It is contrary to reasoning to say that there is a vacuum or space in
which there is absolutely nothing.
— Descartes

The concept of Nothing is something that we live with every day, but
never really think about. What is Nothing? When I ask you what you have
in your pocket, you might reply, "Nothing." I ask you how many you
have, you say, "none." We understand each other. You have no money,
papers, Kleenex, etc.

But what if I really thought there was "Nothing" somewhere in the
universe, I’d have to ask: Is it really "Nothing?" Isn’t "Nothing" sort
of Something? Isn’t at least the concept that you and I have of what
"Nothing" is, Something? Isn’t a vacuum at least something?

"What is inside the box?" I ask.

"A vacuum."




"What is a box, what part of the box is actually inside the box? At
what point does the box start being a container instead of a box, the
very last layer of molecules that is exposed to the vacuum, or the
outer layer? If it’s the outer layer, then the box is inside the box."

"Somebody get that kid outa here."

Five things are certainly not nothing. They are states, places,
concepts and brain teasers. They are not matter certainly, but not
nothing either.

So, there must be something that we share, a common conception of
what "Nothing" is in any given circumstance. Nothing really takes on
the definition of what the two parties intended. Nothing must be a
fluid thing indeed. It fills our container with something to
understand. It springs into existence when we need it to take shape,
and vanishes ever more quickly when we dismiss it. It matches our
needs, our understanding, our wishes. It is our servant becoming
whatever we need it to be: Something.

So if the concept of nothing depends on the conceptions of those
involved, how might we define absolute nothing, because the absence of
anything really is sort of something, if only a concept.

If there was a big bang, and before the universe existed, there was no time, no space, what was there.

"Nothing," you reply.

Everyone is of course hard pressed to come up with common
understanding of what sort of nothing, the Nothing that existed before
the big bang was… or wasn’t.

Starting to sound like A.A. Milne, aren’t I?

If no two people have a similar concept of what this sort of nothing
is, then how can they come to an understanding. It’s like asking that
kid again what’s in his pocket.

He replies with a smirk, "Lint, air… what actually is a pocket…"

Obviously you realize what I meant when I asked you the question. Of
course there was a misconception of what I was asking. I wanted to know
if he had anything of value in his pocket. The kid wanted to let me
know that his definition of "Nothing" was superior to mine, more exact,
more his master than mine. He had the Nothing working harder for him
than I did. My Nothing was lazy, ill conceived. His was sharp, exact.

But how can we be exact about the Nothing that existed before the universe?

Our definitions break down, nothing seems to be a concept that none
of us can understand at this point. It has no common focus for us.

So we call it God.

God is nothing?

Now, what do you have in your pocket, smart ass?