Why is there something and not nothing?

Recommended Posts

Why is there something instead of nothing? The interesting conclusion of this ultimate puzzle is that, we can be sure of, it that at least something exists. There is a Universe, we see people, and things, and light, and while we may debate what it means, how it came into being, and how it works, we can be sure that there is at least something'.

Many physicists search for the most elementary laws of physics, and believe that a law is more likely to be true, when it is simpler, more elementary. Some think that at some moment, humans will understand how the Universe and everything works, and, even more, that we find out why the Universe is necessarily as it is. (I my opinion this is nonsense). I cannot believe that we will find “A fact of Everything” scientifically; I believe humans cannot ever give a satisfactory scientifically answer to this final most profound of questions, ultimate of all questions. “Why is there something instead of nothing?”

But, lets us try?

By nothing, I mean the un-existence of everything or the absence of all existence. No people, no earth, no milky way, no universe, no laws of nature, no space, no time a total non-existence of everything. A mind-boggling, brain-, brain-numbing and brain- twisting overwhelming concept, terrifying, frightening, too awful to contemplate and impossible think about, without going insane and totally beyond understanding of any human genius. Making a mathematical model of nothing is actually easy. (Take an empty set, with no operations on it, and nothing else.)

Nevertheless, one thing we can be sure of: this nothing is not correct: we do not have “nothing”, but definite and absolutely do indeed have ‘SOMETHING’. Remember by absolute nothingness I don’t mean just an empty void left but the absence of the infinite void as well.

This shows that the simplest model is not always the correct one. The universe is almost infinitely complex and to me this points to the simple logic that it is the creation by an infinite, intelligent power. Nothing is the very most basic of all concepts and if there were ever a nothing, there would be no creator, of course.

Some people may argue that the universe was created in the Big Bang ( but whom and what pressed the button of the big bang in the first place, so to speak?) , and that positive matter and positive energy are actually negated by the simultaneous creation of negative matter and negative energy. However, this doesn't answer the other question, where do matter, energy and laws of physics then come from in the first place?

Does this question have an answer? If something exists because it either was a modification of something or else, Something or Somebody else created it, then what caused that to exist? It seems that our logic is unable to deal with the question; indeed, I think the question shows there is a limit to our understanding of things by the very best minds of the human race. There are simply mysteries out there that will never ever be solved by mere mortal man.

You see the universe has a strange Goldie locks condition about it, i.e., it cannot be too hot, or too cold etc, etc, etc, but it has to be just absolutely correct, precise and right or life would not have come into existence and we would not be around to contemplate, debate or dialog on this ultimate enigma. We would not exist. Life hangs on and depends on this knife- edge of harmonies conditions that have to be sustained over countless billions of years, for us to have come into existence and continue to exist. Makes one think, does it not?

An uncaused Cause must exist and to me am an inescapable fact of logic, call this entity God if you like.

By Alan McDougall 11/6/2007

Share on other sites

This is just sophistry.

You already start out with the idea about "something-ness" and "nothing-ness" (which I will call 'being' and 'nothing') which supposes they are only seperate from each other. With seperate I mean that they would have so-to-speak seperate existence, each on their own.

But since you would have no trouble in contemplating also coming-to-be and ceasing-to-be, it is already understood that being passes over into nothing and vice versa, and by which it should be understood that being and nothing are unseperated, since they are just each others opposite.

The notions being and nothing (just as abstract notions, that is without any determination) are each seperately only nothing and in fact the same (that is: the same lack of determination). They only exist as each others opposite in the union of being and nothing which is becoming.

In other words:

So, since the notion of nothing is based on something (ie. nothing means the lack or absence of something) if you were to contemplate about the inexistence of any something, then neither would there be any nothing.

Or, another example. Darkness is just absence of light. But suppose that there would not be photons, no electro-magnetic fields, would then such a world be dark? No, of course not. If there is no light, then neither there can be absence of light. And similarly, if the universe would have light penetrating everywhere, without shadows/darkness, we would not be able to detect it.

PS.

The universe does not have a Goldi lock condition. This is only true for there to be planets in a habitable zone. There are plenty of planets that are not in the habitable zone.

PS.2

The universe was not "created" in the Big bang, and that is not what the big bang theory claims to say.

An uncaused Cause must exist and to me am an inescapable fact of logic, call this entity God if you like.

If you mean that for any something to exist, it must have a cause of it's existence, then why would your made-up entity God be immune to that same logic? You can not use a certain kind of logic and neglect it at the same time, as you please, so either you use it throughout and uniformly in the strictest sense, or don't use it, but you are not permitted to use it just as it seems fit.

If you then say, well but I choose the made-up entity God to be eternal, so God would not need to have a cause, then it would be clear immediately you would not have to infer it´s existence in the first place, since we could just say then that the world itself is eternal, and hence needs no (external) cause. And in any case, it is rather illogical to say that the made-up entity God does not need a cause, and a self-creating God also defeats logic.

In any way the statement that there would have need to be a God to create the world is false, since the mere existence of any something (even if just God and nothing else) means a world already exists, and which therefore can not have been created by God.

But perhaps another way of explaining this is that indeed, all material and physical phenomena need to have a cause, but that would just implies that some substance exists which itself is neither createble nor destructable, but which existence gives rise to all the known (and perhaps also yet unknown) forms of matter and physical phenomena. Since there is just this one undivided substance, it also means that all forms of matter can be transformed into each other. We call that matter. The existence of matter implies space and time exist, since matter is in motion always. It is not just physical matter (ie. particles or fermions) but all forms of matter known to physics (like fields, etc.).

