What exactly is nothing?

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IG2007

"Don't criticize what you can't understand..."
Apr 5, 2020
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Its really hard to me to even try to define nothing. Its like if someone walked into an empty room and said nothing is there but in reality there is space there which is something. So my question is what would true nothing be like? a place without space or matter?
IMO, in the context of the Original Post, let us consider a hypothesis.

The Hypothesis

Let us consider a room, an empty room with perfect vacuum (now, I know a perfect vacuum is impossible, but let's consider it for the sake of the hypothesis). Now, there is nothing in the sense that there is no matter. But, there is still space and time. So, in the context of the temporal and spatial dimensions, there is still those dimensions, the basic framework of the Universe, the basic structure of reality. A perfect "nothing" in this sense of dimensions would be nullification of the dimensions, but that would be nullification of reality. So, by that logic, "nothing" would be unreal. Nothing would be something out of reality. So, logically speaking, if the Universe is all of reality, then Nothing doesn't exist in it. And thus, Nothing is unreal.
 
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Mar 5, 2021
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This is like me trying to understand emptiness in Tibetan Buddhism. First let me state I am not qualified to be a teacher. With that being said, from what I can remember, emptiness is a concept enlightened beings realize that with emptiness there is nothing but space. They’re not talking about outer space but the space between perceived objects which may or may not be there according to my perception. But how is something there unless there is something in that space to hold it? I believe it’s common knowledge that space contains something such as; oxygen, nitroge, hydrogen, electricity, etc.. Yeah it’s like in the movie The Matrix which is definitely about Buddhism. Now I’ve made myself more confused about this thread. Any false or misleading information in this comment is purely the fault of myself and I accept all responsibility caused by it.
 
Apr 27, 2020
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Its really hard to me to even try to define nothing. Its like if someone walked into an empty room and said nothing is there but in reality there is space there which is something. So my question is what would true nothing be like? a place without space or matter?
Thanks for raising this question. I've read several respected physicists writing about how everything can come from "nothing" when in reality, they are assuming an empty, and presumably infinite, space. That "nothingness" that they write of has quantum properties that allow for matter/antimatter to pop in an out of existence by "borrowing energy from the vacuum" and for such phenomena as a "false vacuum". It's unfortunate that popular science writers don't take the time to distinguish what they mean by terms like "nothingness", "empty space", the "void" and the "vacuum" because it seems certain that they are not all the same.

Your questions above really have no meaning. Nothingness has no properties so there can be no description of the properties of it. As several others here have remarked, we get our conceptual meaning from physical senses and there is no thing to sense. Even with concepts that have no physical essence, like, say, "honesty", our mind can almost instantly and subconsciously give that meaning by relating it to physical actions and circumstances. That's not possible with "nothingness". Sometimes, I think I'm just about to be able to completely grasp the concept and it comes along with a feeling in the pit of my stomach that says, "You can't go there."
 
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Apr 27, 2020
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DrWD
"Using the word to describe a basic idea like there is nothing to think about or there is nothing in the room just simplifies and kind of dumbs down language."

You are correct. If you refer to "Science and Sanity" by Korzybski, you will find his best known idea is "the map is not the territory".

You have hit it precisely with "dumbs down language". "nothing" is just a word. It IS not anything at all to try to locate or grab hold of. All this confusion about "nothing" being or containing anything is simply playing around with a collection of letters. "nothing" is only what we think of it ourselves, so we are bound to have differences. There has to be a word (other than vacuum) to describe "a lack of anything". That word has to cover a range of situations, some of which have been mentioned above. e.g., ""the train is empty" and "There is nothing in the train" one can be seen as the is nobody in the train as the other can mean that the train is hollowed out."

Just treat "nothing" as a word with various common meanings, and not something about which to hold a philosophical discussion. The map is not the territory. The word has common meanings none of which refer to any kind of underlying reality. That is my advice.


Cat :)

P.S. I mentioned vacuum. We are unable to produce a total vacuum. Even space contains iirc about ten atoms per cubic metre. There is no way currently that we can better this. So there is not even any appreciable gas in a vacuum. You cannot get hold of a vacuum and move it around. You can transfer it by connecting it to something, but then you destroy the vacuum by introducing new atoms/molecules from the volume whose pressure you wish to reduce.
I'm sure the good Count Alfred would have a great time discussing this concept of nothingness. It's intriguing to be sure. We might be better served, however, to try to define and characterize those other closely related terms that you mention: vacuum, empty space, void. Of course, that would open up an area that has already been written about in many books -- the nature of space (and likely time) itself or as Brian Greene calls it "The Fabric of the Cosmos". Thanks for your comments throughout this thread.
 
Apr 18, 2020
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Its really hard to me to even try to define nothing. Its like if someone walked into an empty room and said nothing is there but in reality there is space there which is something. So my question is what would true nothing be like? a place without space or matter?
"Nothing" is a relational term. It depends on what's assumed in the context of the discussion. For example if I am looking for a physical object, and I walk into a room and see only the floor, ceiling, and four walls, I'll say "There's nothing in there." But of course there is, because the room is full of air. So what "nothing" is, depends on what counts as "something." And that depends on the context of the conversation. Your problem arises from trying to define the meaning of a term without reference to any context of meaning.
 
