Something Instead of Nothing

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:38 pm

Why is there something rather than nothing?
By Robert Adler
From the BBC Earth website

The universe is flat and why that's important

Inflation [theory] also gave cosmologists the measuring tool they needed to determine the underlying geometry of the universe. It turns out this is also crucial for understanding how the cosmos came from nothing.


Think about the "underlying geometry" of anything at all in this somethingness we call the universe. However flat or not flat it is, it is always perceived from within the universe itself. Everything is always in relationship to something else. And then to everything else.

It is only when we grapple with describing the "underlying geometry" of nothing at all that the mind implodes. Just to contemplate it requires being a something that can.

And even if the universe itself is construed as flat how can this "flatness" not in turn be in or on or under or over or around or next to something?

Like everything in our somethingness world always is.

Einstein's theory of general relativity tells us that the space-time we live in could take three different forms. It could be as flat as a table top. It could curve back on itself like the surface of a sphere, in which case if you travel far enough in the same direction you would end up back where you started. Alternatively, space-time could curve outward like a saddle. So which is it?


This sort of speculation is often discussed in documentaries on the Science Channel here in America. Or in a PBS/Nova doc.

I watch as they introduce all of these elaborate graphics in an attempt to illustrate the point. And all the while I'm thinking that only because something exist that allows them to do this are they actually able to do it at all.

They attempt to explain the existence of space-time as a sphere or a saddle. Or with a balloon being inflated.

But ever and always their attempt to explain something presupposes the existence of the something that they are already in.

I can't even imagine how they would go about moving beyond theories bursting at the seams with all manner of equally theoretical assumptions to arrive at nothing at all.

And yet this point itself is almost never raised by them.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:54 pm

Why is there something rather than nothing?
By Robert Adler
From the BBC Earth website

You might remember from maths class that the three angles of a triangle add up to exactly 180 degrees. Actually your teachers left out a crucial point: this is only true on a flat surface. If you draw a triangle on the surface of a balloon, its three angles will add up to more than 180 degrees. Alternatively, if you draw a triangle on a surface that curves outward like a saddle, its angles will add up to less than 180 degrees.


And isn't this "perspective" frame of mind all the more problematic when considering why something -- this something -- exists and not nothing at all?

At least with the three angles, we actually have things -- triangles, balloons, saddles -- that allow us to illustrate our point. But what of the variables on hand with respect to nothing at all? Suppose the universe/multiverse isn't flat at all? Suppose those things that we don't even know that we don't even know about it yet make anything that we possibly can know [must know] about it way, way, way beyond what we can even imagine. Possibly even beyond what the human brain is even capable of imagining.

And even here assuming some measure of autonomy.

So to find out if the universe is flat, we need to measure the angles of a really big triangle. That's where inflation comes in. It determined the average size of the warmer and cooler patches in the cosmic microwave background. Those patches were measured in 2003, and that gave astronomers a selection of triangles. As a result, we know that on the largest observable scale our universe is flat.


Only that just begs the question: What of the possible gap between what we think we know about inflation here and now and all that can possibly be known about it.

And [of course] all the while there is always something here to point to and to discuss and to figure out.

Nothing at all on the other hand...?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby surreptitious75 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:23 pm

We can only ever understand that which is both observable and capable of comprehension
We must never assume that all knowledge can ever be known as that is simply not possible
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:51 pm

surreptitious75 wrote:We can only ever understand that which is both observable and capable of comprehension
We must never assume that all knowledge can ever be known as that is simply not possible


Think about what you are saying here.

On the one hand, you are asserting that "we must never assume that all knowledge can ever be known". That this is "simply not possible."

But then this particular claim of knowledge itself seems to be the exception.

In other words, this, in my view, is just another example of the objectivist frame of mind. It asserts things as "I" that "I" cannot possibly demonstrate as in fact true objectively for all of us.

And this [of course] goes back to the gap between the infinitesimal and tiny insignificance of "I" in the staggering vastness of "all there is".