Matter forms the substance which creates objective reality, and it exists outside and independend of our consciousness. Consciousness is just a secondary feature of matter, based on a highly organized material form in living beings (ie. our brains).

Matter, as defined here, is an abstact category. We don't 'see' or 'observe' matter, we only recognize it's various interactions and existence forms. Outside of matter there is nothing. All causes for phenomena in the world are based on the existence of matter. Matter itself though is causeless, infinite and eternal.

Edited by robheus

Share on other sites

Hi, rob,

Thanks for a great reply best I have had on this subject, but we dissagree on a few points!

Matter itself though is causeless, infinite and eternal

You stated the above but it is wrong we know scientifically that matter given sufficient time decays and vanishes from existence, even protons

Wik article

All nucleons decay

1040 years

Given our assumed half-life of the proton, nucleons (protons and bound neutrons) will have undergone roughly 1,000 half-lives by the time the universe is 10 to the power of 40 years old. To put this into perspective, there are an estimated 1080 protons currently in the universe.[25] This means that the number of nucleons will be slashed in half 1,000 times by the time the universe is 10 to the ower of 40 years old. Hence, there will be roughly ½1,000 (approximately 10−301) as many nucleons remaining as there are today; that is, zero nucleons remaining in the universe at the end of the Degenerate Age. Effectively, all baryonic matter will have been changed into photons and leptons. Some models predict the formation of stable positronium atoms with a greater diameter than the observable universe’s current diameter in 1 to the power of 85 years, and that these will in turn decay to gamma radiation in 10 to the power of 141 years

Edited by Alan McDougall

Share on other sites

Hi Alan

BIG BANG

In This Topic I would like to use an electronic element in order to get better understanding of the Big Bang starting point.

The main Idea is that the Science have found a way to convert nothing into something!!!

For the following question: "How can you agree that an energy came out of nothing???"

I have got the following answer: "As long as the net energy of the universe is zero, and it may well be, there is nothing which prevents the universe from starting as a quantum fluctuation."

So let's assume that the quantum fluctuation is a blackbox.

As Electronic Engineer, I realy don't care how it works inside. This is the job for scientist.

The most important issue is that the input in this case is nothing and the output is someting.

So, 13.2 billion years ago this blackbox had converted nothing into something. This generate the Big Bang!!!

As this is a natural blackbox, my questions are as follow:

1. Why it couldn't function 100 billion years ago, 1 Billion year ago or even tommorow?

2. Why this blackbox function only one time? Why it couldn't function twice or 1,000,000 times?

3. Is there a chance that there will be a new big bang in the future???

4. Why we couldn't estimate that there is a reversabale blackbox in the nature? So it could convert someting to nothing???

5. Is there a chance that we will become nothing in the future???

Share on other sites

This is a duplicate of your post in the thread you started titled Big Bang.

Here's the duplicate of my answer:

Let's assume that the quantum fluctuation produced the energy equivalent of about 26 grams of mass, in a volume about equal to a proton. This energy was in the form of a gauge field called the inflaton field, which has the unusual property of having an energy density when the field is at it's vacuum value. This energy field, as it dropped from it's zero point, which is where the energy level is highest, generated a negative vacuum pressure, which drove the universe to expand by 80 orders of magnitude. (A negative vacuum pressure has the property that the more vacuum there is, the more pressure is generated, which generates more vacuum, which generates... you get the picture) When the field dropped to it's vaccum level, the energy tied up in the field was released and created all the mass and energy in the universe. This all took place in about 10 -35 seconds. Up until about 7 billion years ago, the expansion was slowing down as the original impetus died down, but then the gravitational density of the universe dropped to the point where another expansion driving force, which we call Dark Energy (having nothing at all to do with Dark matter, other the word dark), began to accelerate the expansion.

I like those assumptions better than 'blackbox'.

To question 1. It could have. But instead it happened 13.7 billion years ago (+ or - about .7 billion years).

Answer to question 2. Because the universe is no longer of quantum dimensions, and the inflaton field is at it's vacuum level. Energy densities are many orders of magnitude less than they were and symmetries among the fundamental forces in the universe have been broken. (Although a variation on Inflation theory, called Eternal Inflation argues that once inflation begins, it is continuous, spawning other universes disconnected from ours. Our universe has passed through the inflation stage)

Question 3. See answer to question 2.

Question 4. Doesn't mean anything.

Question 5. You will be.

You stated the above but it is wrong we know scientifically that matter given sufficient time decays and vanishes from existence, even protons

I don't know where wiki is getting it's information from, but proton decay is hypothetical. There have been some very large, very sensitive detectors set up in deep mines in the earth, looking for proton decay. It has never been found. The Super-Kamioka Neutrino Detection Experiment is a tank of 50,000 gal of ultra pure water, surrounded by detectors. If my memory is correct, this tank contains 1059 protons. Even with a half-life of 1040 years, there would be proton decay given this many protons.

It's never been detected.

Share on other sites

Hi, rob,

Thanks for a great reply best I have had on this subject, but we dissagree on a few points!

