Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Conversation: When is a noun not a noun?

On Jun 3, 2008, at 5:50 PM, Staticboy44 wrote:

When we speak about nothing we speak about something because nothing is the idea of something. Otherwise, 'nothing' wouldn't be a noun. And if nothing 'is' and noun and can 'be' a noun, then nothing is a 'something'.

To which I replied:


I agree that an Idea is something, however, it's not quantifiable unless expressed. Even if expressed, an idea generally isn't much. However, that doesn't mean that having an idea or thought about anything that exists or doesn't yet exist makes that thing (real or imagined) any more than what it already was. For example, the idea "rent check" is great, the landlord loves that idea. But the idea is essentially nothing without its extant counterpart. Are you getting this? Things with no force have no ability to bring other things into being, so having an idea about something isn't that same as creating that thing, nor does it mean that the thing that doesn't yet exist always existed. In fact, that idea probably doesn't mean anything.

As for your next statement, I can start out by agreeing that the WORD nothing is usually a noun, and there are many contexts in which the word nothing is properly used to signify a state of being, most of these cases are when nothing is used as a numerical equivalent. Examples would be, "there's nothing left!" or "I will harm nothing among your prize winning otter-skin hat collection". Again, those statements are both numerical so they do not refer to "pure nothing". However when used to refer to "pure nothing" the word nothing can be used as an identifier, but not properly as a noun.

Thanks for your linear and overly simplistic comments regarding nothing.

Xymyl (KON)

Top level communication: Nothing is STILL never what you think or even dream "it" "is". Part II

On Jun 2, 2008, at 9:02 PM, Cameron Burns wrote:

I am curious, do you make your living with www.nothing.net? I am not saying it is a bad investment, I am just wondering as to why someone with as a good perspective on philosophical Ideas as you have would go about discussing paradox's of nothing on a website. I simply posted multiple posts to get your attention. I did not do in an egoist sort of way, and do not care what kind of negative response i may have. I find your opinions interesting as with your somewhat comic representations of the uses and contradictions in certain phrasing of the word. When I said, "Only in a dream can Nothing be experienced along with anything. As Bue-Bye said: "Ain't no place that there never was."" You're right that I could have just said nothing, but my meaning in saying that is that you cannot experience absence of perception along with Perception in the same "reality" unless you are dreaming. Some would say that that is the goal of meditation, yet all the while meditation leads to an "enlightened" state of mind, and if you have an "enlightened" state of mind then surely you have not rid your mind of all perception. When you are dreaming you are both there, yet you are also completely non present when it comes to your state of mind in a sense that you cannot logically determine what you are doing; Unless You are conscious of the fact you are dreaming, or rather "lucid dreaming". Everything IS meaningless without a revelation of that something. That is why I speak of dreams so much. Dreams are the essence of action through non-action. Dreams unlock the minds ability to express unconditionally. When I said, "Perception is reality and without there is a dream." I meant that without reality there is a dream, and by that I mean a literal dream like while you are asleep, in the accord that reality is waking life and without there is a dream. But that sentence right there is a paradox. If perception is reality then a dream can be just as much of a reality if you are perceiving it, for example, in a lucid dream. I am not obsessed with dreams as you may suggest in your e-mail, but I do want to ask you one thing. Have you ever had a dream, where you realized it was a dream, and then you tried to figure out where you are by doing things you would normally do in your waking life? That quote I wrote at the end of my last E-mail, I saw in a dream where I did just that. I found the sun, and tried to follow it, only it did not look like the sun and I could look at it directly. It led me to a large pyramid with water flowing off the sides. I even drank the water and it tasted just as real as water when you're awake. I climbed to the top and at the top was a gravestone of sort that read, "Bue-Bye: "Ain't no place that there never was."" After reading that I got kind of surprised and woke up suddenly. The next day I went to class and my history professor gave me a very old book of poems after I randomly told him about the dream. In the book he pointed out the same quote by an ancient Chinese man, that my professor had seen previously and remembered because of the curiousness of the saying. By telling you this I am merely suggesting that when we dream, If we take control of our dreams, It is quite possible that one can experience different perceptions of reality. I do not presume to understand it well at all.

To which I responded:

Share and share alike. I'll answer this letter from the bottom up and in a (hopefully) far less verbose manner than my previous response.

You asked, "Have you ever had a dream, where you realized it was a dream..." Yes, all the time...

When I was younger the natural state of my dreams was lucid and the default nature of my waking hours was as if in a dream (or at least accompanied by dreams). Being a chronic insomniac all of my life I learned at a very young age that one MUST dream. If you never sleep, you will still dream, it just happens while you're awake. Learning to cope with real-life situations - active daily life - interacting with my own dreams was a useful skill once I actually did get some sleep. I would trick out my sleepy-time dreams with colors that can't possibly exist in reality and layers of abstraction that are impossible to express with any form of communication. I would rarely change what I personally did in my dreams but I was really a god of my own universe so I would change the world around me, of course I'm not too uppity to admit that I would tend to fly, float, hover and drift a lot in these dreams, and I was almost always omniscient. I know, flying is what all the lucid dream geeks do. Sorry if I've shattered my public image through that statement.

But enough about me and my silly dreams. Let's get back to nothing important...

