The trouble with nothing

Mankind’s trust in systems of collective, evidence-based decision making has now become vital for the future of all life on earth, yet it is being lost, because people perceive that the systems are not allocating control over the exploitation of economic resources in accordance with their expectations. Authoritarian absolutism is rising up to fill the void.

All the systems of collective, evidence-based decision making utilise mathematics constructed out of nothing: one absolute nothing defined as the difference between two objects that are the same. The difference between one and one is nothing: one minus one is nothing. The difference between the two sides of a mathematical equation is nothing. Depending on individual belief, the universe arose spontaneously in a big bang out of nothing or was created out of nothing. Even nihilists believe in it absolutely.

Nothing is a construct of the mind. It possesses no physical properties through which it can interact with physical things and hence be detected. There is no physical evidence for its existence.

The trouble with nothing is that it is not the pure building block of any divine creator or of any blind watchmaker, but an invention of the human mind, and this invention does not behave itself. It privileges one side of a relationship over the other. It builds economic inequality, drives the degradation of the planet and facilitates the rise of authoritarian figures to power.

If we are to restore trust in collective, evidence-based decision making: to restore trust in democracy; then we must put nothing back in its bottle. This is no easy task. It is as slippery as an eel. Our entire language is constructed out of it. Consider the sentence “It is as slippery as an eel”. The “It” refers to “nothing”. “Nothing is as slippery as an eel” would normally be construed to mean that an eel is the most slippery thing known. But the preceding sentences mandate a different construction. The sentence is comparing the slipperiness of “nothing” with the slipperiness of an eel. It is asserting that they are the same. The difference between the slipperiness of nothing and the slipperiness of an eel is nothing. The sentence is self-referential: it describes nothing by reference to itself.

The difference between two objects that are the same is nothing. Nothing is the same as nothing. The difference between nothing and nothing is nothing.

The definition of nothing is self-referential. It is absolute. It stands aloof, like a god.

There is a way to put nothing back in its bottle, to tame it. This website seeks to teach how.