You stated the above but it is wrong we know scientifically that matter given sufficient time decays and vanishes from existence, even protons

Wik article

All nucleons decay

1040 years

Given our assumed half-life of the proton, nucleons (protons and bound neutrons) will have undergone roughly 1,000 half-lives by the time the universe is 10 to the power of 40 years old. To put this into perspective, there are an estimated 1080 protons currently in the universe.[25] This means that the number of nucleons will be slashed in half 1,000 times by the time the universe is 10 to the ower of 40 years old. Hence, there will be roughly ½1,000 (approximately 10−301) as many nucleons remaining as there are today; that is, zero nucleons remaining in the universe at the end of the Degenerate Age. Effectively, all baryonic matter will have been changed into photons and leptons. Some models predict the formation of stable positronium atoms with a greater diameter than the observable universe's current diameter in 1 to the power of 85 years, and that these will in turn decay to gamma radiation in 10 to the power of 141 years

Yes, I know, but what yoy talk about is physical matter, which physics defines as fermionic stuff (for which the Pauili exclusion principle holds).

I do not talk about physical matter but matter in the philosophical sense which is the substance of everything.

So, wether matter exists in the form of fermions, bosons, fields, or whatever, that is a physical category, for philosophy they are just the same substance.

Hi Alan

BIG BANG

In This Topic I would like to use an electronic element in order to get better understanding of the Big Bang starting point.

The main Idea is that the Science have found a way to convert nothing into something!!!

For the following question: "How can you agree that an energy came out of nothing???"

I have got the following answer: "As long as the net energy of the universe is zero, and it may well be, there is nothing which prevents the universe from starting as a quantum fluctuation."

So let's assume that the quantum fluctuation is a blackbox.

As Electronic Engineer, I realy don't care how it works inside. This is the job for scientist.

The most important issue is that the input in this case is nothing and the output is someting.

So, 13.2 billion years ago this blackbox had converted nothing into something. This generate the Big Bang!!!

As this is a natural blackbox, my questions are as follow:

1. Why it couldn't function 100 billion years ago, 1 Billion year ago or even tommorow?

2. Why this blackbox function only one time? Why it couldn't function twice or 1,000,000 times?

3. Is there a chance that there will be a new big bang in the future???

4. Why we couldn't estimate that there is a reversabale blackbox in the nature? So it could convert someting to nothing???

5. Is there a chance that we will become nothing in the future???

I think you make a mistake here because you equate "empty space" or the vacuum as being nothing. I think that is not the case. Physics just shows and tells us, the vacuum is never devoid of matter/energy.

Second you should get rid of the notion "begin of the universe" since it can not possibly mean anything.

For something to begin it is already understood that time exists, and so physics tells us, also space exists and matter.

In the big bang though, the important thing is that before the big bang, all the fermionic stuff did not yet exist. There was just a lot of energy.

If you stretch the meaning of "something" from "nothing" then you could say that "something" (the fermions) were made from "nothing" the high energy in the vacuum.

But you got to understand, it is not.

Edited by robheus

Share on other sites

Why is there something instead of nothing?

You start out with an assumption, namely that there is "something" and not "nothing" (which are taken as seperate). But that is not the case. There is as well "something" as there is "nothing", and in case you wonder how that could be the case, just remember that any something you can think of was once a nothing and at any time later becomes nothing, so in this sense, there is both something and nothing.

You got to think of "something" and "nothing" as not seperate "things" (notions) but as an unseperated unity, in which one can turn into the other, and this unity is simply becoming (or: ceasing to be).

Edited by robheus

Share on other sites

You start out with an assumption, namely that there is "something" and not "nothing" (which are taken as seperate). But that is not the case. There is as well "something" as there is "nothing", and in case you wonder how that could be the case, just remember that any something you can think of was once a nothing and at any time later becomes nothing, so in this sense, there is both something and nothing.

You got to think of "something" and "nothing" as not seperate "things" (notions) but as an unseperated unity, in which one can turn into the other, and this unity is simply becoming (or: ceasing to be).

Rob you are killing me with this logic of yours!

Share on other sites

Rob you are killing me with this logic of yours!

Well you understand dialectics or you don't. All these kind of questions have to do with the limitations of formal logic.

Take for example the aristotelean logic, with the law of identity (A=A). You might at first think that that is a basic proposition of any logic for that to be true.

But then look at the world and come up with any A for which that can be true. What it says is that A=A at any time.

Now most of the things (if not all) that exist in the world are changing. Which means is that if we inspect an A at two different instances of time, we can already notice that some things have changed.

The only "things" for which the law of identity hold true are abstract things (like mathematics). 4 is always 4, no matter what time it is, or what the weather is.

So, the point is that for any real object in the world, the aristotelan logic fails, although not always as obvious.

If aristotelean logic would exactly describe the world, it could only describe a perfectly static world, in which no change occurs.

In many cases though, this goes unnoticed. We have no problem for example in identifying objects in the two opposite categories like living and dead. Rocks, comets, water droplets are dead and bacteria, lions and people are living. But the dividing line between life and death is not simple. When does a person exactly die? Any medicists can tell you it is not trivial. Is a virus a living organism?

Where is for example the dividing line between "I" and "not-I"? Is my body part of "I"?

Where does the food you eat and the air you breath become part of you as a living organism? As soon as you inhaled the air or swallowed the food?

All these examples show that drawing a line between A and not-A is not so simple as often thought.

Quantum mechanics is another example where aristotelean logic simply breaks down.

Share on other sites

Well you understand dialectics or you don't. All these kind of questions have to do with the limitations of formal logic.

Take for example the aristotelean logic, with the law of identity (A=A). You might at first think that that is a basic proposition of any logic for that to be true.