It's more a psychological assessment in my view. A wanting to believe that what you think you know about this is true. That somehow your own particular "I" is able to be grounded in knowledge such as this.

Which is no less true of my own assumptions here. But in acknowledging this...how does that make me different from others?

Assuming in turn...

1] a No God world
2] some measure of human autonomy
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby surreptitious75 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:22 pm

The inevitability of our extinction means that no knowledge can ever be acquired after the event in question
Even if we could attain immortality it would take longer than infinity to know everything there was to know

The totality of all human knowledge is absolutely infinitesimal in comparison to everything that we do not know and never will know
In an infinite ocean all we have accumulated is one drop of water - in an infinite desert all we have accumulated is one grain of sand
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Sat Jun 15, 2019 2:25 am

surreptitious75 wrote: The inevitability of our extinction means that no knowledge can ever be acquired after the event in question


Our extinction however is just another component of somethingness that we can speculate endlessly about but are not able to pin down definitively. You have to actually die first.

surreptitious75 wrote: The totality of all human knowledge is absolutely infinitesimal in comparison to everything that we do not know and never will know


This is just more of the same though -- an objectivist claim that you have absolutely no capacity to demonstrate is true.

It seems reasonable to me only because I am not able to imagine a frame of mind that might allow me to grasp everything there is to know.

That perspective is ascribed to God. And, no, here and now, I don't believe in God. But that does not mean that God does not exist. And to the extent that He does, mere mortals [after they die] either will or will not be apprised of His mysterious ways.

surreptitious75 wrote: In an infinite ocean all we have accumulated is one drop of water - in an infinite desert all we have accumulated is one grain of sand


As poetry, this may or may not make sense. But, as philosophy, it is no less just another an assertion without a shred of hard evidence to back it up.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:14 pm

Why is there something rather than nothing?
By Robert Adler
From the BBC Earth website

Everything that exists, from stars and galaxies to the light we see them by, must have sprung from somewhere. We already know that particles spring into existence at the quantum level, so we might expect the universe to contain a few odds and ends.


And yet in order to have a few odds and ends [or even lots and lots of them] the universe must first exist as something. So it would seem to be "existence" itself in need of a few odds and ends. And one particular beginning. And what could be odder than it beginning out of nothing at all?

How? Sure, maybe it revolves around this:

...it takes a huge amount of energy to make all those stars and planets. Where did the universe get all this energy? Bizarrely, it may not have had to get any. That's because every object in the universe creates gravity, pulling other objects toward it. This balances the energy needed to create the matter in the first place.


But how on earth does one wrap their head around this? How would one go about trying to actually picture it happening?

I must be missing something. Okay, every object in the universe [including you and I] creates gravity. Every object is pulling on every other object. But this part...."this balances the energy needed to create the matter in the first place"...is lost on me.

How does gravity existing in objects that exist in this somethingness universe have any relationship with energy unless the objects creating the gravity already exist?

Though I will be the first to admit I don't possess either brain power or the education to properly "think this through".

But who does?

It's a bit like an old-fashioned measuring scale. You can put a heavy weight on one side, so long as it is balanced by an equal weight on the other. In the case of the universe, the matter goes on one side of the scale, and has to be balanced by gravity.


Yeah, illustrate the text with explanations/examples like this. But this is already unfolding in the already existing somethingness. Where's the "nothing" part come into play? How is that illustrated?

Beyond worlds of words in particular.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Thu Jun 20, 2019 11:20 pm

Why is there something rather than nothing?
By Robert Adler
From the BBC Earth website

Universe or multiverse?

At this point, making a universe looks almost easy. Quantum mechanics tells us that "nothing" is inherently unstable, so the initial leap from nothing to something may have been inevitable. Then the resulting tiny bubble of space-time could have burgeoned into a massive, busy universe, thanks to inflation. As Krauss puts it, "The laws of physics as we understand them make it eminently plausible that our universe arose from nothing - no space, no time, no particles, nothing that we now know of."


