The importance of nothing

“Nothin from nothin leaves nothin. You gotta have somethin, if you wanna be with me.”
Billy Preston (The 5th Beatle)

This is a column about absolutely nothing. Well, not exactly nothing. Nothing in terms of what the heck am I going to write about today and will my fans (all four of you) be pissed off if I write about absolutely nothing?

This prompted me to write about something. Exactly what though? I don’t know. I do recall however that Seinfeld was a television show that was on the air for a gazillion years and it was about nothing. Nothing is no thing, meaning, the absence of something.
One of the earliest western philosophers to consider nothing as a concept was a guy named Parmenides, a 5th century Greek philosopher. He argued that “nothing” cannot exist for the following reason: to speak of a thing, one has to speak of a thing that exists.

The understanding of ‘nothing’ varies widely between cultures, especially between Western and Eastern cultures and philosophical traditions. For instance, Śūnyatā which means “emptiness” is unlike “nothingness”, considered to be a state of mind in some forms of Buddhism. Achieving “nothing” as a state of mind in this belief allows one to be totally focused on a thought or activity at a level of intensity that they would not be able to achieve if they were consciously thinking. Perfect example – athletes.

Some might argue that “nothing” is a concept, and since concepts are things, the concept of “nothing” itself is a thing. I remember asking my kids when they were young “What are you doing?” and they’d say “Nothing!” (In two-part harmony.)

Nothing was worse than asking my husband where are you? And he’d say “No where!”
What are you doing? “Nothing.”
Who were you with? “No one.”
When will you be back? “Not sure.”

Hmmm. This article is probably going nowhere. Any who, getting back to the subject. Some days are nothing days. Some days are full of nothing. On those nothing days when you’re asked “How was your day?” You look at the announcer and say “Nothing happened I want to talk about.” Wow, that was a mouthful, don’t you agree?”




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