Why something and not nothing?

The simple answer is, why not? There is no reason to think a state of nothing is more natural a state than there being something. Besides which if there ever a time there was nothing at all, there would still be nothing at all. You can’t get something from nothing.

So the default seems to be existence.

Can nothing exist even as a state? No. Nothing is not a state. It does not and cannot exist by definition. Therefore the state of existence is the default state. We exist which means there has always been something. Had nothing existed the question would not be possible.

It is a difficult idea to talk about with current language. How can we even make sense of saying if there were ever a time that there was nothing? Of course if there were nothing there would be no time. The question is in a literal sense meaningless.

We may ask will it always exist? There is always the possibility that at some point nothing will exit at all. But if that is the case, nothing will exist again.

The answer is: there just is something and always has been. We may argue about what, but we cannot argue the fact that there always has to have been something. What, at this point, is almost irrelevant to the specific query.

It is not as if at some point nothingness decided to become something. So there can be no starting point, no anthropomorphic reason for existence to come in to being. It just always has been. There is no alternative.

We may ask specifically why we as humans came into being and we may argue about that. But not about the fact that something has always existed.

Now those who know my writing know that I am fond of the laws of conservation. Energy/mass cannot be created or destroyed. So the obvious candidate for the source of all this, that which always was and likely always will be in one form or other is energy/mass. Even if that energy/mass is in a state of potential.

The laws that govern energy/mass are the reason we humans exist. Some would ask where such laws come from. But again this is an almost meaningless question because the laws are not laws, they are the nature of the source. The limitations on how things can react with each other is the reason for order. Without order/limitations the source itself could not exist.

All things are energy/mass in different configurations and transformations. Humans are no exception. We are perhaps special among biological creatures because we can think about how the universe really works and actually have a chance of finding out. But we exist because through cause and effect according to the nature of energy/mass we were inevitable.

It is no good to try to lay odds on how improbable existence is because it is a certainty. We do exist. To speculate and say if we started the universe again would it produce life again is meaningless. We cannot run the universe back. We cannot start it over. We do not even know for a fact that there was a beginning to this universe.

This question of why something instead of nothing is what has spawned a scientific debate called the anthropomorphic principal. To me this is clearly a non-starter that stems from the misconception that it takes more work for something to exist than it does for nothing to exist. Also and more to the point that the universe is set up to fit our existence.

But clearly the idea that nothing ever existed as a state that something can emerge from is an absurdity and highly illogical. It is also far more logical to conclude that we fit the universe because it produced it, not the other way around.

My conclusion is that existence is the default. There can be no reason for there being something if there was always something; and there can never have been nothing at all or there would still be nothing at all.

This essay should be considered an add-on to the first essay I did for Hub Pages called: Observer driven reality check. I may add to it at a future time.

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8 comments

Alouroua profile image

Alouroua 5 years ago

A perceptive viewpoint, however the question you answered isn't quite the same as the one you asked. You use existence itself as a reference point to show that something has always existed, which makes sense. However the question isn't whether something has always existed, it is why something has always existed.


lone77star profile image

lone77star 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Slarty, I'm quite fond of E=mc^2, but that's only part of the picture.

Outside of space-time there is source of creation. Notice this is not "before" space-time.

If time were a line, the source of creation would be perpendicular to it; source would not be in that line.

Energy-mass exists because source allowed it -- a very specific quantity of it.

In a video game, each "object" appears solid because it is programmed not to co-exist in the same space.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada Author

alouroua

Good comment. I don't think there can be a reason for something to exist if something has always existed, if you get my meaning. I think there is no why in this case. No reason because there is not a point which something comes in to existence. It just exists. A why would precede, I think. And since existence in one way or another always has been there can be no before.

I guess it is better put like this: Existence is not an effect or a cause, Not even first cause. It is the source. An effect or cause has a why or reason attached to it. But the ultimate source can't.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada Author

Lone77star

The only thing we seem to disagree on is the idea that the source is something other than energy itself. That may be but it is speculative.

Of course you also see the source as conscious and separate, like the christian god. I think in fact you do believe in the christian god.

That too is speculation. I am trying to deal only with what we can know as it stands without the speculative add-ons.

But as always your view point is welcome. ;)


lone77star profile image

lone77star 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Slarty, thanks.

You most frequently include a very logical approach to things. I like that. But aren't you speculating that the "source" is "energy?"

What put the energy there? Energy is "physical."

And what put space and time there? Are these necessarily a given; i.e. was there "no source?"