But then look at the world and come up with any A for which that can be true. What it says is that A=A at any time.

Now most of the things (if not all) that exist in the world are changing. Which means is that if we inspect an A at two different instances of time, we can already notice that some things have changed.

The only "things" for which the law of identity hold true are abstract things (like mathematics). 4 is always 4, no matter what time it is, or what the weather is.

So, the point is that for any real object in the world, the aristotelan logic fails, although not always as obvious.

If aristotelean logic would exactly describe the world, it could only describe a perfectly static world, in which no change occurs.

In many cases though, this goes unnoticed. We have no problem for example in identifying objects in the two opposite categories like living and dead. Rocks, comets, water droplets are dead and bacteria, lions and people are living. But the dividing line between life and death is not simple. When does a person exactly die? Any medicists can tell you it is not trivial. Is a virus a living organism?

Where is for example the dividing line between "I" and "not-I"? Is my body part of "I"?

Where does the food you eat and the air you breath become part of you as a living organism? As soon as you inhaled the air or swallowed the food?

All these examples show that drawing a line between A and not-A is not so simple as often thought.

Quantum mechanics is another example where aristotelean logic simply breaks down.

I understand all of that including the fact that one cannot always use logic to explain or understand time. The light speed constant is just one example. Even Eistein had difficulty accepting quantum theory because he wanted the universe to be ordered. Thus"God does not play dice with the universe" and we know in reality he does.

Share on other sites

Why is there something instead of nothing? The interesting conclusion of this ultimate puzzle is that, we can be sure of, it that at least something exists. There is a Universe, we see people, and things, and light, and while we may debate what it means, how it came into being, and how it works, we can be sure that there is at least something'.

Many physicists search for the most elementary laws of physics, and believe that a law is more likely to be true, when it is simpler, more elementary. Some think that at some moment, humans will understand how the Universe and everything works, and, even more, that we find out why the Universe is necessarily as it is. (I my opinion this is nonsense). I cannot believe that we will find A fact of Everything scientifically; I believe humans cannot ever give a satisfactory scientifically answer to this final most profound of questions, ultimate of all questions. Why is there something instead of nothing?

But, lets us try?

By nothing, I mean the un-existence of everything or the absence of all existence. No people, no earth, no milky way, no universe, no laws of nature, no space, no time a total non-existence of everything. A mind-boggling, brain-, brain-numbing and brain- twisting overwhelming concept, terrifying, frightening, too awful to contemplate and impossible think about, without going insane and totally beyond understanding of any human genius. Making a mathematical model of nothing is actually easy. (Take an empty set, with no operations on it, and nothing else.)

Nevertheless, one thing we can be sure of: this nothing is not correct: we do not have nothing, but definite and absolutely do indeed have SOMETHING. Remember by absolute nothingness I dont mean just an empty void left but the absence of the infinite void as well.

This shows that the simplest model is not always the correct one. The universe is almost infinitely complex and to me this points to the simple logic that it is the creation by an infinite, intelligent power. Nothing is the very most basic of all concepts and if there were ever a nothing, there would be no creator, of course.

Some people may argue that the universe was created in the Big Bang ( but whom and what pressed the button of the big bang in the first place, so to speak?) , and that positive matter and positive energy are actually negated by the simultaneous creation of negative matter and negative energy. However, this doesn't answer the other question, where do matter, energy and laws of physics then come from in the first place?

Does this question have an answer? If something exists because it either was a modification of something or else, Something or Somebody else created it, then what caused that to exist? It seems that our logic is unable to deal with the question; indeed, I think the question shows there is a limit to our understanding of things by the very best minds of the human race. There are simply mysteries out there that will never ever be solved by mere mortal man.

You see the universe has a strange Goldie locks condition about it, i.e., it cannot be too hot, or too cold etc, etc, etc, but it has to be just absolutely correct, precise and right or life would not have come into existence and we would not be around to contemplate, debate or dialog on this ultimate enigma. We would not exist. Life hangs on and depends on this knife- edge of harmonies conditions that have to be sustained over countless billions of years, for us to have come into existence and continue to exist. Makes one think, does it not?

An uncaused Cause must exist and to me am an inescapable fact of logic, call this entity God if you like.

By Alan McDougall 11/6/2007

Because "Nothing" is exclusive.

You cannot have "nothing" and something else.

If you take as granted that anything possible can occur, "nothing" is so exclusive that it should be logically provable that "nothing" cannot occur and thus "nothing" is impossible.

However that proof escapes from my mind at this right moment.

Edited by michel123456

Share on other sites

Because "Nothing" is exclusive.

You cannot have "nothing" and something else.

If you take as granted that anything possible can occur, "nothing" is so exclusive that it should be logically provable that "nothing" cannot occur and thus "nothing" is impossible.

However that proof escapes from my mind at this right moment.

The problem - again - you run into is that you try to reflect on "nothing" as something seperate from being. But they are not seperate, they form a logical unity, which is becoming. Because in becoming you can easily see that being and nothing spontaneously pass over into the other. Becoming is therefore the truth, and being nor nothing have seperate truth.

Or, as Hegel has said about it:

Chapter 1 Being

A Being

§ 132

Being, pure being, without any further determination. In its indeterminate immediacy it is equal only to itself. It is also not unequal relatively to an other; it has no diversity within itself nor any with a reference outwards. It would not be held fast in its purity if it contained any determination or content which could be distinguished in it or by which it could be distinguished from an other. It is pure indeterminateness and emptiness. There is nothing to be intuited in it, if one can speak here of intuiting; or, it is only this pure intuiting itself. Just as little is anything to be thought in it, or it is equally only this empty thinking. Being, the indeterminate immediate, is in fact nothing, and neither more nor less than nothing.