Basically, what this amounts to in my view is an intellectual making a certain set of assumption about relationships he cannot possibly fully grasp; and then merely taking a conjectural leap to the conclusion that "the initial leap from nothing to something may have been inevitable."

But isn't this in itself inevitable until we are able to grasp a complete understanding of existence itself? If we are able to. For some though the leap in itself is fascinating enough.

Here I am and here it is: someone in something.

But how...why?

Leading to still more problematic speculation...

So why did it only happen once? If one space-time bubble popped into existence and inflated to form our universe, what kept other bubbles from doing the same?

Linde offers a simple but mind-bending answer. He thinks universes have always been springing into existence, and that this process will continue forever.

When a new universe stops inflating, says Linde, it is still surrounded by space that is continuing to inflate. That inflating space can spawn more universes, with yet more inflating space around them. So once inflation starts it should make an endless cascade of universes, which Linde calls eternal inflation. Our universe may be just one grain of sand on an endless beach.

Those universes might be profoundly different to ours.


Taking the conundrum of something out of nothing to multiple somethings out of multiple nothings in parallel universes that may well operate under an entirely different set of natural laws.

But what doesn't change is the gap between "sheer speculation" like this the actual reality of what is in fact true. The part that we take to the grave with us.

Which then begets the gap between "sheer speculation" about the part beyond the grave and the actual reality of what is in fact true about that.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:09 pm

From THE DINNER TABLE website.

Why is There Something Instead of Nothing?

No, but seriously. Why is there something instead of nothing?

Last night, as I was creeping around the internet at 2:43am while the adults of the world slept, my eyes glanced by the headline, “Why is there something instead of nothing?” on the sidebar of a site I was on. I didn’t click the article.

I finally went to bed, planning to sleep eight hours, when at 7am I decide that actually, it was a better plan to wake up and stare at the ceiling for three hours thinking about why there was something. Instead of nothing.

I had heard the question before. It’s an old one that lots of people have pondered. But until 7am today, it hadn’t fully hit me how unbelievably boggling a question it was. It’s not a question—it’s the question—and the more you think about it, the less sense it makes.


I can't actually recall the first time my own mind was boggled by this question. Nor can I put a precise count on the number of times it has boggled my mind since.

And the bottom line is that some no doubt go from the cradle to the grave without it ever once having truly boggled their mind. Either because they have already put all their cards in God or because they are overwhelmingly preoccupied with merely subsisting from day to day. And there are after all countless distractions to take the mind in other directions.

Besides, it's not an answer that you need to have. It's not even a pressing question unless you let it be.

But, for some, it ever gnaws at them. And it gnaws at them because they know [more or less deep down inside] that if there is ever to be "closure" regarding any possibly purpose and meaning in their lives, it will eventually get around to that.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:54 pm

From THE DINNER TABLE website.

First, my mind goes to “Wait—why is there anything at all?” Why is there space and time and matter and energy at all?

Then, I think about the alternative. What if there were just…nothing…at all…ever…anywhere? What if nothing ever was in the first place? But what? No. That can’t—there has to be something.

Nothing is truly a crazy concept. I’d keep thinking about a false nothing—like a vast empty vacuum (which is something) or nothing here, but other universes elsewhere in other dimensions (which is something), or nothing now, but at some point, way before or after now, there being something (which is something.


This either sinks in -- really sinks in -- or it doesn't. Look around you. With everything else we can think through it once not existing and then existing. And we certainly exist to think it through it. And we grasp the existence of human biology that allowed us to come into existence in the first place.

But what of existence itself? Is that the one exception? Has that simply always been around? But how to pin that down with any actual clarity.

Trying to wrap my head around true, utter nothing, is what kept my eyes extra wide as I stared at the ceiling between 7am and 10am this morning.


