[extropy-chat] something rather than nothing

A B austriaaugust at yahoo.com
Mon Mar 19 23:46:08 UTC 2007

Hi Mike,

I apologize for the very long delay, I've been away
from a computer. You raise some very interesting

I like to think of nothing as "something in potential"
or even "anything in potential". The short version of
what I imagine nothing is, is the total lack of all
rules (eg. no rules of math, physics, logic, etc.) and
the total absence of any subsequent entities (eg.
matter, energy, time, etc.). In other words, I think
of nothing as infinite potential, so to speak.

But, I have amended my personal "definition" of
nothing. If we "define" nothing as (1)-the absence of
all rules/entities, then we must allow that even this
rule (1) cannot be self-applied to nothingness. So now
I think of nothingness as allowing the "coexistence"
of "existing" entities, without itself becoming
compromised. I also think this sits a little better
with the hypothesized nothingness-as-background idea.
I don't believe this invalidates the (1 : Infinity)
probability argument, but that's just my opinion.

Mike writes:

"if something is that which is known, and it's
> opposite (nothing) is
> the unknown - can that which is unknown be explored
> to give rise to
> new realms of the knowable?"

I believe that it can. We have created huge amounts of
testable knowledge without having a complete
understanding of the Universe (where a great deal
still remains unknown) or a complete understanding of
even a single atom, which both embody the exact same
set of fundamental physical laws. But I would maybe
define "something" as that which is partially known,
and nothing as that which is partially unknown.
Perhaps to a very large extent unknown :-) But, I
think we'll eventually be able to widdle-away the
unknown to a very small quantity.

As a potential example of knowledge gained from
If you choose to believe that nothingness either once
existed or continues to exist (in the background) then
it offers insights into our own Universe. Eg. If
nothingness is also devoid of time, then why is our
Universe only 15 billion years old (as the empirical
evidence suggests)? IOW, if nothingness is devoid of a
chronology, or a time "flow", then why *isn't* our
Universe either infinitely old (or nearly so)? With
nothingness having no chronology, then intuition would
suggest that all the Universes that do exist should
have been born simultaneously and all of them should
be infinitely old (or very nearly infinitely old). The
believe of nothingness narrows down the possible
explanations for this inconsistency. For example, our
Universe may only be 15 billion years old, because it
follows an inexorable cycle of Big Bangs to Big
Crunches (I personally find that extremely unlikely,
but maybe that's just because I don't like the idea.
Seriously though, I *really* don't believe this is the
case.). If this were the case, then we would have
gained knowledge about the inexorable fate of our
Universe (Then again, I do like Tipler's Omega-Point
idea). Another possible explanation is that baby
Universes are eventually spawned from the black holes
of parent Universes like the physicist Lee Smolin
believes. This is the hypothesis that I like the most,
and if this is the correct explanation then it opens
up another can-o-worms, and so on.

Best Wishes,

Jeffrey Herrlich     

--- Mike Dougherty <msd001 at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 3/6/07, A B <austriaaugust at yahoo.com> wrote:
> >
> > Although if one wanted to be pedantic about it,
> one
> > might argue that even mathematics cannot exist in
> the
> > void of nothingness, but only as a product of
> creation
> > so to speak. I hope perpetuating this thread
> doesn't
> > annoy too many people :-)
> is that void the absense of something, or the
> something in potential?
> if something is that which is known, and it's
> opposite (nothing) is
> the unknown - can that which is unknown be explored
> to give rise to
> new realms of the knowable?  In that case the void
> would represent
> potential for something to become manifest, while at
> the same time be
> defined as what remains unknown after some potential
> is made 'real'
> clearly, it doesn't annoy me.
> _______________________________________________
> extropy-chat mailing list
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org

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