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Passions in Poetry

Nothing

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Poeminister
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since 02-26-2000
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0 posted 12-28-2000 12:54 AM       View Profile for Poeminister   Email Poeminister   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Poeminister's Home Page   View IP for Poeminister

What's Nothing.  Does it exist??  


Ted Reynolds
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1 posted 12-28-2000 07:55 AM       View Profile for Ted Reynolds   Email Ted Reynolds   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ted Reynolds

Just to start the ball rolling . . .

If Nothing existed, I wouldn't.  I do, therefore Nothing doesn't.  Q.E.D.

I stand open to rebuttal.
nakdthoughts
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2 posted 12-28-2000 08:19 AM       View Profile for nakdthoughts   Email nakdthoughts   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for nakdthoughts

emptiness...it contains nothing

~Wynter


"The worst prison would be a closed heart".
...Pope John Paul II


Brad
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since 08-20-99
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Jejudo, South Korea


3 posted 12-28-2000 08:53 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

The answer is yes. What is the problem here?

Brad
Ted Reynolds
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4 posted 12-28-2000 09:27 AM       View Profile for Ted Reynolds   Email Ted Reynolds   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ted Reynolds

Nothing is the problem, obviously.  

Brad
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since 08-20-99
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5 posted 12-28-2000 11:53 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Nothing is no problem, right?
Ted Reynolds
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since 12-15-1999
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6 posted 12-28-2000 12:56 PM       View Profile for Ted Reynolds   Email Ted Reynolds   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ted Reynolds

Well, yes, Brad, there is a bit of a problem.  You glibly say "'Nothing' exists."  But if it exists, it is NOT nothing, it's SOMEthing.  The question remains, how can "nothing," which we pretty much define as not being anything, exist?

I say "There is nothing in this bottle."
I say "There is not anything in this bottle."

I suggest the sentences mean the same thing, and that it is as meaningless to ask "Does 'nothing' exist" as to ask "does 'not anything" exist."

Back next year to see if anybody bites.  Have a Happy Everything.
jbouder
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since 09-18-99
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Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


7 posted 12-28-2000 02:17 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Ted:

I fear you are drowning in semantics.     "Nothing" is a pronoun ... so the truly important question is what is the "thing" of which there is nothing? The absense of the "thing" is what nothing is (and, arguably, because it "is", it exists).  For example:

There is no question that vacuums exist.  But a vacuum is best defined by what it lacks ... matter.  By arguing "Nothing exists  : : Nothing is something" I think you would have to say "Vacuums exist  : : Vacuums are matter".  Both statements are contradictory and rely on a similar false premise.

In short, I think your definition of what exists is too narrow.  Now that wasn't so hard, was it? Nothing to it, right?  

Jim


[This message has been edited by jbouder (edited 12-28-2000).]
Ron
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8 posted 12-28-2000 02:41 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Actually, vacuums do not exist (unless you're talking about the kind my sister says I should use on the carpet once in a while). What we too often call the vacuum of outer space is actually teeming with matter, and even the artificial vacuums created in the laboratory are never perfectly devoid of matter. The best we can do is a near-vacuum.

But, assuming we could create or find a perfect vacuum, completely empty of matter, it would still contain energy (else we could never find it).

Oh, and Jim, my dictionary also gives a definition of "nothing" as a noun: Something that has no existence. But doesn't that definition include an oxymoron? If something has no existence, is it still a something?
jbouder
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9 posted 12-28-2000 04:58 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Ron:

Splitting hairs a bit, are we? Yeah, I knew that even the most remote "vacuum" of space contains some gases and man-made vacuums still contain matter at the molecular level.  And Ron ... you just committed the universal negative fallacy.  

I can understand how "a nothing" (noun) could be understood as being somebody who isn't worth anything but in that case, the "nothing" (noun) exists but, according to someone's opinion, simply lacks value.  I am not sure how you could use "nothing" as a noun in any other way.  

Regardless, I would dispute the notion that something (or nothing) has to be measurable in order to exist.  I think language creates more problems with defining "nothing" than the concept of "nothing" (your dictionary definition as a case in point).

Jim
Severn
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10 posted 12-28-2000 06:04 PM       View Profile for Severn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Severn

Nothing to add (oh my, is that a contradiction...?  ) just having a good chortle...