B Nothing

§ 133

Nothing, pure nothing: it is simply equality with itself, complete emptiness, absence of all determination and content — undifferentiatedness in itself. In so far as intuiting or thinking can be mentioned here, it counts as a distinction whether something or nothing is intuited or thought. To intuit or think nothing has, therefore, a meaning; both are distinguished and thus nothing is (exists) in our intuiting or thinking; or rather it is empty intuition and thought itself, and the same empty intuition or thought as pure being. Nothing is, therefore, the same determination, or rather absence of determination, and thus altogether the same as, pure being.®

C Becoming

1. Unity of Being and Nothing

§ 134

Pure Being and pure nothing are, therefore, the same. What is the truth is neither being nor nothing, but that being — does not pass over but has passed over — into nothing, and nothing into being. But it is equally true that they are not undistinguished from each other, that, on the contrary, they are not the same, that they are absolutely distinct, and yet that they are unseparated and inseparable and that each immediately vanishes in its opposite. Their truth is therefore, this movement of the immediate vanishing of the one into the other: becoming, a movement in which both are distinguished, but by a difference which has equally immediately resolved itself. <a href="http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1914/cons-logic/ch01.htm#LCW38_105a">®</a>

Hegel’s Science of Logic

Becoming

Remark 1: The Opposition of Being and Nothing in Ordinary Thinking

§ 135

Nothing is usually opposed to something; but the being of something is already determinate and is distinguished from another something; and so therefore the nothing which is opposed to the something is also the nothing of a particular something, a determinate nothing. Here, however, nothing is to be taken in its indeterminate simplicity. Should it be held more correct to oppose to being, non-being instead of nothing, there would be no objection to this so far as the result is concerned, for in non-being the relation to being is contained: both being and its negation are enunciated in a single term, nothing, as it is in becoming. But we are concerned first of all not with the form of opposition (with the form, that is, also of relation) but with the abstract, immediate negation: nothing, purely on its own account, negation devoid of any relations — what could also be expressed if one so wished merely by 'not'.

§ 136

It was the Eleatics, above all Parmenides, who first enunciated the simple thought of pure being as the absolute and sole truth: only being is, and nothing absolutely is not, and in the surviving fragments of Parmenides this is enunciated with the pure enthusiasm of thought which has for the first time apprehended itself in its absolute abstraction. As we know, in the oriental systems, principally in Buddhism, nothing, the void, is the absolute principle. Against that simple and one-sided abstraction the deep-thinking Heraclitus brought forward the higher, total concept of becoming and said: being as little is, as nothing is, or, all flows, which means, all is a becoming. The popular, especially oriental proverbs, that all that exists has the germ of death in its very birth, that death, on the other hand, is the entrance into new life, express at bottom the same union of being and nothing. But these expressions have a substratum in which the transition takes place; being and nothing are held apart in time, are conceived as alternating in it, but are not thought in their abstraction and consequently, too, not so that they are in themselves absolutely the same. ®

§ 137

Ex nihilo nihil fit — is one of those propositions to which great importance was ascribed in metaphysics. In it is to be seen either only the empty tautology: nothing is nothing; or, if becoming is supposed to possess an actual meaning in it, then, since from nothing only nothing becomes, the proposition does not in fact contain becoming, for in it nothing remains nothing. Becoming implies that nothing does not remain nothing but passes into its other, into being. Later, especially Christian, metaphysics whilst rejecting the proposition that out of nothing comes nothing, asserted a transition from nothing into being; although it understood this proposition synthetically or merely imaginatively, yet even in the most imperfect union there is contained a point in which being and nothing coincide and their distinguishedness vanishes. The proposition: out of nothing comes nothing, nothing is just nothing, owes its peculiar importance to its opposition to becoming generally, and consequently also to its opposition to the creation of the world from nothing. Those who maintain the proposition: nothing is just nothing, and even grow heated in its defence, are unaware that in so doing they are subscribing to the abstract pantheism of the Eleatics, and also in principle to that of Spinoza. The philosophical view for which 'being is only being, nothing is only nothing', is a valid principle, merits the name of 'system of identity'; this abstract identity is the essence of pantheism.

§ 138

If the result that being and nothing are the same seems startling or paraodoxical in itself, there is nothing more to be said; rather should we wonder at this wondering which shows itself to be such a newcomer to philosophy and forgets that in this science there occur determinations quite different from those in ordinary consciousness and in so-called ordinary common sense-which is not exactly sound understanding but an understanding educated up to abstractions and to a belief, or rather a superstitious belief, in abstractions. It would not be difficult to demonstrate this unity of being and nothing in every example, in every actual thing or thought. The same must be said of being and nothing, as was said above about immediacy and mediation (which latter contains a reference to an other, and hence to negation), that nowhere in heaven or on earth is there anything which does not contain within itself both being and nothing. Of course, since we are speaking here of a particular actual something, those determinations are no longer present in it in the complete untruth in which they are as being and nothing; they are in a more developed determination, and are grasped, for example, as positive and negative, the former being posited, reflected being, the latter posited, reflected nothing; the positive contains as its abstract basis being, and the negative, nothing. Thus in God himself, quality (energy, creation, power, and so forth), essentially involves the determination of the negative-they are the producing of an other. But an empirical elucidation by examples of the said assertion would be altogether superfluous here. Since the unity of being and nothing as the primary truth now forms once and for all the basis and element of all that follows, besides becoming itself, all further logical determinations: determinate being, quality, and generally all philosophical Notions, are examples of this unity. But self-styled sound common sense, if it rejects the unseparatedness of being and nothing, may be set the task of trying to discover an example in which the one is found separated from the other (something from limit or limitation, or, as just mentioned, the infinite, God, from energy or activity). Only the empty figments of thought, being and nothing themselves are these separated things and it is these that are preferred by 'sound common sense' to the truth, to the unseparatedness of both which is everywhere before us.