In other words, if nothing at all is a "crazy concept", imagine how bent out of shape any particular mind becomes trying to go beyond the concept of nothing, and actually capturing the reality of nothing itself.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby WendyDarling » Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:11 pm

In other words, if nothing at all is a "crazy concept", imagine how bent out of shape any particular mind becomes trying to go beyond the concept of nothing, and actually capturing the reality of nothing itself.

Something is always doing the thinking while you try to imagine a nothing so it's impossible to actually comprehend beyond what is. Consciousness cannot become non-existent because thoughts are always filling the voids whether they be ours or a wiser being who can harness all somethings to become more somethings.
I AM OFFICIALLY IN HELL!

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jul 07, 2019 2:33 am

WendyDarling wrote:Something is always doing the thinking while you try to imagine a nothing so it's impossible to actually comprehend beyond what is.


That's the point though. All we have at our disposal is the thinking "I". And then the part where "I" go to the grave having lived an unimaginably obscure and insignificant existence in the context of "all there is": Existence itself.

Of course, different folks will react to that differently. Just as they do to life and death itself. That's all embodied in dasein.

Some fill in the blanks with God. Others with the belief that whatever is "behind" existence, their own particular life revolved around the "real me" in sync with "the right thing to do".

At least they got that part right. The ever self-righteous objectivists.

Still, I can only acknowledge my own frame of mind here is but another example in and of itself of "sheer speculation". There does not appear to be a "right way" to think about any of it.

Besides, who among us really knows what the hell happens to us after we die?

WendyDarling wrote:Consciousness cannot become non-existent because thoughts are always filling the voids whether they be ours or a wiser being who can harness all somethings to become more somethings.


Care to bring this down to earth?

Care to demonstrate how and why "all reasonable men and women are obligated to think like this too"?

What are you saying here about your own consciousness? In relationship to death? In relationship to existence itself?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby WendyDarling » Sun Jul 07, 2019 2:48 am

I have an immortal mind with dementia. :evilfun:
I AM OFFICIALLY IN HELL!

I live my philosophy, it's personal to me and people who engage where I live establish an unspoken dynamic, a relationship of sorts, with me and my philosophy.

Cutting folks for sport is a reality for the poor in spirit. I myself only cut the poor in spirit on Tues., Thurs., and every other Sat.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:19 pm

From THE DINNER TABLE website.

But the fact is, there isn’t nothing—there’s something. We’re something. The Earth is something. Space is something. Time is something. The observable universe and its 100 billion galaxies are something.

Which then leads me to, Why? Why does all this something exist? And where the hell are we? If this universe is the only thing there is, that’s kind of weird and illogical—why would this big space just exist by itself in an otherwise nothing situation? More logical, to me, is the bubbling, frothing multiverse situation—but okay, we still then have the same problem. Why is this bubbling thing happening? Where is it happening? In what context is it happening?


Still, just how mind-boggling this all either is or is not to you, is, in turn, just another part of the whole incomprehensible nature of "existence itself". It can't be pinned down now because there remains so much that we do not have access to in the way of knowing for sure what is true. We can certainly speculate that in a thousand years the human race will surely know so much more about the reality of reality than we do today. But we have no way in which to know if that will finally be enough. Or if the human brain itself will ever have access to what must be known in order to have enough.

In other words...

That’s our main issue—we have no context. It’s like being zoomed in on a single letter and not knowing anything else—is the letter part of a book? In a library somewhere? Is it part of a word that exists by itself? Is it a single letter all alone? Is it part of some code we don’t understand? We have no fucking idea, because all we can see is this one letter. We have no idea about the context.


Yet even here we can only acknowledge that when we say "we", we can't possibly know for certain that no one at all [across the entire globe] is not a lot closer to it than you and I are. That sort of knowledge either comes to our attention or it does not.

