Friday, October 28, 2011

Tricked by Nothing

On October 28, 2011 Kristian Primeau wrote:
What a conundrum! Being observed by many as having done "...nothing, at all!", I have come to the conclusion that I have, in all actuality, accomplished alot...
Finally, a moment of epiphany... Nothing Is Something!
At last, hope and inspiration build...wait a minute...
I was tricked!

                                                                                                           What can we say...

To which I replied:

Thanks for your musings on the 'state' of nothingness. It can be confusing to many because we are taught language so we can relate words and concepts to others. When it comes to nothing in general (the lack of something) it already starts to degrade. We quantify a lack with a simple measurement -a glass half-empty. Or we quantify a lack with an idea of what was (or should have been) there -if jane has three apples and john takes away two.

We are instructed from infancy in this simplistic addition & subtraction. Higher mathematics is not needed in the average person’s daily grind and thus falls into disuse as one progresses through real life. In my case, I had created my own style of math long before I learned to count (thus it was inherently non-numerical) so I was predisposed against the stale indoctrinations of the ignorant masses. I already had a system that worked, however, I was happy to incorporate this numerical math into my life because it was beneficial for communicating quantities of things.

This is how it worked when I was in school... you are shown a group of things and then you assign numbers to how many of them there are. If there are eight things in the picture you write an 8 on your worksheet. If there are four, you write 4. If there are forty billion things in the picture you use your advanced non-numerical math system that you made up all by yourself while you were still a baby and you translate your outcome to a recognizable numerical equivalent so you can share it with your teacher. Oh, that’s right, they wouldn’t bother with numbers too big to count or too small to count. Incidentally, those were the only things I was interested in.

You mention that others have noted you doing “...nothing at all!” and I would agree with you. Giving the impression of total non-essence is a great (some might say glorious) feat. But I want to make it very clear that while ‘giving an impression’ is something, nothing isn’t necessarily anything.

Obviously nothing CAN be and generally IS something. But that’s when used in that ever-present numerical sense -Jane has zero apples OR Jane has nothing. And that “nothing” is not the nothing of total lack of existence, for she still has her life. Like so many words (yes, the WORD nothing is also a thing) nothing has many meanings and uses.

So now we’ve transitioned back to words. Let us dispense with zero, because it never will be nothing in the fullest sense. Don’t get me wrong. I love ‘zero’. But it’s about as non-extant as ‘having nothing to do’. Zero is at best a placeholder and at worst it’s a lack (usually of apples or other fruit).

So lets get to the point of this diatribe, nothing.

The WORD nothing IS SOMETHING. In the vernacular it is used ad infinitum in this finite sense. To fully understand nothing, we need to see beyond the boring concept of an ever-expanding infinity (yawn). We need to see an infinity that never had to start because “it” either already never wasn’t OR wasn’t ever never.

Colloquially it would be appropriate to speak of ‘the big nothing’ as never having existed. And we have no problem with this elementary phrasing. In fact our ever-unchanging web site uses many such literary tricks to get people started thinking about nothing.

Every-so-often we like to break out the ultimate truth about nothing and let people in on what exactly ‘the big nothing’ isn’t even not.

We have always held that nothing (the big nothing, real nothing) has no state, but is not lacking a state. A lack would make nothing something. Nothing is better than that, so we explain further. Nothing is so non-extant but so non-lacking that ‘it’ can’t EVEN not exist. Nothing has no capacity, nothing has no lack, nothing has no ability to have or not have anything. Yet, we have nothing and we are so proud of ‘it’ that we want to share nothing with everyone (for $5).

So now I hope you see clearly that when you were tricked by nothing, you were tricked into enlightenment... or whatever.

Xymyl (KON)


Chief said...

So the big nothing is absolutely nothing, with no relation to any something, so that it is not just a lack of something, but the absence of anything?

Xymyl said...

Right Chief. You've got the idea. But, just in case someone wants to argue the point, I should qualify...

Absence is a state. So I wouldn't want to imply the existence of a state of fitting within the concept of 'the big nothing'.

mslindqu said...

Please refer to Charles S. Pierce for a concise and complete definition of nothing.. yours is quite verbose and confusing to the uninformed... This is nothing new.

Xymyl said...

This was not meant to be an explanation of nothing. Nothing needs no explanation. However, as an explanation mine is actually better than Charles S. Pierce's which is easily shown by comparison.

Charles S. Pierce's explanation (although clever) was less complete, too literal and not funny enough.

I'm afraid you too may have been fooled by nothing.

Anonymous said...

damn there is alot of stuff that comes up about nothing

Anonymous said...

Din nimic, nimic răsare
Cu nimic, nimic nu pare
Ai nimic, nimic nu este
Faci nimic, nimic nu se plănuieşte
Sunt nimic şi nimic nu-ţi vorbeşte

Nullus Nihilius

Andrew Koller said...

so, nothing is always there, but not there at the same time. As long as it is an idea, it is something and therefor nothing. Which means it is almost perfection.(or at least to me)

Nothing said...

I've found that nothing is nothing. That is my experience.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

. To me nothing is everything , and, ( absolutely nothing ). I realize the importance of the nothing in a light hearted, refreshingly grateful way. Yet I am serious when I talk of nothing because over the last 8yrs I've been to too many funerals of people that committed suicide over nothing.
I spoze most thought they had nothing to live for, the thing that was out of reach to them left them feeling that their lives were so empty, which created the illusion that they had nothing. All the time every one of them had so much. So dumb!!

I choose not to make a joke about nothing because it's what I've been looking for all my days and it was with me all along.
After all I was born with it, I will die with it. But what's more is the fact that all of my life it will have been alongside of me everywhere I've been. Alongside me while I did everything and nothing, asleep too, nothing's right there.
I pretend my wife and kids do not exist and that I have nothing. No relationships, no possessions, nothing.
I've never been happier and more able to please. I am experiencing the most successful time of my life. Truly amazing and I owe it all to nothing.

l am happy to have ended up back at nothing, I knew it well as a kid and wished for it desperately. It has taken 8yrs and a lot of guts to not be scared of nothing.
I'm forty....something and have struggled along the way but my life is so much easier now I remembered nothing.
some of you'll will get nothing from this, others may take nothing from this and will use it wisely. Either way I hope nothing for you, why, because it has nothing to do with me, its none of my business.
I'd sign off with a witty name like Grandmaster of Nothing but it might leave you thinking that I believe in something other than nothing.
Ironically you can't leave this comment box empty so here is next to nothing. Can you see it? I'll type it again for you. And again. One last time.

Anonymous said...

Something came of nothing. Why something? Why not nothing?

Anonymous said...

" "

searchingfornothing said...

If I asked any of you to imagine nothing whaat would you see in your mind's eye, darkness or just an abstract idea on how nothing is existant in it's non-existingness where there is nothing but without the lack of something which would imply that a something had to be there. The true definition of nothing being nothing and that if you had written: "nothing is nothing" then you wouldn't have attracted people to talk about nothing but in the end by doing so you talked about something(nothing) whereas you wanted to talk about nothing in that this conversation should have never started being that its bout the "true nothing". I am no expert on nothing but just trying to point out the error in the conversation above the most obvious being that it never should have existed in the first place. Good luck in your search for nothing tell me if you find anything ;) I shall not wait for your reply unless you can reply after you die.

Anonymous said...

Nothing is between spaces in these parentheses ---> ( )