§ 139

We cannot be expected to meet on all sides the perplexities which such a logical proposition produces in the ordinary consciousness, for they are inexhaustible. Only a few of them can be mentioned. One source among others of such perplexity is that the ordinary consciousness brings with it to such an abstract logical proposition, conceptions of something concrete, forgetting that what is in question is not such concrete something but only the pure abstractions of being and nothing and that these alone are to be held firmly in mind.

§ 140

Being and non-being are the same, therefore it is the same whether this house is or is not, whether these hundred dollars are part of my fortune or not. This inference from, or application of, the proposition completely alters its meaning. The proposition contains the pure abstractions of being and nothing; but the application converts them into a determinate being and a determinate nothing. But as we have said, the question here is not of determinate being. A determinate, a finite, being is one that is in relation to another; it is a content standing in a necessary relation to another content, to the whole world. As regards the reciprocally determining context of the whole, metaphysics could make the — at bottom tautological — assertion that if a speck of dust were destroyed the whole universe would collapse. In the instances against the proposition in question something appears as not indifferent to whether it is or is not, not on account of being or non-being, but on account of its content, which brings it into relation with something else. If a specific content, any determinate being, is presupposed, then because it is determinate, it is in a manifold relationship with another content; it is not a matter of indifference to it whether a certain other content with which it is in relation is, or is not; for it is only through such relation that it essentially is what it is. The same is the case in the ordinary way of thinking (taking non-being in the more specific sense of such way of thinking as contrasted with actuality) in the context of which the being or the absence of a content, which, as determinate, is conceived as in relation to another, is not a matter of indifference.

§ 141

This consideration involves what constitutes a cardinal factor in the Kantian criticism of the ontological proof of the existence of God, although here we are only interested in the distinction made in that proof between being and nothing generally, and determinate being or non-being. As we know, there was presupposed in that so-called proof the concept of a being possessing all realities, including therefore existence, which was likewise assumed as one of the realities. The main thesis of the Kantian criticism was that existence or being (these being taken here as synonymous) is not a property or a real predicate, that is to say, is not a concept of something which could be added to the concept of a thing. By this Kant means to say that being is not a determination of the content of a thing.' Therefore, he goes on to say, the possible does not contain more than the actual; a hundred actual dollars do not contain a whit more than a hundred possible ones; that is, the content of the former has no other determination than has the content of the latter. If this content is considered as isolated, it is indeed a matter of indifference whether it is, or is not; it contains no distinction of being or non-being, this difference does not affect it at all. The hundred dollars do not diminish if they do not exist, or increase if they do. A difference must come only from elsewhere. 'On the other hand,' Kant reminds us, 'my fortune benefits more from a hundred actual dollars than from the mere concept of them or from their possibility. For in actuality, the object is not merely contained analytically in my concept, but is added synthetically to my concept (which is a determination of my state), although the hundred dollars in my thought are not themselves increased one whit by this being which they have apart from my concept.'

§ 142

There are presupposed here two different states (to retain the Kantian expressions which are not free from a confused clumsiness): one, which Kant calls the concept (by which we must understand figurate conception), and another, the state of my fortune. For the one as for the other, my fortune and the figurate conception, a hundred dollars are a determination of a content or, as Kant expresses it, 'they are added to such a concept synthetically'; I as possessor of a hundred dollars or as not possessing them, or even I as imagining or not imagining them, is of course a different content. Stated more generally: the abstractions of being and nothing both cease to be abstractions if they acquire a determinate content; being is then reality, the determinate being of a hundred dollars; nothing is the negation, the determinate non-being of them. This determinate content itself, the hundred dollars, also grasped isolatedly in abstraction is unchanged the same in the one as it is in the other. But since, furthermore, being is taken as a state of my fortune, the hundred dollars stand in relation to this state, as regards which the determinateness which they are is not a matter of indifference; their being or non-being is only an alteration; they are transposed into the sphere of determinate being. When, therefore, it is urged against the unity of being and nothing that it is nevertheless not a matter of indifference whether anything (the hundred dollars) is, or is not, we practise the deception of converting the difference between whether I have or have not the hundred dollars into a difference between being and non-being-a deception based, as we have shown, on the one-sided abstraction which ignores the determinate being present in such examples and holds fast merely to being and non-being, just as, conversely, the abstract being and nothing which should be apprehended is transformed into a definite being and nothing, into a determinate being. Determinate being is the first category to contain the real difference of being and nothing, namely, something and other. It is this real difference which is vaguely present in ordinary thinking, instead of abstract being and pure nothing and their only imagined difference.

