What is nothing?

Whenever I try to conceptualize purely nothing, absolute zero, nada, zilch, I’m talking goose egg, nil — not a single thing. My mind always reverts to visualizations of an empty void.

Space is a noun, it’s a thing, that’s the issue. So pure nothing cannot be a spatial vacuum, as a vacuum is a physical phenomenon with real properties.

If something has no extension in space it then becomes shut off from our vision. After all, our nervous system processes inputs coming in from the visual fields of our cones, which of course process three dimensionally. However, that does not mean something cannot be conceptualized just because we cannot see it. Nothing should not be black either, so stop picturing darkness, as that is still something. If it isn’t zero, and it isn’t any of the concepts that spring to mind, what could it be?

White is a “thing” as well. The absence of everything else is the conspicuous presence of anything else, like that of a negative integer. A negative integer is still a thing, in the working sense that it can be represented to a computer, thought and spoken about accurately, represented as a symbol. The puzzle is that so is nothing (zero). And yet, it is distinguished from every other aspect of existence in that it has an indescribable character.

I imagine in order to experience truly nothing, you would have to completely shut off your mind. Might this require sleep, death, the state one experienced prior to one’s birth, or something else entirely? And what exactly is it that differentiates these things? Assuming it’s the latter, that nothingness somehow gave rise to everything, which in some ways is synonymous to consciousness, or conscious perception from an observer’s standpoint.

When one is in deep, dreamless sleep, your life could be taken from you without your merest peep. What would be then? Then I imagine I will have arrived at nothingness. Perhaps nothingness is an experience which can only be encountered at the fringes of life, before birth and after death.

We will never know. Try as we might, we don’t know anything and it’s likely that no one ever will.

Our species will likely die out before we can ever hope to achieve the level of greatness required to truly understand anything, but that’s okay. As soon as you come to accept that, you realize how liberating it is. Nothing matters, thus you can assign your own value to everything. Nothing matters, thus you are in a way the God of your own universe.

We will never be satisfied no matter how much we improve ourselves, and so, it is finally time to stop fueling expectations. This is when the hunger will temper — when you learn that you should live more than you should think about living. This does not mean relapsing back into bad habits. Live and learn, but know that there will always be a missing part in ourselves and the world around us. It is this part, the hole which drags us into existence. Cherish that void in your heart; use it’s winds to sing instead of cry. Live life with the morals you deem of worth, pursuing the goals you believe have merit.


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