We often use nothing in reference to something, as in “Bobby’s gift means nothing to me.” We might use it to refer to something that no longer exists, such as, “Nothing remained of Hooterville after the tornado.” We think of it representing something that should be there, but isn’t as in, “The room contained nothing.” If you are explaining how to do a task to somebody you might say, “There’s nothing to it.”
Nothing is represented in mathematics as zero, where it performs in ways that puzzle pupils in school. 6+0=6; 6-0=6; 6X0=0; 6/0=0. These don’t even account for negative numbers, which are less than nothing.
What are we to make of the common idiom, “Nothing comes easy”?
Nothing is quite a concept…or is it? Nothing can be the same as “no thing”. If there is no thing, that means it doesn’t exist, doesn’t it? Is nothing the denial of concepts? We might have a mental concept of a phone but do we have a mental concept of no phone?
In its most literal form or non-form, nothing is not light or dark. It’s not hot or cold. Nothing isn’t a vacuum. Nothing has zero characteristics. Nothing does not exist. Nothing is only useful as a concept when compared to something actual. Strictly speaking, nothing is a word. Nothing is a tool of cognition. Although nothing doesn’t exist, nothing can be useful.
You sit in a quiet place and ponder what or who you are if you mentally subtract all the things you are. Take away your political and religious affiliations; your nationality; your place of residence; your gender; your race; your sexual orientation; subtract your job title; your body’s physical description; your name; your age; your relationship to others; your preferences of food, drink, art, music, sports teams; and so forth. Nothingness is what remains.
Seriously, try out this exercise as a form of contemplation or meditation. What or what do you not experience? This nothingness is not a goal to attain. It is a tool to use for exploration of freedom.
So, is nothing really something?