NOTHING: The Science of Emptiness

SPOILER ALERT:  In scientific terms, there’s no such thing as nothing or even emptiness as an absolute condition.

This discussion explores the outer limits of “nothing” and its various historical and scientific definitions, from ‘absolute nothing’ to relative forms of ‘nothing’ that have various structures, forces, and characteristics. They discuss, In particular, the quantum vacuum that causes the expansion of the universe, which has several forces and characteristics, and is comprised of what we now call “dark energy”. Moreover, so-called “empty space” is a roiling soup of quark and anti-quark pairs, and Higgs-Boson fields, that fill all of space. If there is such a thing as ‘absolute nothingness’ or ‘absolute emptiness’, (and they doubt the possibility) it is so unstable that it is instantly and spontaneously filled in with a host of actual and virtual particles.

The most interesting aspect of this discussion, for me, as that the Hindu concept of shunyata or “zero”, and the Buddhist concept of emptiness is never even mentioned. The whole discussion of the history of “nothing” takes placed in the context of western philosophy and Judeo-Christian culture. That’s a loss to the richness of the historical debate, but it has no bearing on the scientific status of the concept, which is now that ‘absolute nothingness’ is not a possible state within our universe.

Moreover, these physicists, and others that I’ve heard on similar subjects, argue that our observations are not completely “mind created”, but that our senses and consciousness have the capacity to closely model a physical reality that really does exist “out there” independent of our subjective consciousness.

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