All we can do is to Google the question "why is there something instead of nothing?" and then start clicking on the sites like this one where folks do at least make an attempt to answer it.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:54 pm

THE DINNER TABLE

Religious people have a quick answer to “Why is there something instead of nothing?” I’m not religious, but when I’ve thought hard enough about it, I’ve realized that it’s as plausible as anything else that life on Earth was created by some other intelligent life, or that we’re part of a simulation, or a bunch of other possibilities that would all entail us having a creator. But in each possible case, the existence of the creator still needs an explanation—why was there an original creator instead of nothing—and to me, any religious explanation inevitably hits the same wall.


Still, a Creator is one possible explanation. And it's the explanation that covers every possible question that one might have about something and not nothing. And this something and not something else: God's will.

And, sure, why can't the Creator, in being both omniscient and omnipotent, become explanation enough for any questions one might pose about His own existence?

And if that isn't reason enough to choose God as the explanation, there's always the parts about immortality, salvation and divine justice.

So, there seems little doubt that a God, the God, my God, will always be the explanation of choice for most. And, even among atheists, there's always the hankering and the hope that, by some miracle, He is the explanation.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Meno_ » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:09 pm

Perhaps the anthropomorphic conception can be improved upon.
By the time an absolute nothingness can be demonstrated, then god will become a certainty.

Really, as some thing and no thing cease to be merely descriptions of preconceived states, then conception, especially immaculate ones , will exemplify more then vestiges of the rape of europa, by a bull.

When a so called personal god may not induce fear as it is nominally derived, within and without It's own cognitive recognition and understanding, then a new language of love may sprout from the tree of knowledge, as to partake as a branch, rather as the whole tree. The fear of becoming Jesus may not totally consume our Buddha nature.


god forgive me for staring back into your depth!
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:50 pm

From THE DINNER TABLE web page

Certain scientists believe that quantum mechanics suggests that nothing is inherently “unstable,” that it’s possible for little bubbles of space-time (something) to form spontaneously (out of nothing), and that if a thing is not forbidden by the laws of quantum physics, it is guaranteed to happen. Therefore, say quantum physicists, the arising of “something” was inevitable. I’ll file this whole paragraph in the Whatever the Fuck That Means cabinet.


Bingo.

Yes, you have to admire those -- scientists, philosophers, the rest of us -- who are willing to consider a question like this important enough to pursue. To take it seriously. To ponder how all the other stuff that they do have answers for fits into all the stuff they don't really have a clue regarding.

Especially stuff that, try as you might, you can never really completely wrap your head around. Stuff that leaves you sputtering and muttering in exasperation.

How does everything fit together in a world where there may or may not be a way of understanding the relationship between nothing and somethings and "I".

And that's before we get to the argument over whether we should just leave it all up to God; or to concentrate more fully on all the problems that need to be tended to out in a world that we are almost certain does in fact exist.

Others, like Joel Achenbach, believe that there’s no such thing as nothing in the first place. He explains:

Seems to me that “nothing,” for all its simplicity and symmetry and lack of arbitrariness, is nonetheless an entirely imaginary state, or condition, and we can say with confidence that it has never existed. “Nothing” is dreamed up in the world of something, in the brains of philosophers etc. on a little blue planet orbiting an ordinary yellow star in a certain spiral galaxy.

I don’t quite get Achenbach’s logic. Why does there have to be a physical world at all? Why is a physical world an automatic thing? But then…if there weren’t a physical world—ever—then what, there’s just fucking nothing at all?


And around and around and around we ever seem destined to go here. Not only that, but we don't really know for sure if it's only the nature we know in the something we know that is compelling us to go around and around and around.

At least until the day we die.

Then what?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Fri Jul 26, 2019 8:33 pm

"The Fundamental Question"
Arthur Witherall

Many philosophers have expressed a feeling of awe when they come to address what Martin Heidegger has called the fundamental question of metaphysics: "why is there something instead of nothing?". Some have attempted to answer the question, and in finding an answer, their feeling could be diminished, or otherwise transformed into a kind of religious awe.