About my beliefs, you can stop speculating. I gladly clarify that I believe in the Judeo-Christian God. But I have to clarify: I'm still learning who and what that is. I'm speculating, but I'm fairly certain, that I don't believe in the Judeo-Christian God that you "see" from the literature.

You open up a very deep subject, "something" and "nothing," and I doubt seriously you can talk about this without at least some speculation. There remain too many unknowns.

There seems to be a difference between "knowing" and "believing." This seems to be the same difference between "faith" and "belief." Belief can be wrong; most of the time it is. That's why it troubles me that so many "believers" are not more humble (including me!). It's tough. They think they are in a state of "know," but it's really only "belief." Telling the difference is difficult. And many of the things I once thought I "knew" were merely only imperfect "beliefs." I'm still learning.

But "faith" and "knowing" are not arrogance, as some have claimed. Yet, not many who claim such "faith" really have it. They have stopped short of it. They have blinded themselves by their belief that they have arrived.

I have reached this state of "faith" or "knowing" only a handful of times this lifetime. How do I know this? Things happen when you "click" into this state. Frustration turns in to calm. Outrage turns into love and forgiveness. And miracles happen -- the laws of physical reality are laid bare for direct manipulation.

This is not speculation. Been there, done that. But I would be speculating on the purity of such actions. I don't know how much ego has tainted each of my "miracles." That's one very important reason why I'm hesitant to explore this until I feel the time is right. There is so much more to learn.

When one achieves this state, the ability to create "something" from "nothing" becomes active.

But I'm more interested in Enlightenment -- spiritual awakening and the knowledge that comes with it.

And thanks, Slarty, for creating some very powerful discussions.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada Author

Am I speculating about energy itself being the source? yes. But it is a logical model considering the facts. We know energy exists and hat we and all things are made of it.

Do I believe it? No. It is a fact. But are there things we don't know? Of course.

So as I said, I try to deal with what we know now and observe and speculate around that.

No good asking what created energy as it is so far not creditable as per the laws of thermodynamics. It is thus far the most likely candidate for that which always was.

What created god? I am saying energy is the source as far as we know right now. Anything else is speculation not based on facts. That's the difference.


Bryon Ehlmann profile image

Bryon Ehlmann 2 years ago from Tallahassee, Florida

Response to Slarty O'Brian:

Based on your hub, I believe the answer you should have given to Alourous on "why something has always existed" is your view that nothing "does not and cannot exist by definition."

However, while I agree with you that sheer nothingness "cannot exist," I don't think you can just claim this "by definition." You don't provide any support for this claim. You simply ask if it can exist as a state and then say it's not a state, so it can't exist. Frankly, this proves nothing about nothing! :-) Moreover, you later contradict this claim when you state "There is always the possibility that at some point nothing will exit [sic exist] at all." I don't think this is true.

Your statement, just quoted, also contradicts your following argument that nothing can't exist:

"How can we even make sense of saying if there were ever a time that there was nothing? Of course if there were nothing there would be no time. The question is in a literal sense meaningless."

Yes, the question "Was there ever a time that there was nothing?" is meaningless because nothingness is timeless. However, simply asking a meaningless question about nothing does not make nothing impossible.

Now, I can easily forgive you for your flaws in argument, as I perceive them, because I completely agree with you on one thing: nothingness " is a difficult idea to talk about with current language."


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 2 years ago from Canada Author

"However, while I agree with you that sheer nothingness "cannot exist," I don't think you can just claim this "by definition."

Well of course I can. ;) What I am saying is that "sheer" nothingness is the absence of existence. It is the absence of all things bar none, so it can not exist by definition.

That said there has to be a word for such an anti-state so to speak, in order to talk about it. So thanks for forgiving my inability to convey exactly what I mean in terms that do not make nothing sound like it is something.

But I don't think I did that by saying there may yet be a point when nothing at all exists. All that means is that there may be a point, not in time of course, when no thing exists. In other words, when there is no existence.

That does not mean nothing itself exists, if you catch my meaning.

I also agree that I do not see that scenario as likely, but one can't rule it out completely.

"Yes, the question "Was there ever a time that there was nothing?" is meaningless because nothingness is timeless. However, simply asking a meaningless question about nothing does not make nothing impossible."

No, asking the question doesn't prove anything, but if one thinks about the question it should show us that a timeless nothingness can not have been, and by that I don't mean existed, before something existed. Logic clearly tells us that you really can't get something from nothing at all. So if there were a timeless nothingness pre-time/space, singularity, etc, we would not exist now.

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