Statesboro, GA, USA
"nothing" to me is an abstract term which really indicates the abscence of "something" which someone has identified. But it seems to me since it is an abstract term as such, you must play by the unwritten rules of common sense. . . The word existence is also an abstract term. Abstract terms cannot survive on their own. The abstract must be coupled with another idea. It has to be connected. For example, it is meaningless to talk about existence until you give it an object to work with. The BALL exists. CARS exist, etc... But you cannot just talk about existence without a partner. It just so happens that the abstract term "nothing" is not connected with the presence or existence of things but the absence of things. So it is meaningless to say that "nothing" exists, because we already pre-decided that it would signify non-existence or absence. Does nothing exist as a concept, as an idea in our minds? Yes of course. Does actual "nothingness" exist? Don't be foolish, by definition we already know nothingness refers to non-existence... So the only nothingness that exists is the concept in our minds. The real nothingness "if all other things are really absent" does the opposite, it ceases to exist... or rather everything else ceases to exist. If there were absolute nothingness ... absolutely nothing at all would exist including the concept of nothingness (because there has to be someone to perceive the utter absence of identified entities. No mind = No concept).
Now I'm even more confused I think! But the closest thing to absolute nothingness that I can think of is before God created the universe. The bible says that "The Earth was without form and void and darkness was on the face of the deep". This language to me suggests nonentity and disorder in the physical order of things. But as some of you pointed out earlier, "something" has always existed. I believe the physical universe including the time/ space matrix as we know it had a beginning point, but before that, God and the spiritual world existed from eternity. So there was never really an absolute nothingness.
Whew! I'm glad I sorted out such a grand metaphysical problem! But if you asked me how I did it, I'll just have to reply:
"Ah, it was nothing."