As for meditation, many believe (as you have mentioned) that unburdening and freeing the mind of all thoughts will bring one to a higher level of consciousness. I believe the enlightenment that is achieved through such a practice is a sort of dumbing down, more of a "lightening" of the mind rather than a "shedding of light" onto or into the mind. If you look at my blog posting from Tuesday May 29th 2007 "Q&A Your first "encounter" with nothing?", you'll see a brief account of the most such an experience can accomplish. ( http://xymyl.blogspot.com/2007/05/q-your-first-encounter-with-nothing.html )

Now that you've explained more of the background behind the story I appreciate your method of interjecting an obscure reference as though it should be common knowledge. I was already thinking, "this reference sounds like a family bedtime story, am I expected to know this?" - but I never suspected that you would be making a direct reference to one of your dreams as one might choose a phrase from a movie (as I overheard a group of young ladies in the 90's doing - "I know of this great blowfish place") as a pseudo inside joke or bonding crutch. I'm fairly certain you didn't expect me to get it, or did you? Was I supposed to say, "Oh yeah, that's a reference to that dream you had!" or write back a cryptic message that only you and I would understand to let you know that I was on your page?

By way of response to your wonderment at my choice of philosophical endeavors, I can only say that nothing means more to me than spending my time on making money or changing the world or just about anything. As for the value of my investment, I think I've done very well. With a non-stop stream - and often overwhelming floods - of traffic to nothing.net I could have sold advertising, made the tee-shirts more prominent, made nothing into more of a gimmick so people could understand "it" as it, and many other things. Yet, I've stuck to my original plan. Nothing, pure and simple (with jokes). And I'm proud to say that after 12 years and millions upon millions of visitors I have been able to consistently lose money on this educational project. Everyone involved with nothing appreciates and strives for that type of success.

And to answer your question, no. Part of the fun about nothing.net is that there is no reason for it to exist yet it does exist and primarily for the purpose of promoting a deeper understanding of what doesn't exist (and yet has a somewhat misleading name). The secondary function of the site is to combine the inherent flaws in (english) language with the natural inclination of the masses to attempt to see beyond the obvious - without establishing logical parameters from which to judge - to make the same joke over and over and over again.

I hope this information helps you understand why nothing is close to my heart.

--Xymyl (KON)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Top level communication: Nothing is never what you think or even dream "it" "is".

On Jun 2, 2008, at 8:37 AM, Cameron Burns wrote:

Perception of the understanding of something determines IT is something. Perception is reality and without there is a dream. For if you're not perceiving anything, then surely you understand it already. It is impossible to perceive nothing to the affect that Nothing is nothing. If you claim to understand nothing then you are mistaken. Nothing can be used to understand nothing. Only in a dream can Nothing be experienced along with anything. As Bue-Bye said: "Ain't no place that there never was."

To which I replied:

Certainly I would have to generally agree with your first statement, when one understands something or knows something about something that something is almost assuredly something. Understanding nothing would have to be different though wouldn't it? You know, since nothing isn't something. I appreciate how you don't seem to allow understanding to carry any weight on its own, as though perception of the understanding is everything and the understanding is meaningless without a further revelation.

Personally, I don't see perception (or even perception that adds value to neutral understanding) as molding realities. I believe the realities of loss, lack, negation and substance or even abundance will remain inert or constant with the only variations in their states being prompted by the forces that act upon (or interact with) them. It is technically not possible to interact with a true vacuum. As soon as an entity, force or object is introduced into the void it becomes active (or at least populated) to that degree. Of course a forceless void which is impregnated by objects with force from beyond that point will seem to be interacting - sucking the outside world in - however, our theoretical vacuum was really nothing, and all that suckage was really just natures way of balancing everything out.

Your next sentence does not contain enough qualifiers to determine what you're trying to say. If you mean "without perception there is a dream" I'm not sure where you're going with this. If you mean "without reality there is a dream", then I would have to counter that, thoughts, hopes and even dreams exist. This is perceived by the dreamer himself and often conveyed to others as well through conversation when the dream was exceptional or just to fill awkward moments during socialization, dooming those relationships to a slow slide into oblivion. If you meant "without a unified perception/reality fusion there is a dream" I would have to say that this perception/reality to which you refer sounds very much like a dream, where the subconscious mind interacts with all of the data stored during waking hours, allowing us to make connections that would be highly unlikely if we allowed insecurities, prejudices and fears to influence our responses to stimuli as we may be more inclined to while awake.

Your third sentence negates itself. Enough said.

Your fourth sentence is just plain strange, plus, I've covered anything that could possibly be gleaned from it as having value in my previous statements. We're really cruising now!

Your next point is that I am mistaken if I claim to understand nothing. Are you claiming that I have more understanding than I can possibly comprehend? And are you then possibly claiming that I know everything? Because if I don't know everything I must at least know nothing in the general sense of knowing nothing about certain subjects. If you claim that I know everything, then by YOUR definition of nothing I must also know nothing. So which is it? I'm right and you're wrong or you're wrong and I'm right? Don't answer that question, I'll just guess quietly.

You immediately follow that cryptic blurb with a general truism. Nothing can be used to understand nothing, and I would have to agree with you, nothing is certainly not anything that can be used to comprehend nothing and I mean that in both the way you said it and the way I did, but I don't believe I mean what you said in the way you meant it.

And then you lost me at the end, I don't know what your obsession with dreams is all about. As the song "Row Your Boat" says, "life is but a dream" it also says we should row our boats. It says that a lot! People who are obsessed with dreams seem to repeat themselves a lot, when they could have just said nothing.

Thank you for your comments, and where we don't see things eye to eye it is refreshing to know that we still see nothing differently. You in the sense that you think you see it so you don't, me in the sense that I don't see "it" so I do.

--Xymyl (KON)