A hard thought to hold on to

Every so often, I think this thought, but going into it is like jumping on a trampoline - I sink in briefly, but am then boinged back into more normal thoughts. Here it is (no doubt many of you will have thought it too):

Imagine if no universe had ever existed, and that none would ever exist. Imagine this total and utter nothingness.

I’d be fascinated to read reports of how people feel about this.

That is memory, not imagination…we are incapable of imagining what you are trying to describe…even when i try…i can see blackness…blackness is more than nothing…

I’ll rephrase it to suit the human mind: imagine an infinite blackness through an infinite time in which nothing happens other than everything being black.

This may be being a jerk but: –

There would be no blackness, since color only accompanies bodies. (Plato)
And there would be no time without motion. (Aristotle)
Third, if your mind wasn’t human when you first thought of this it would be remarkable;
I think you’re making it more suitable for the human imagination.

But, yes, this is a strange thing to think about.
Only God would be left.

You’ve enlightened me :astonished:

Before there was a universe as we now perceive it, that nothingness was probably all there was. It would near meaningless to imagine how long it was that way before “things” began, as you could make the case that when there was nothing there was no time. And I guess even the idea that there was “nothing there” is probably wrong- there wasn’t even a there there.

I wonder if that utter lack of anything is what will remain after the Universe fizzles out? It may collapse in a Big Crunch or fly apart until it fades away, but it is fascinating to ponder what the cosmos will be like when it’s, um, not here anymore.

I can imagine this easily.

I just think back to before I was born, and whatever you remember from that time, thats how it will be if everything were utter nothingness.

The real object of the exercise is not simply to imagine nothingness, but to reflect on it, particularly the lack of any lifeforms. The idea that nothing had ever or would ever live is the source of the bleakness for me.

Yeah, basically Dr. Projectile summed it up pretty well. You ask us to describe something with very little inherent description. Nothingness is something. But it i sone ONE “something” — namely, “nothing”.

Nothing can only be described as “the total abscence of everything”.

…just my two cents anyways… :wink:

why does The Neverending Story come to mind? :wink:

well, in a direct response to how it made me feel, i felt at peace. most things are made of nothing anyway. matter is just a bunch of atoms and atoms are mostly vacuum. funny when you think about it. How no matter what it is. all living things are just as dead as dead things. all life really may be is the perception of atoms as whole. Then again, what is perception and what is whole? It’s sad that by being a super-philosopher in the end there is only the question. So maybe that’s all that really matters. Just a thought.

Either that or (as i believe) all dead things are just as alive as “living things”

Nothing is really dead, everything is life and life is everything atleast.

A pebble is alive, though not of its own volition, as is my foot.

Both my feet are indeed alive.

Its almost comical in a way that many of us think we are more alive than the inanimate whole. When infact the inanimate whole i.e. the non-organic universe is the ultimate example of life and our host.

There is nothing to reply to in your question. To say nothingness is beyond thought. You say bleakness, but even that requires thought, which requires a mind to form and project the concept. What you are suggesting is a void of energy, and without energy there isn’t even a question…


Good question

Also known as the “Why not nothing?” question.

Honestly, ask yourself, Why not nothing?

Well without something there would be no nothing. Picture a universe without something and nothing or a universe consisting of less than nothing. for example: You picture nothingness as black, right? Now attempt to imagine the same picture without even that blackness (Ow, my brain hurts). Now we’re cooking with fire …

Chimney Sweep wrote:

I have to say that this question is wrong, because mainly of the restrictions of language and the mind. Firstly you say, “if no universe had ever existed” the word “ever” suggests a time period, within which something occurs, thus this saying contradicts itself, because if their is nothing to be measure something by then, things would just “be”. (i’ll develop that later), Secondly you say “imagive this total and utter nothingness” this phrase brings in the concept of space, yet with your question, your trying to take the universe out of existence, and since all space is within the universe(s), says nothingness implies that it has confinds and an area which it is measured in or part of. This is another contradiction. Thus your question is flawed by human language and reason. I do understand what your trying to say, i’ve thought of this myself, yet the only answer that i find is, “2+2=4”, i was trying to feel how the answer could be 4, yet that is impossible, since it is not emotion and rather logic that makes 2+2=4. You cannot “feel” 4, it just “IS”. Thus the only thing that we can say is that the universe “is”, and since we already knew that, we arent’ saying much lol :wink:

Well, of all the people who’ve replied, only Rounder (and to lesser extents solus_animus and Murdoc) have got on the right wavelength. THE OBJECT OF THE EXERCISE IS TO CONFRONT THE BLEAK NOTION OF THE PERMENANT NON-EXISTENCE OF ALL LIFE! All the replies about what is and isn’t possible, the limits of the human mind, language, etc, etc, accurate and reasonable as they are, are missing the point.

To say nothingness and to describe it in reference to the given of existence is not unaccessible reasoning, but to contemplate nothingness is, indeed, beyond thought. The pre-socratics are right about this one - including a notion that describes the ‘void of existence’ into an ontological context is merely an abuse of language.

One can’t argue, though, that one ought to refrain from tackling the point. Should one feel it appropriate, let him rabbit on about nothingness for as long as he likes. I’ve done it a few times and it felt quite good. On the whole, man has been introducing abstract terminology to his field of reckoning ever since i could be pronounced without the slightest feel of remorse.

It needn’t be thought, though, that the ‘bleak notion of the permanent non-existence of all life!’ I found satisfactory. I was just showing off.

However, I have taken time and curled up the time line to a point where I didn’t exist, and honestly I admit hitting an emotional dead-end. It similar to trying to answer something like “How would you feel if a circle were square ?”

I’m still not sure what the point of this exercise is. If I want to feel bleakness of non-life, I can always stop in at the nearest bar… :wink: