am becoming extremely worried about the fact that no matter where I seem to go there is also something. I do not like when I ask people what they are doing and they say "nothing", I am not expecting a run down of all their current bodily functions, or maybe I am, a lot can be implied with such a simple sentence. I also have a distinct aversion to the phrase, something for nothing, this implies that you achieved or received something for putting forth no effort. The lack of effort is not, in any definable way, nothing. This lack of effort, this nothing they refer to is, in fact, something. The speakers of this phrase are turning a verb nothing, into a noun nothing. They are changing the fabric of space, time and language and to me, this act takes extreme effort and is definitely, something. I am also irritating myself by following me everywhere I go. Have a non-existent day.

To which I responded:

Nothing is a word, and as such will be defined in the dictionary. The word nothing is in fact something, but as used by us, it means nothing. I agree that there should be no definition needed to explain the obvious. But by that way of thinking the web site and this blog have no need to exist and yet here they are. One of the biggest problems with the definition of nothing is that they call “it” a noun. And that is the most accurate definition.

I appreciate your concern about being surrounded and hounded by everything. As for the idea of people doing nothing, I believe in nothing as an absolute, but there is also place for a relativistic viewpoint in certain instances. Certainly “doing nothing” is one such instance where this viewpoint must be held. Anything, could never be said to be doing nothing without such a platform. Even dead people decompose and that is certainly something. But, come on! It’s a gimme, they’re doing nothing.

As for your statement about “something for nothing” we are aware of an even more disgusting way of using that term. It is of course, the “SOMETHING FOR NOTHING SCAM”. This is a terrible scam where people are convinced to buy something disguised as nothing. A couple of other blogs already posted here discuss these scams in more detail. There will be many more such posts in the near future, we want the public to stay informed. So you don’t need to tell us about “something for nothing” even though you were trying to say something different than what we are saying.

I like your idea about having a non-existent day, however, I am pretty sure it isn’t possible. Or was the irony or possible paradoxical nature of the comment your point?

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