§ 143

As Kant expresses it, 'through its existence something enters into the context of the whole of experience. ... we obtain thereby an additional object of perception without anything being added to our concept of the object'. As our explanation has shown, this means simply that something, through its existence, just because it is a determinate existence, is essentially in relationship with others, including also a percipient subject. The concept of the hundred dollars, says Kant, gains nothing by their being perceived. Concept here means the hundred dollars previously noted as thought in isolation. As thus isolated they are, it is true, an empirical content, but cut off, having no relationship with any other content and possessing no determinate character relatively to such; the form of identity-with-self strips them of any connection with an other, so that it is a matter of indifference whether they are perceived or not. But this so-called concept of the hundred dollars is a spurious concept; the form of simple self-relation does not belong to such a limited, finite content itself; it is a borrowed form attached to it by the subjective understanding; the being of the hundred dollars is not self-related but alterable and perishable.

§ 144

The thinking or figurate conception which has before it only a specific, determinate being must be referred back to the previously-mentioned beginning of the science made by Parmenides who purified and elevated his own figurate conception, and so, too, that of posterity, to pure thought, to being as such and thereby created the element of the science. What is the first in the science had of necessity to show itself historically as the first. And we must regard the Eleatic One or being as the first step in the knowledge of thought; water and suchlike material principles are certainly meant to be the universal, but as material they are not pure thoughts; numbers are neither the first simple, nor the self-communing thought, but the thought which is wholly external to itself. ®

§ 145

The reference back from particular finite being to being as such in its wholly abstract universality is to be regarded not only as the very first theoretical demand but as the very first practical demand too. When for example a fuss is made about the hundred dollars, that it does make a difference to the state of my fortune whether I have them or not, still more whether I am or not, or whether something else is or is not, then-not to mention that there will be fortunes to which such possession of a hundred dollars will be a matter of indifference-we can remind ourselves that man has a duty to rise to that abstract universality of mood in which he is indeed indifferent to the existence or non-existence of the hundred dollars, whatever may be their quantitative relation to his fortune, just as it ought to be a matter of indifference to him whether he is or is not, that is, in finite life (for a state, a determinate being is meant), and so on — si fractus illabatur orbis, impavidum ferient ruinae was said by a Roman, and still more ought the Christian to possess this indifference.

<a name="0146"> § 146

There remains still to be noted the immediate connection between, on the one hand, the elevation above the hundred dollars and finite things generally, and on the other, the ontological proof and the Kantian criticism of it we have cited. This criticism, through its popular example, has made itself universally plausible: who does not know that a hundred actual dollars are different from a hundred merely possible ones? that they make a difference to the state of my fortune? Because this difference is so obvious with the hundred dollars, therefore the concept, that is, the specific nature of the content as an empty possibility, and being, are different from each other; therefore the Notion of God too is different from his being, and just as little as I can extract from the possibility of the hundred dollars their actuality, just as little can I extract from the Notion of God his existence; but the onotological proof is supposed to consist of this extraction of the existence of God from his Notion. Now though it is of course true that Notion is different from being, there is a still greater difference between God and the hundred dollars and other finite things. It is the definition of finite things that in them the Notion is different from being, that Notion and reality, soul and body, are separable and hence that they are perishable and mortal; the abstract definition of God, on the other hand, is precisely that his Notion and his being are unseparated and inseparable. The genuine criticism of the categories and of reason is just this: to make intellect aware of this difference and to prevent it from applying to God the determinations and relationships of the finite.

Edited by robheus

Share on other sites

The question "Why is there anything?" is the most profound question there is. My guess is that the answer is so complicated that our human brains are not adequate to the task. Here are some deep thoughts.

The old argument was that if you go back in time, eventually you'll get to a point where there was nothing. The problem with that idea is that time as we know it is specific to our universe. If there was indeed a singularity or near-singularity that preceded the big bang, time had essentially stopped under the effect of gravity. So there was nothing that occurred before that in our universe, since time had stopped. But that particular version of time is only applicable to our universe. If there is stuff outside our universe, we have no idea if time exists there, or if it does, it's like ours.

Some people believe that the universe wasn't created - that it has always existed. But that doesn't help in understanding how it came to be here.

Ours may not be the only universe. There might be a mother universe from which we sprang. There could be new universes being created all the time. Maybe every time mass in a black hole reaches a certain number, a big bang creates a new universe, each of which is isolated from (but could conceivably collide with) all the other universes. Our universe could be creating new universes. Our mother universe could be a daughter of its mother universe, on and on. No way to confirm or deny any of this but it's certainly possible.

Some scientists believe that our universe originated as a quantum fluctuation out of absolute nothingness. That doesn't make sense because there would have to be some sort of framework with physical laws that allowed that to happen, in my opinion - and if so, where did that framework come from?

The truth is that we will probably never figure this out. We just don't have the brainpower, in my opinion; we didn't need to be smarter than we are for evolution's purposes. It's possible that some Einstein-level brain will come along and his insights will make it clear, but I doubt it. The one chance I envision is if we someday are able to make computers of some sort that not only have reasoning power like ours but also the ability to improvet their intelligence each generation to the point that they could figure this puzzle out and then explain it to our poor brains in language we can understand.

So the question is whether this unsolvable question means that there may be a God. The truth is that it seems so weird that we can't rule anything out. I doubt that an intelligent entity created all this but it's all so incomprehensible that it's not impossible. One thing we can be damn certain of; if an intelligence did create the universe, it has zero in common with anything that organized religion believes it to be.