It's always tricky to go here. Many have grappled with the question of something instead of nothing. And some always find themselves coming back to God over and over again. Why? Because that is one possible explanation. And, with God, you don't have to delve much more beyond it because the existence of God itself is contained in His mysterious ways. We can't grasp them. So we move on to that which we are able to ponder: the something that He created.

But even some who reject God [like me..."here and now"] find themselves stumbling over into the part about "awe". We don't call it a religious awe, but the question of something instead of nothing is so mind-boggling, so inextricably ineffable, it becomes the next best thing.

In, for example, considering what becomes of "I" after death. The mystery of existence qua existence allows at least a sliver of hope that it's not just nothing at all, oblivion, the abyss, star stuff. Or, rather, that's how it "works" for me.

Others have dismissed the question as meaningless or at least unanswerable and hence feel nothing special when they address it. Ludwig Wittgenstein's response is a complex one, for he both rejects the verbal expression of awe as a piece of nonsense, but insists that the feeling itself has an absolute significance. He connects it with the nonsense of ethics, which he says "...is a document of a tendency in the human mind which I personally cannot help respecting and would not for my life ridicule it".


Bingo. The perfect reaction perhaps. To ponder all of this as an infinitesimally small and insignificant mere mortal on an infinitesimally small and insignificant planet in an infinitesimally small and insignificant solar system in the vastness of "all there is" -- the multiverse? -- does seem nonsensical. But the fact that beings actually do exist able to ponder it seems remarkable enough to lend it at least some significance.

And then we get hopelessly stuck again.

Well, not counting I've-already-figured-it-all-out objectivists here of course. :wink:
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby promethean75 » Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:16 am

Many philosophers have expressed a feeling of awe when they come to address what Martin Heidegger has called the fundamental question of metaphysics: "why is there something instead of nothing?". Some have attempted to answer the question, and in finding an answer, their feeling could be diminished, or otherwise transformed into a kind of religious awe.


bro. that's not even a real question. fuckin' german metaphysicists. all you gotta do is look at the way the word 'nothing' is used ordinarily and without abstraction, and you'll see that the question 'why something rather than nothing' isn't the kind of question you can ask about the nature of all that exists (the universe or whatever).

in the strictest sense, and ontologically speaking, 'nothing' never means 'absence'; we open a cupboard and when noticing it's empty, we say 'there's nothing in the cupboard'. but there most certainly is something in the cupboard... just not the box of triscuits you were looking for.

your friend calls and asks what's up. you say 'i'm doing nothing'. impossible. you're always doing something.

freddie mercury says 'nothing reeeely maaaters, anyone can see....', but here he's referring to values, not the nature of the things valued or not.

'there's nothing we can do about it'. we've all heard that before. but that's impossible too. abstaining from action is an action itself.

seriously, give me any example of a statement in which that word is used and i'll show you how through creating an improper analogy with it, a philosopher will come along and ask something stupid like 'why something rather than nothing.'

what's happening here is we take the meaning of the word 'nothing' out of an otherwise ordinary context - 'nothing is there' , when we expect something to be in place x - and then imagine that it would be possible for the entire universe to be missing.

the reason why there is something rather than nothing is not a matter of there being the logical possibility of there being nothing, and instead there just happened to be something. there can't be nothing, but that's not 'why', not the reason, there is something. there is no reason for there being something, so to ask 'why' there is, is idiotic.

jesus did martin write a whole book about this pseudo-problem? thanks for the heads-up. i'll be sure not to read it.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jul 29, 2019 8:34 pm

Maybe.

But the words that we are exchanging in this forum on this planet in this solar system in this galaxy in this universe appear to be a part of something linked to whatever it means to speak of something going all the way back to the existence of existence itself out of or not out of nothing at all.

And all of this is somehow intertwined in, among other things, the something that is Martin and Adolph and genocide of the Jews. And not all that long ago if we go back to the Big Bang.