K
Sock
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since 11-27-2000
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11 posted 12-28-2000 06:18 PM       View Profile for Sock   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sock

To me "nothing" is the word that society uses to describe emptiness:

There is nothing in the glass.

There is nothing in space. etc.

But what society doesn't realise that there IS something in the glass (air) and in space (stars etc).  Nothing lets us describe our perception of things and is used to generalise an image we have (an open space filled with invisible elements).

Hey I'm probably wrong, and even though I like thinking about philosophies - I don't have any idea what I'm talking about.

Thanks for the chat guys.
Poeminister
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12 posted 12-28-2000 06:30 PM       View Profile for Poeminister   Email Poeminister   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Poeminister's Home Page   View IP for Poeminister

Sock--I think your right.. Only the appearance of "nothing" exists. There's no such thing as absolute nothingness, for there is always something everywhere.

Thankyou for commenting. And welcome to Passions.




[This message has been edited by Poeminister (edited 12-28-2000).]
Poeminister
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13 posted 12-28-2000 06:50 PM       View Profile for Poeminister   Email Poeminister   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Poeminister's Home Page   View IP for Poeminister

Thank you guys for all your comments and thoughts about "nothing"  



[This message has been edited by Poeminister (edited 12-28-2000).]
Ron
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14 posted 12-28-2000 07:40 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Jim said:
quote:
I think language creates more problems with defining "nothing" than the concept of "nothing" (your dictionary definition as a case in point).


I completely agree, which is why I made note of the seeming paradox in the definition I found. But I think it also helps to answer the question. "Nothing," in the sense it is typically used, does exist. If it didn't, frankly, we wouldn't need to have a word for it. When we try to define it as nonexistence, the definition no longer makes any sense.

The underlying concept is one that has interested me for years, at least in the scientific sense. As I already noted, we know of no perfect vacuum, even at the molecular level. We've also never found nor created a temperature representing absolute zero, signifying a complete cessation of movement. It seems no matter where we look, no matter how closely we peer, there is always both matter/energy and movement of that matter/energy.
serenity blaze
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since 02-02-2000
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15 posted 12-28-2000 10:10 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

So...am I to understand, that NOTHING is the absence of something, until it becomes recognized as an entity unto itself, thus becoming something?  OW....this one HURT
Sock
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16 posted 12-29-2000 12:33 AM       View Profile for Sock   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sock

Hey I'm still recovering  

Des.
fractal007
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since 06-01-2000
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17 posted 12-30-2000 06:21 PM       View Profile for fractal007   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for fractal007

Just putting in my two cents, I think that nothing does exist, in that it is an expanse between somethings.  It's sorta like Yin Yang.  They are both in a balance.  They both serve as eachother's point of reference.  Nothing can't exist unless there is no something.  Something can't exist unless there is no nothing.  But I don't think there is any place in this universe in which there is absolute nothingness, because this universe is occupied[at least 0.0002% of it]by something.
Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


18 posted 12-30-2000 10:09 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

fractal007,
Yeah, that's how I would define it.

Nothing is, has to be, a relational concept, not an absolute concept (I'm not sure what 'absolute nothing' means anyway).

Yet, no one here seems interested in the problems of 'something' as a concept.

What is an absolute something?

A quick definition of something is:

"An undetermined or unspecified thing"  

There are other definitions but I think this is the one that is being used here. But what exactly is an undetermined, unspecified thing when thing itself is already specified as:

"An entity, an idea, or a quality perceived, known, or thought to have its own existence."

In order for a thing to exist, it must be specified by definition. Therefore something, unless the word is used relationally, contextually, doesn't exist, is impossible to use, because it's unspecified.

Therefore, nothing and something both exist or don't exist. Actually, the 'or' should probably be changed to 'and' -- nothing and something both exist and don't exist depending on the context of the conversation.

One more example of the problems of 'something':

ex:

There is something.

"there is" is a relational idea. There really is no there there outside of a speaker's, observer's relation to it.

Okay, but what about:

I saw something.

This one's even easier. If you saw something, you have already perceived a thing that is specified (it can be seen), right? Any 'something' has to be specified in order to be perceived. Any 'something' has to be specified in order for it to be thought.

