The Quality of Nothingness
he astute reader may still retain some scepticism about how anything can come from nothing. This may be more of a semantic problem than anything else.
For those unaccustomed to thinking about nothing ;o), that subject may seem to be a bit trifling. So let me add a few observations that may make my viewpoint easier to comprehend.
I have endeavored to render the universe in a geometrical way. Lines, circles, spheres, twists, etc. have been depicted as though they were real entities. Well, they are ... in a sense. But if you could actually see an elementary particle, do you really think that any would have lines drawn about them to distinguish their identity?
For, in fact, there is nothing there. There is no way to "paint" geometric lines on the surface of a three dimensional space which is not there. The lines are drawn by me for your benefit.
Existence is constituted by nothing at all.
After all, how could any "stuff" exist. Where would it come from?
It might be more appropriate to think of existence as an answer to the question: "What would happen IF something did exist?".
Since, we are embedded in this hypothetical situation, we perceive it as "real" and thus fulfill our own expectations. Certainly, taking the view that "nothing exists"
has no utility for any existential being within that ultimate hypothesis. So we are left to discard the final answer as "untenable". Nevertheless, the "stuffness" that you perceive is factually an illusion. It just doesn't matter in everyday activities. It only matters to those who seriously contemplate the "endpoints" of that existence.
Given the above, I think you can imagine why the following might be possible.
Pasted from my D-Board|
I believe "quality" is the only true mystery of the universe. It can't be studied at depth by any quantitive mechanism. For instance, since we can see ... nature-God-universe-logic is compelled to afix some qualitive form to embody that fact (else it isn't real). So we both see the wavelength of light we both call "red". But in principle I can't know what you see. If I could I might say "Ah, what you call red is more like what I call sound.".
Your perception of any quality may be entirely different than mine provided that it is internally consistent and causes no external logical contradiction with my perception.
So any assemblage of material which acts as an integrated unit must have some sort of ... at least primitive "sense". Even a vending machine must have something. (I don't mean here a sense of self, just some primitive sensation of integrated existence.)
If you take an assembly of neurons within your brain ... how many would it take to construct a sense of existence. Certainly there ought reasonably to be some gradations to consciousness, eh? What they are must be forever locked away from our experiments ... in principle.
Also, if you take an extremely large number of "simple mechanisms" and hook them together so that they function like your brain (tit for tat) ... then ... that whole integrated mechanism will be supplied with a consciousness equal to your own and it will posess a real "sense of self" even though it might only be a trillion connected mousetraps or pocket calculators.
I, too, often disagree with my conception of nothingness. But I have found no alternative to this. Nothing else will "get up and go". Plus, the basic idea of existence as a simple integer count is stupidly simple which is just what I'm looking for ... just rock-bottom stupid acting as the foundation of existence.
There may be other consistent theories of existence ...
When I was in NYC, I observed the subway maps were of different types and which one you chose to look to for info was dependent on your familiarity with the city.
If you are new to the city, a topologically accurate geometric map with the actual track of the subway through every borough was the thing to look at. But once you knew your way around (had a map of the geometry of the city in your mind), the best map was the schematic one which showed strings of spaghetti going more or less straight while showing just the stops and change places. Still, if you were very familiar with the city, a simple schedule would suffice.
An engineer will try to make a map of existence like the first.
Each map will be valid but you would use the one most fitting your needs. And ... there might even be maps which look nothing like what I have devised yet fulfill the same function. I don't entirely discount the idea (But I would feel quite comfortable betting my life that it is just what I say it is ... a simple integer count ;o).
I will try to make a map like the second.
A formal scientist will try to make a "mathematical schedule" with no pictures at all.
In the end I am a half-blind man in a dark basement looking for a black cat which might not be there. Every postulate held seems to drip through one's fingers if examined too closely ... but the cloud surrounding the unknown becomes ever so much smaller each time one dares to enter.
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