Thanks for raising this question. I've read several respected physicists writing about how everything can come from "nothing" when in reality, they are assuming an empty, and presumably infinite, space. That "nothingness" that they write of has quantum properties that allow for matter/antimatter to pop in an out of existence by "borrowing energy from the vacuum" and for such phenomena as a "false vacuum". It's unfortunate that popular science writers don't take the time to distinguish what they mean by terms like "nothingness", "empty space", the "void" and the "vacuum" because it seems certain that they are not all the same.

Your questions above really have no meaning. Nothingness has no properties so there can be no description of the properties of it. As several others here have remarked, we get our conceptual meaning from physical senses and there is no thing to sense. Even with concepts that have no physical essence, like, say, "honesty", our mind can almost instantly and subconsciously give that meaning by relating it to physical actions and circumstances. That's not possible with "nothingness". Sometimes, I think I'm just about to be able to completely grasp the concept and it comes along with a feeling in the pit of my stomach that says, "You can't go there."
What if nothing does have properties and is very much part of reality?
Quantum leaps a good example that nothing exists and has properties, also leptons/bosons that form quarks being the smallest thing combine to form quarks.
But what medium do the smallest things exist in before they are quarks?

Everything could be as simple as a property of nothing.
A potential energy of nothing or instability of nothing.
Bends the mind for sure.
 
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Aug 14, 2020
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What if nothing does have properties and is very much part of reality?
Quantum leaps a good example that nothing exists and has properties, also leptons/bosons that form quarks being the smallest thing combine to form quarks.
But what medium do the smallest things exist in before they are quarks?

Everything could be as simple as a property of nothing.
A potential energy of nothing or instability of nothing.
Bends the mind for sure.
I like what you write, mostly, but I do have this premonition that one day you will suddenly transform 'nothingness' into somethingness. What you choose it to be, I don't know, but I just have a feeling that sooner than later it will happen. When I say "it came out of nowhere", or someone else says it, I very much want to know where that something that came out of nowhere came from. To me "nowhere" is just a door in space-time I, or that someone else, could not see anything, anything at all, beyond. But to me there was another side to that door; even if it was in another universe, there was an other side to that door.

The only frame I dismiss an other side to is a frame of light. As I've said over and over again, that frame is a massless single-sided 2-dimensional frame of light-time. Therefore, particularly open systemically, it would be impossible for you, or anything else, to catch it from the rear or side. You can only run into a time front. Oops, that too: You (t=0) can never catch up to time (t=0), either, from the rear. You can only meet it frontally. You can only travel into it. There is no other approach to it. That goes for both light and time.

I have to laugh. Concerning light and time from the rear, there is absolutely "nothing" there. If there were it would fry the universe to a crisp. Ha, ha, ha. The joke's on me.
 
May 17, 2021
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Here's how I understand exactly what is the nothing of space.

First, from Alan Watts:
“The problem comes up because we ask the question in the wrong way. We supposed that solids were one thing and space quite another, or just nothing whatever. Then it appeared that space was no mere nothing, because solids couldn’t do without it. But the mistake in the beginning was to think of solids and space as two different things, instead of as two aspects of the same thing. The point is that they are DIFFERENT BUT INSEPARABLE, like the front end and the rear end of a cat. Cut them apart, and the cat dies.”

The nothing of space is the non-baryonic component of the Universe that is contiguous with all baryonic matter everywhere, from the quantum level to the Large Scale Structure of the Universe.

In terms of mathematics, baryonic matter and space function as negative reciprocals of each other as a singular and inseparable dualistic whole. The relationship between them and their forces (the contractive force of matter that increases with its density, and the expansive force of space that increases with its volume) is such that when plotted on a graph are perpendicular and of opposite-sign polarity.

Together they form what can be regarded as the one "fabric" of the Universe.
 
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Apr 27, 2020
8
4
515
What if nothing does have properties and is very much part of reality?
Quantum leaps a good example that nothing exists and has properties, also leptons/bosons that form quarks being the smallest thing combine to form quarks.
But what medium do the smallest things exist in before they are quarks?

Everything could be as simple as a property of nothing.
A potential energy of nothing or instability of nothing.
Bends the mind for sure.
I believe you are mixing up empty space which does have quantum properties with nothingness -- the nonexistence of anything. Since no thing exists, there can be no properties of a thing. However, you mention "quantum leaps" or, more commonly, quantum jumps. Those occur, not in nothingness, but in space and I believe are an indication that space may quantized (discrete) rather than continuous. Another topic for another time, perhaps.

No, leptons and bosons do not combine to form quarks. The terms are descriptors of types of fundamental particles. There is no evidence that quarks are made up of smaller particles. They are considered to be fundamental particles.
 
