: Since this is the second article, you will begin to find links to other articles, as they are written, at the bottom of the page. While I will create them in an order that suits me, there is no imperative reason that you should read them in that order. It is possible that you will get something wonderful and unforeseen out of them, if you read them all higgledy-piggledy. Of course, you will get out of them whatever you get out of them in any case, and notwithstanding the nature of my ability to foresee such things.
"Music is the space between the notes
" ~ Claude Debussy
- an event that has no cause,
or an event that has no effect,
or an event that has neither a cause nor an effect
(See: Part I - Cause, Effect and Nonsense - Definition of Terms and Statement of Purpose
for further details)
The examinable universe appears to be a highly complex and non-linear system of causal chains. It also seems intrinsically true that everything could not have sprung from nothing. If this 'truth' is accepted, it only makes sense that all causes were effects. It is also not possible to detect an effect that has no further effect, since detection itself is an effect. Therefore, it appears there is no end in sight. That is, unless there is some nonsense in the mix.
To illustrate, let us consider a brief dialogue between an atheist and a theist about the origin of the universe (keeping in mind that the atheist isn't a cosmologist and the theist isn't a Tibetan Buddhist - just to be clear - and that they both can keep their emotions in check.)
Theist: God created the Big Bang.
Atheist: What evidence is there for that assertion?
Theist: Something can't come from nothing!
Atheist: Then where did your god come from?
Theist: God is eternal!
Notice how the atheist does not directly attack the 'evidence' given by the theist? Instead, he points out that the theist is stuck with a similar conundrum. Indeed, if the atheist accepts some form of Big Bang theory he does not have the 'steady state' card in his hand that the theist pulls out to defend his god's existence.
However, the 'steady state' card seems a bit of a fudge as well, especially in light of the fact that it was the theist who averred that something can't just spring from nothing.
And, while there are a number of cosmological variations that try to get around the steady state that incorporate the Big Bang just as this theist does; including the multi-verse hypotheses (parallel universes, alternative universes, quantum universes, inter-penetrating dimensions, parallel worlds, alternative realities, alternative timelines, etc.), the Big Crunch, time-loops, as well as a whole series of further dimensions; ultimately, eternity comes into it somewhere.
However, the idea that existence 'is, was, and always shall be' gets into a sticky mess based on the infinite scale of it all. In an eternal universe, even the fourteen and some billion years since the Big Bang wouldn't amount to a fleas fart in duration. Effectively, within the context of an eternity of time, fourteen billion years amounts to nothing at all. Nonsense suddenly doesn't sound much sillier than that.
says the clever cosmologist simultaneously with the Tibetan Buddhist. Time is an illusion. Eternity is not an infinite amount of time, it is no time at all!
But, come to think about it, they are either spouting nonsense, or have just reduced everything to nothing all over again. And this is where a different Aha! moment
comes into focus.
Let us look at the third definition of nonsense. This is nonsense in its purest form. It has neither a cause nor any effect. Sounds a bit like nothing at all. And, indeed, that is exactly what it is: nothing at all.
Well then, nothing it isn't anything, so it does not exist. What significance can it possibly have?
Alright, let's take a good look at nothing.
As we can clearly see (or, more precisely, clearly can't see) nothing is perfect. It is symmetrical no matter how you slice it. It has no apparent cause and no visible effect. Therefore, it cannot be explained. It has no weight, no mass, no form, and no temperature. It takes up no space and yet the universe appears to be full of it. It is everywhere and nowhere. It is unaffected by time. It can neither be created nor destroyed. It is complete and utter nonsense. And yet, we refer to it all the time. Apparently, despite all hard evidence to the contrary, a powerful, albeit circumstantial, case can be made to support the assertion that nothing exists
Be careful before you to readily jump to the conclusion that this is just plain
nonsense. This is pure
nonsense! And it is rather significant as well. Consider how much of our experience requires pure nonsense to be experienced at all. For example - let us take a look at a few things that are made entirely of nothing: darkness, cold, silence, vacuum, and stillness.
All of these things are, effectively, not there. They do not exist. They are the absence of something else. Darkness is the absence of light, cold is the absence of heat, silence is the absence of sound, vacuum is the absence of ... well anything, and stillness is the absence of motion.
It is easiest to argue the significance of darkness in terms of our experience. However, the general principle, better known as contrast
, is the same for all of them. You see, without contrast, we can have no experience of reality. And, without experience, existence is a moot proposition. That is to say, even if a tree makes a sound in a forest where there is nothing that can hear it - who cares? It makes no difference to anything? It is a cause without effect. (But I fear I am digressing into further nonsense.)
If there were no darkness at all, there would be one even blanket of light over everything and we would be as blind as if there were no light at all. Granted, some sight would be possible, if you could argue that color contrast could still exist. However, that would be a fallacy. You see, color is also the result of partial darkness - just in a different way than tint and shade. Color is a lack of every part of the visible spectrum except those frequencies that register as that particular color. So even color relies on darkness to exist.
Is it cold in here, or am I just getting warmed up?
Part I - Cause, Effect and Nonsense - Definition of Terms and Statement of Purpose