In this way, I just don't see the problem with nothing/something. They have to be used relationally or not at all. Even Absolute zero or absolute vacuums can only be conceived in relation to their negatives. Still, it is interesting to speculate on their possibility I was under the understanding that even the vacuum itself (the fabric of space/time) contains energy in itself).

Thanks,
Brad
sexyILN
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since 11-20-2000
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19 posted 12-31-2000 09:21 PM       View Profile for sexyILN   Email sexyILN   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for sexyILN

I have a headache.

...peace as a primary goal, is dangerous because it implies that you will sacrifice any principle for the sake of it....
Robert Kaplan
fractal007
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since 06-01-2000
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20 posted 01-01-2001 12:26 AM       View Profile for fractal007   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for fractal007

I think, then, that what we're dealing with is our conception of what nothing and something are.  I'm sure that there's all sorts of technical words for people who are of various schools of thought about the definition of the two.

I will present my idea on this subject:

Let us take a model of the universe and wipe away all that exists in the universe.  Here, I am assuming that the universe as we know it, as defined by the space in which everything we are aware of exists[except maybe for spiritual stuff.  But whether or not there's spiritual stuff is not my concern here.]  Now that the universe is occupied by nothing, we can therefore conclude that:

1>  The existance of nothing precludes that there cannot be anything in the universe.

2>  The universe itself if a thing.  It is a thing which contains nothing.  Therefore, we conclude that in the thing called the universe, there is nothing.  However, containing nothing is something.  We have a paradox.

Now, let's add star Alpha.  It is currently the only thing that exists in the universe.  We conclude that:

1>  THe existance of Alpha precludes that nothing can no longer exist in the universe.


Now, we end up with the question, "What's outside the universe?"  It's possible that the universe is "all there is".  However, now we have the problem of black holes.  Some claim that black holes rip the fabric of space time.  What happens when you go thru a rip in the fabric of space time?  Is there something "outside?"  Or maybe absolute nothingness lies outside the fabric of space time.  

So, in my view, nothing can exist - if it happens to be the only thing within a given space or universe.  But if there is something in the presence of nothing, then nothing ceases to exist.  Of course this raises the idea that nothing cannot exist, because nothing is something.  

So, if what the hardcore existentialists say is true - namely that people have no lives after this one, then we will see what nothing is like after we die.  
Poeminister
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since 02-26-2000
Posts 1868
Regina SK; Canada


21 posted 01-01-2001 01:04 PM       View Profile for Poeminister   Email Poeminister   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Poeminister's Home Page   View IP for Poeminister

Fractal--"Expanse"-- i think is a good way to define it.
An expanse of those somethings we can't perceive superficially/naturally/casually amidst those things that we can- that are conspicious and vivid that our senses can grasp at. In context of superficially it exists but in deeper penetration i think there's always somethings lurking, the all is perpetual somethings, i think...
If i had the ability to make myself however big or small i wanted to be at any time I would be phasing certain things on one scale/capacity into 'nothings' in another and certain 'nothings' into somethings-things that i could grasp with my senses and perceive...I think all the universe's absolute relationships of matter and energy, even space itself, and that theres just dense cumulations and less dense cumulations, but no actual holes where exist no things at all.




[This message has been edited by Poeminister (edited 01-01-2001).]
Moon Dust
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since 06-11-99
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Skelmersdale, UK


22 posted 01-01-2001 08:22 PM       View Profile for Moon Dust   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Moon Dust

To me nothing is to our own perception on saying that there's nothing there, to nothing as far as we can see. But in reailty there is always something there.

Life has got to chnage,
Nothing stays the same,
Soon it will be time,
For me to move on.

Poeminister
Senior Member
since 02-26-2000
Posts 1868
Regina SK; Canada


23 posted 01-02-2001 12:12 AM       View Profile for Poeminister   Email Poeminister   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Poeminister's Home Page   View IP for Poeminister

I agree.  We often question how did the universe come into being...was it created?  But I reckon the universe never had a beginning--a coming into being...  It has always just been and will be forever..
serenity blaze
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since 02-02-2000
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24 posted 01-02-2001 02:54 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Wife to husband, "What's wrong, honey?"

Husband, "Nothing."

Smile...then, watch the transformation of "nothing" into "something"....

I rest my case. And yes, just another weird take on life from serenity....
 
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