On Feb 26, 2006, at 4:32 PM, brian knitter wrote:
what is nothing?
To which I responded:
Answer: What isn't something?
Thanks for the ignorance.
And then for some reason I thought I needed to clarify further and later wrote:
Nothing is your question and nothing is my answer. A more precise answer would be, when it isn't then "it" "is". This answers your question. I hope you understood it. That is to say, I hope you understood your question.
To which, on Mar 9, 2006, at 9:18 PM, brian knitter responded:
yes. thank you for answering this complex,yet so simple answer.
i now understand the true meaning of nothing, because nothing is something too.
To which I replied:
No, nothing isn't something!!! At most, "it" is the opposite of something, and usually not even that! I should just stick to doing nothing and stop trying to help people understand that "it" isn't. They don't get it and, and they don't get "it", and they don't get nothing.
I know, I got a little carried away. Then he got more carried away and quoted:
On Mar 11, 2006, at 8:30 AM, brian knitter wrote:
Nothing is the lack or absence of anything. "Nothing" and "zero" are closely related but not identical concepts. The term "nothing" is rarely used mathematically, though it could be said that a set contains nothing if and only if it is the empty set, in which case its cardinality (or size) is zero. Nothing differs from zero in the way that zero is something, a finite amount which is defined. ...
To which I was obliged to retort:
Very good try. However, you're just trying to prove that you know nothing. I would have believed you too if not for your previous letter. The idea that without the use of a mathematical guidebook (or some such resource) you could have made such a profound logical about-face, is astounding and unfortunately, unbelievable. You see, what you say is quite correct mathematically speaking, and actually somewhat similar to what I would say to someone who was embarking on a journey to truly comprehend nothing. It is plain to see that you haven't truly come to understand nothing. "How did you know?" you may ask. Very good question. You see, knowing (as you do) that I am the KING OF NOTHING, you would feel no need to add mundane math to our discussion of nothing (had you truly come to know nothing). This explanation could be great for helping mentally handicapped babies and the general public (who are generally a step below mentally handicapped babies according to our independent general comprehension surveys) to understand the concept of nothing. No, not nothing "itself", but the concept.
For future reference I would have been much more impressed had you said something like the following:
Nothing as a concept is similar to zero. In a mathematical sense the two can occupy the same space or (at times) even be the same thing. However, no explanation can properly explain nothing as a reality. And yet, this is what I am about to do.
You see, it is simple and yet it has everything. It is insightful and yet it expresses nothing. Try something like that next time.