Thursday, September 8, 2016
(H1) Weekly Essay 2: The Formless Void, Given Form
I've heard/seen many conversations/posts in the past week about what "nothing" is, and how the universe sprung from it. During one of our peripatetic walks, we tried to discuss this concept and found it quite difficult to even fathom, and I think that there is a reason for this. In my biology class last year we did an experiment that involved drawing a dot on a piece of paper and staring at it, holding the paper out farther and farther until the point disappeared into the blind spot everybody has somewhere on their eye. What took the dot's place was not some kind of empty void; rather, our minds tricked themselves into filling in the blank space with the pattern of the paper around it. I believe that our mind's cannot process the concept of literally nothing because "nothing" can never exist. Scientists and philosophers alike ponder endlessly over the question of how something sprung from nothing in the beginning of time, but rarely seem to consider the possibility that there never was a nothing. There is a theory that models this idea somewhat. It states that the universe is constantly in a cycle of expansion and contraction, creation and destruction, that each big bang ends in a big crunch and everything begins anew. Who's to say that this cycle ever had a beginning, and likewise will ever end? If not, then the idea of complete nonexistence is a scientific impossibility. Even established scientific laws support this claim. Matter cannot be created or destroyed, and if the universe is eternal then everything is recycled, and nothing was ever created because there was no "nothing" in the beginning; nor even a beginning at all, not as we know it. But if you think about it, we don't even need scientific theories to explain this to ourselves. If nonexistence truly is possible, then how do we even have a definition for the word itself? When you give meaning to nothing, when you quantify it as the 0 point of the measurement of matter and energy in the universe, it ceases to be nothing. It becomes at the very least an idea, something that you can grab onto and anchor to our reality. True nothingness is beyond the scope of human understanding because it cannot coexist with reality, and we will never know what is possible beyond the paradoxically infinite confines of our own universe.