written by Aaaron Boluwatife
Nothing, as used in everyday speech, means the absence of something. For example, “There is nothing in my pocket” 👇🙀! In this post though, I will not be talking about “nothing” as the absence of something, but as the absence of everything.
Everything you know…
You’ve always imagined what this world will be without you in it, right? Now imagine the world without anything in it. In fact, imagine there is no world at all.
To think of nothing you first have to think of something, then forget about the things you are thinking about. 😂 Maybe that is nothing? You will even find out that the process of thinking of nothing is something itself.
!!“Nothing” is not the empty space. Although, this is the first thing people think about when they think of nothing. Science tries to explain it this way => imagine two objects suspended in space and are not touching. If space is nothing that means that nothing is between them and the two objects ought to touch. But these two objects did not touch… which means that space is something.
When you log in to Facebook, the first question that welcomes you – “What’s on your mind?” This means that they expect that something must be on your mind – at all times! But what if you thought of nothing in that moment? Does that mean that nothing was on your mind? 😉
The concept of nothing is an old one… For centuries people have tried to explain what they cannot see. This is one of the reasons why religion is an important part of our lives. The story of creation, according to The Bible, is that the world began from nothing (ex nihilo). But if you try to imagine it – nothing can’t produce life. Some religious people hold a different view, that although the world was formless at first it was not necessarily empty.
Away from the religious folks…
Let’s check the philosophers.
Parmenides, who was a Greek philosopher of the 5th century BC, believed that “nothing” does not exist. Leucippus explained that for a motion to happen there must be a void. He believed there is a void and there is matter. The void is what he probably thought of as nothing. Aristotle also gave his own explanation: he said space does not mean “nothing” but rather a receptacle for the matter to be placed.
Scientists think of “nothing” too!
What if a vacuum is a total void and the definition of “nothing”? According to the dictionary, a vacuum is an empty area devoid of matter. This would have made the theory of Leucippus to be true, but many scientists thinks otherwise. Vacuums are not truly empty. There is a constant fluctuation in energy and this can spontaneously create mass out of nothing. These are called “virtual particles”. This is not something you’re probably going to see, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
In quantum physics, this is called the uncertainty principle. It was first introduced by Werner Heisenberg. He said: “At any definite point in space, there must exist temporary changes in energy over time. Sometimes this energy is converted into mass, generating particle-anticipate pairs.”
Also, do not forget Newton’s law of universal gravitation! This law means that two particles that are separated in space are attracted to each other by the force of gravity = the space cannot be empty or contain nothing!
It means, even if you can take away the possibility of quantum physics, the “virtual particles”, and the random energy, you will still be left with gravity. And even if you can take away every particle in a vacuum along with the energy and gravity, you still cannot stop the fluctuations in the quantum vacuum of the universe. There are particles popping into existence and are short-lived. They collide and they are not, again and again… This makes it impossible to truly have nothing.
At the end, I’d like to add, if nothing exists, then I’m sure you and I know (or have) enough nothing already 😂.
Next post – If this life all there is, what should we do with it?