Edited by CCWilson

Share on other sites

Hi CCWilison

Thanks for a great post but people are still confusing empty space or an absolute empty void, with nothing

Lerts try and define nothing again, nothing is something that does not exist. Try to describe nothing and you will always get something. Or the total absence of everything/existence itself.

Hi CCWilison

Thanks for a great post but people are still confusing empty space or an absolute empty void, with nothing

Lerts try and define nothing again, nothing is something that does not exist. Try to describe nothing and you will always get something. Or the total absence of everything/existence itself.

Share on other sites

Some profound thoughts on this by Hegel who (when contemplating about with what philosophy should begin) starts out philosophy with the Doctrine of Being, and works out other concepts from that.<br>It turns out that Being is Absolute, but also (since it is indeterminate) it is also not unequal to Nothing. Both have their truth in a higher unity, which is Becoming.<br>Post in other topic about the same subject

So the question is whether this unsolvable question means that there may be a God. The truth is that it seems so weird that we can't rule anything out. I doubt that an intelligent entity created all this but it's all so incomprehensible that it's not impossible. One thing we can be damn certain of; if an intelligence did create the universe, it has zero in common with anything that organized religion believes it to be.

Thinking needs to start from something, and the most fundamental you can think of, without requiring any other concept is Being, and because it is the ground, it is Absolute. Nothing more is needed. See my previous post (the link to a post in another topic about the same subject) on how all concept naturally arrive from that. Adding God to the arena helps nothing,

Being, Nothing and Determinate Being

The concept of Pure Being we need, then, is that concept which ex-

presses (that something) is, without any qualification, without attributing

any quality, any here and now, just "pure being," not to be anything, just

to be. So in the terms of philosophy we are looking for the conception of

the Absolute as just Being, not being anything in particular, just Being. A

capacity for philosophical thought is required for this concept, because it is the

ultimate abstraction, and the capacity for abstraction presupposes a cer-

tain development of society, so in that sense there is a presupposition.

But the concept which forms the beginning of the Logic, and conse-

quently, forms the subject matter of the Logic, is the concept of being

utterly indeterminate

After having demonstrated that a beginning can not be made by the

thought of anything, be that intuition or God or certainty or whatever,

Hegel explains:

"The foregoing shows quite clearly the reason why the beginning can-

not be made with anything concrete, anything containing a relation

within itself. For such presupposes an internal process of mediation and

transition of which the concrete, now become simple, would be the

result. But the beginning ought not itself to be already a first and an

other; for anything which is in its own self a first and an other implies

stitutes the beginning, the beginning itself, is to be taken as something

unanalyzable, taken in its simple, unfilled immediacy, and therefore as

being, as the completely empty being." (Science of Logic §114)

So the Logic begins with the claim that "Being is Absolute." But one

can no sooner consider this claim, and clarify just what is meant by this

concept, Being, namely that it is utterly without determination, and that

one is asked to think an empty concept, than we are driven to the realiza-

tion that Being is Nothing. This is the first and classic example of this

process of sceptical critique. If Being is the Absolute, then the Absolute

is Nothing.

Edited by robheus

Share on other sites

Because "Nothing" is exclusive.

You cannot have "nothing" and something else.

If you take as granted that anything possible can occur, "nothing" is so exclusive that it should be logically provable that "nothing" cannot occur and thus "nothing" is impossible.

However that proof escapes from my mind at this right moment.

We begin by firmly claiming that: Nothing is!

Eh... we are saying that it indeed is so that nothing is!

Oh! Arent we saying that it IS so that it is SO that nothing is?

We are actually saying that something IS when we are saying that nothing is!

But if something is... then nothing is not...

So it is really so that we have proved that something is and nothing is not.

If we change the tense used in the proof

we can likewise prove that nothing was not

and that nothing will never be.

Share on other sites

I have been thinking that how there can be something like feelings. How is it possible that there is feelings? I think there has always been feelings and time is infinite in both directions.

Share on other sites

Well. One thing is sure. There really is something. I don't know could it be so that there would be nothing. COuld there be that kind of possibility. Hard to say.

Share on other sites

Well. One thing is sure. There really is something. I don't know could it be so that there would be nothing. COuld there be that kind of possibility. Hard to say.

Nothing is a negation , it simply cannot be expressed because if you try to express it it becomes something.

Share on other sites

Well. One thing is sure. There really is something. I don't know could it be so that there would be nothing. COuld there be that kind of possibility. Hard to say.

This question is ancient,

Suppose nothing is,

then it is so that nothing is.

But if something is so then nothing is not.

Edited by sigurdV

Share on other sites

If there ain't something then neither there is absence of something (nothing), if there ain't light neither there is absence of light (darkness).

Share on other sites

If there ain't something then neither there is absence of something (nothing), if there ain't light neither there is absence of light (darkness).

What?

Share on other sites

What?

There is no southpole without a northpole.

Every coin has two sides, and the one belongs necessary to the other.

If there is no being then neither can there be absence of being.

Share on other sites

There is no southpole without a northpole.

Every coin has two sides, and the one belongs necessary to the other.

If there is no being then neither can there be absence of being.

True that Being might be God?

Share on other sites

True that Being might be God?

What makes you think so?

Being, as referred to here, is just pure being, which is pretty abstract and indeterminate, and all in all not anything more as nothing.

As this analyses is part of the Hegelian dialectics, I would think the answer is no, cause the idea of God in that context would be more the Absolute Idea.

Create an account

Register a new account