And then speculating as to why and how that came to be something instead of something else.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Thu Aug 01, 2019 5:22 pm

"The Fundamental Question"
Arthur Witherall

There are many possible answers to the question, ranging from attempts to dissolve it to rationalist explanations of the world as a whole. Their variety helps to illuminate the conditions under which a feeling of awe is appropriate. Much depends upon how the problem is interpreted, and what is thought to be at stake. For example, an anti-metaphysical positivist response would dissolve the question as meaningless, and hence implicitly suggest that any feeling of awe here is irrational and inappropriate.


To be awed or not to be awed? That is the question. And, as always, "I" am down in my hole, fractured and fragmented.

It seems rather certain the "I" that I have come to embody here and now will tumble over into the abyss that is nothingness before there is an answer to this question able to tackle it once and for all.

So, for all practical purposes, it might just as well all be meaningless. Only I have managed to think myself into believing that the answer to the question "why is there something -- this something -- instead of nothing at all?" -- is somehow linked to the answer to the question, "what happens after 'I' die"?

It's just a teeny tiny sliver of hope but, in the interim, what else is there? In other words, unless and until others can convince me of another possibility. God or otherwise.

That is clearly "what is at stake" here. For all of us eventually. And this is merely how "I" -- existentially -- have come to "interpret the problem" as dasein.

Ever and always assuming that, sure,"I" am going about it all wrong. Then back to what others are actually able to demonstrate to me as a more reasonable, more hopeful frame of mind.

Heidegger, on the other hand, claims that philosophy itself is at stake:

To philosophize is to ask "Why are there essents rather than nothing?" Really to ask this question signifies: a daring attempt to fathom this unfathomable question by disclosing what it summons us to ask, to push our questioning to the very end. Where such an attempt occurs there is philosophy.


So, "what on earth" does that mean? It's a typical "general description" of the problem that, on the other hand, all serious philosophers come too, probe more or less "daringly" over the course of their own lives, die, and then punt it on to the next generation of more or less didactic scholars.

But don't get me wrong: What else is there?

Until science, using its own methods, is able to offer up more substantive evidence one way or another, philosophers are left basically to explore it all "metaphysically" in a world of words.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:27 pm

"The Fundamental Question"
Arthur Witherall

The attitudes of Heidegger and the positivists may be contrasted with the work of those like Nicholas Rescher, Robert Nozick and John Leslie, who have constructed elaborate theories that actually answer the question straightforwardly. They do not leave the question in the realm of the mysterious and terrible, but make use of traditional explanatory mechanisms such as universal laws (Rescher), probabilities (Nozick) and teleology (Leslie). I will discuss their arguments in what follows, but my main concern is not the question of their success or failure in explaining the existence of the world. My focus is on the question of whether their explanations have succeeded in eliminating the awe that accompanies the fundamental question itself, or have themselves given expression to it in some other form.


Existentially, given the manner in which my own thoughts and feelings regarding "the fundamental question" have evolved over the course of my lived life, the feeling of awe continues to accelerate.

Which is only to point out the obvious: that, the more I think about it, the less certain I am that any answer at all can possibly make sense. Let alone encompass the most rational manner in which to make sense of it.

It seems to be the very embodiment of antinomy itself.

Either that or embedded somehow in my own psychological reaction to death, to oblivion. The awe being all that I have left to cling to.

All I know is that I felt considerably less awe toward God in my Christian years than I feel today in grappling with the mystery embedded in the very existence of existence itself.

Sure, philosophers with their, at times, preposterously ponderous intellectual contraptions can attempt to lessen the awe in asserting this or that about "universal laws", "probabilities" and "teleology". And all these hopelessly didactic -- pedantic? -- assessments need but do is to work for them. Reality is pinned down "in their head". The end. Over and out.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:30 pm

Here is yet another assessment of the fact that there are still so many "unknown unknowns" that we are not yet privy to in regard to that which we call "something":


https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/ ... 4957d7ec35
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:03 pm

"The Fundamental Question"
Arthur Witherall

In this paper I will argue that a feeling of awe at the existence of something rather than nothing is appropriate and desirable.


