[Can a person imagine or conceive of ]"Nothing"[?]

Can a person imagine or conceive of “Nothing”? If you try to think about it doesn’t it become Something? Also, is “Nothing” unstable, thus creating the Universe?

I still have trouble wrapping my brain around the idea that the universe is overwhelmingly empty. I can’t remember the number but it’s like on average one atom exists within every few meters of space or something like that.

I know it’s true but it’s hard to conceptualize “nothing” in my mind.

Since this is more a philosophical question than a factual one, it’s better suited for GD than GQ. I have also edited the title to indicate the subject.

General Questions Moderator



You can’t assign properties like “unstable” to Nothing. But Nothing is not the opposite of Universe, if that’s what you meant. I mean, here I am, in the Universe, and I can hold Nothing in my head. But no new Universe pops into being in my head.

Not that I’ve noticed, anyway.

Of course not.
Nothing is Sacred.

Nothing is the contents of the empty set - that is, the stuff between the braces: {}. The empty set itself is indeed something, but it’s not the same as nothing: the set containing the empty set is { {} } (note the difference). One doesn’t become the other spontaneously.

Or at least it doesn’t in terms of set theory. I don’t know the rules regarding empty space-time continuums.

Is that you, Gahan?

If thinking of nothing automatically makes something does thinking of something automatically make nothing?

Would you folks please stop that? Every time one of you thinks of Nothing, a new universe pops into my bedroom closet. I’m running out of places to put them.

What are you thinking about when you think of “nothing?” I see the word “nothing,” which is certainly something. It is a representation of the concept of “nothing.”

Actually, that sounds like a pretty good description. (I mean, consider all the stuff around you: planets and people and seas and sand, anything, everything – what’s the conceptual opposite of that?)

I’ll give it a


You would be the one to know.

Nothing isn’t that hard. Trying to conceptualize the universe before time started, now that’s tricky.

I miss George Carlin.

Every sperm is.

I see black empty space. I guess I’m really thinking of “space” and not “nothing”.

Right. The trick is to conceptualize a void, not empty space. I don’t know if I’m doing it right, but I think I rather can. It helps when I try to do some physics thought experiments.

I also spent a summer trying to visualize things four-dimensionally. I got pretty good at seeing all sides of a model at once in my head.

Out of curiousity, what’s the difference between “space” and “nothing”?

To me, space has the ability to contain something. Nothing does not.