May 30, 2021
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Nothingness is anything beyond our knowledge, beyond our senses, beyond all we have uploaded with our all senses and capacity in all means and it is subjective.
 
I believe you are mixing up empty space which does have quantum properties with nothingness -- the nonexistence of anything. Since no thing exists, there can be no properties of a thing. However, you mention "quantum leaps" or, more commonly, quantum jumps. Those occur, not in nothingness, but in space and I believe are an indication that space may quantized (discrete) rather than continuous. Another topic for another time, perhaps.

No, leptons and bosons do not combine to form quarks. The terms are descriptors of types of fundamental particles. There is no evidence that quarks are made up of smaller particles. They are considered to be fundamental particles.
No way round the fact that nature has a smallest thing that has nothing between it and probably made up of mostly nothing.
Atoms mostly nothing.
Quarks mostly nothing
leptons/bosons mostly nothing
etc if something smaller exists

Quantum fluctuation is the activity behind the scenes but even it doesn't fill in nothing.

Quantum leaps tell much about the nature of the universe being lots of empty space, either orbit A or B etc but no % between.
No real way for an electron orbit to never loose or gain energy in an orbit with something between.
Only way it can happen is nothing, orbit energy level, nothing etc.

At some scale our BB universe is totally nothing with small amounts of something that in its essence is just energy in one format or another.

IMO a universe built with nothing as a building block could easily be created by a property of nothing or instability of nothing.
 
I like what you write, mostly, but I do have this premonition that one day you will suddenly transform 'nothingness' into somethingness. What you choose it to be, I don't know, but I just have a feeling that sooner than later it will happen. When I say "it came out of nowhere", or someone else says it, I very much want to know where that something that came out of nowhere came from. To me "nowhere" is just a door in space-time I, or that someone else, could not see anything, anything at all, beyond. But to me there was another side to that door; even if it was in another universe, there was an other side to that door.

The only frame I dismiss an other side to is a frame of light. As I've said over and over again, that frame is a massless single-sided 2-dimensional frame of light-time. Therefore, particularly open systemically, it would be impossible for you, or anything else, to catch it from the rear or side. You can only run into a time front. Oops, that too: You (t=0) can never catch up to time (t=0), either, from the rear. You can only meet it frontally. You can only travel into it. There is no other approach to it. That goes for both light and time.

I have to laugh. Concerning light and time from the rear, there is absolutely "nothing" there. If there were it would fry the universe to a crisp. Ha, ha, ha. The joke's on me.
Thanks :)
For many years i to thought talk about nothing was crazy talk.
How could nothing become something?
How could nothing even exist?

Then i thought not so much about nothing but about an area that contained nothing.
It consumed space but contained nothing.
Would it have an energy property? or would it be unstable? or carry a negative energy?
Lots of possibilities for an area of nothing and not just nothing as a concept.

At some tiny scale our BB universe right now mostly nothing with small amount of energy holding it up.
It's not a giant leap to imagine at some point it was all an area of nothing and just had potential energy to create everything.
Fluctuation as the creator of stable particles until an energy balance is reached and we have (conservation of energy)
 
May 30, 2021
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SER O NO SER. Si se toma al TODO como el "ser", entonces la NADA es el "NO ser" del TODO. De alli "El Ser y la Nada".

Mod Translate:
TO BE OR NOT TO BE. If the ALL is taken as the "being", then the NOTHING is the "NOT being" of the ALL. Hence "Being and Nothing".

Please post in English
 
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SER O NO SER. Si se toma al TODO como el "ser", entonces la NADA es el "NO ser" del TODO. De alli "El Ser y la Nada".

Mod Translate:
TO BE OR NOT TO BE. If the ALL is taken as the "being", then the NOTHING is the "NOT being" of the ALL. Hence "Being and Nothing".

Please post in English
As a math problem nothing is just that nothing.
But as a reality of the universe at some scale nothing is something if only in the property of being fill for something.
Our universe is a small amount of fill (energy) and a lot of nothing held up by it.
JMO but when we get to the tiniest things that don't fill every part of everything we are left with the mind bending thought that the rest/most is nothing.
Even at the quantum scales of fluctuation it's mostly nothing with activity between it or around it.
 
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Catastrophe

The devil is in the detail
VPE,

In reality, nothing is nothing. Perfect nothing does not exist outside mathematics.

In reality, nothing depends on context, but I would say that it means absence of anything of any substance. It will always contain, at least, a few atoms and some stray radiation.

Cat :)
 
VPE,

In reality, nothing is nothing. Perfect nothing does not exist outside mathematics.

In reality, nothing depends on context, but I would say that it means absence of anything of any substance. It will always contain, at least, a few atoms and some stray radiation.

Cat :)
Don't forget though that radiation and atoms or even electron orbits of atoms are something.
At smaller scales than them ?
Even electron orbits are far from full of electrons.

Can't have a wave or time in nothing but only in a medium of something.
Makes for a serious problem when we sink down to the smallest things and the space between them that no waves can exist or time but it exists.
Is that truly empty space filler or reason for all.?

Nothing is truly a puzzle.
 
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