No, in my view, one can only argue that...

1] "In my own opinion
2] here and now
3] certain individuals are predisposed existentially to find that something rather than nothing is appropriate and desirable"

And that's crucial because then we avoid altogether the discussion of whether one is obligated to feel this way as a rational human being.

Unless of course someone actually can demonstrate that this is in fact the case.

After all, if your life is awash in all manner of pain and suffering, the last thing you might feel about something -- about anything -- is how appropriate and desirable it is.

By this I mean psychologically appropriate and desirable, given our normal understanding of the meaning of the "why" question.


And yet it is no less human psychology that is shaped and molded by a particular aggregation of genes and memes. And "why" what pertaining to what particular set of circumstances?

I shall not construct an answer to the question, nor even a complete taxonomy of answers, but this does not mean that I regard the question as being something completely beyond our comprehension. Even if it is impossible to supply an answer, the fact that we respond to it means that something, however odd or inexplicable, has been understood.


Right, until it actually comes time to communicate with others what this "something" is. When that unfolds and the answers don't coincide there is a tendency [among objectivists in particular] to be convinced that their own answer comes closest to the optimal explanation.

All the more reason [for some] to avoid providing any answer at all.

As long as we feel something about this issue, there must be a serious problem of explanation or a profound mystery which exercises the mind. If the question arouses nothing at all, no awe, no anxiety, no bewilderment or surprise, then we must hold a kind of positivist position which claims that the question is a piece of nonsense, and thus denies that any feeling of wonder at the existence of the world is needed. I will argue that this position is inadequate.


Again, from my frame of mind, individuals react to the question based on the variables in their lives that predispose them to consider it as more or less important.

Only then do those it does intrigue come around to pondering whether "philosophically" it is worth pursuing more substantively.

But:

How on earth can anyone actually demonstrate that the question itself is a "piece of nonsense"? That sort of thinking would seem to be more nonsensical to me.

It's a question that our brains are in fact able to ask. And assuming some measure of autonomy, who is to say what is nonsense in attempting to answer it.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby surreptitious75 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:17 pm

iambiguous wrote:
surreptitious75 wrote:
The inevitability of our extinction means that no knowledge can ever be acquired after the event in question

Our extinction however is just another component of somethingness that we can speculate endlessly about but are not able to pin down definitively

The specifics might be unknown but they are actually irrelevant because death is simply a universal feature of Existence
Everything dies as the Second Law Of Thermodynamics has an absolutely one hundred per cent record in respect of this

Existence is a state of being rather than a physical thing as such so it cannot die but everything else does
So the future is not always a blank slate as some things will definitely happen regardless of anything else

My own death for example is an absolute certainty - there is no way I will achieve immortality as this mind in this body
It is therefore not speculation to make a claim about a future event that will definitely happen but actually has yet to

You accuse me of being an objectivist but from my own perspective you are being even more so in refusing any truth statements at all about the future
And therefore can your objectivist mindset accept as inevitable that you are going to die - that the Sun is going to die - that the Universe is going to die
Entropy is a feature of any system and when there is insufficient energy to do any more work then every thing within that system - including itself - dies

This is not a religious or philosophical truth but a scientific one and one that is therefore relatively easy to demonstrate :

After the Sun has reached a state of maximum entropy - another five billion years - life on Earth will become extinct from that point on
Even if some of our descendants actually manage to colonise another world that will be merely delaying the inevitable - no more no less

So regardless of what your objectivist mind thinks of these words of mine the Second Law Of Thermodynamics will go on slowly destroying life like it always has

My own mind which is a combination of subjectivist and objectivist - like all functioning minds including yours - sees death as just a point on the spectrum of Existence
Even after I die I will still exist in some form as something will always exist in some form or another - though by then it will not matter and it doesnt really matter now
A MIND IS LIKE A PARACHUTE : IT DOES NOT WORK UNLESS IT IS OPEN
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