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Nothing Nowt Zero Nada

Updated on November 28, 2017
KSMcClintock profile image

Kevin was born in Stevenage New Town, UK in the summer of 1959, and graduated from Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge in 1980.


“Nor I nor any man that but man is
With nothing shall be pleased, till he be eased
With being nothing”

― Shakespeare, Richard II

“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.”

― Plato, The Republic

“We live in illusion and the appearance of things. There is a reality. We are that reality. When you understand this, you see that you are nothing, and being nothing, you are everything. That is all.”

― Buddha

How Much Nothing?

Here we appear to have at least three sorts of nothing (and you thought there was only one!). Well, perhaps there is only one nothing – a nothing in which all other nothings (and even some-things) are subsumed.

How far Shakespeare goes in exploring the nature of this substantially insubstantial in-substance I have yet to fully discover (in that undiscover'd country, from whose bourn no traveller returns?). But the word appears over and over again, not least in Richard II, who is plagued by usurpers and left with – yes, you guessed it – nothing.

For something (oh dear) so insubstantial, nothing has nevertheless caught the imagination of many philosophers over the ages, and typically caused no end (oh!) of controversy.

It has its place in mathematics and physics, revolutionising maths when its was finally recognised as a number, and popping up (how can nothing pop-up?) as the void, space and most intriguingly as quantum foam.

Really, the subject is far top complex for a bear of little brain, but fascinating none (urrgh!) the less.

Please see below some sources for further study of this paradoxical ‘ting.

Links to Nothing

Alan Watts discusses Nothing

8 Unsolvable Philosophical Questions - Solved!

The Annihilation of Nothing

Nothing remained: Nothing, the wanton name
That nightly I rehearsed till led away
To a dark sleep, or sleep that held one dream.

In this a huge contagious absence lay,
More space than space, over the cloud and slime,
Defined but by the encroachments of its sway.

Stripped to indifference at the turns of time,
Whose end I knew, I woke without desire,
And welcomed zero as a paradigm.

But now it breaks—images burst with fire
Into the quiet sphere where I have bided,
Showing the landscape holding yet entire:

The power that I envisaged, that presided
Ultimate in its abstract devastations,
Is merely change, the atoms it divided

Complete, in ignorance, new combinations.
Only an infinite finitude I see
In those peculiar lovely variations.

It is despair that nothing cannot be
Flares in the mind and leaves a smoky mark
Of dread.
Look upward. Neither firm nor free,

Purposeless matter hovers in the dark.



Nothing remains, when all is said and done;

so I’ll the empty mirror of the world,

a perfect O, a garland wreathe, sing feintly

praising all she leaves undone – cold sun of

Nothingness, blank harbinger of all the

oscillations of the vital sign, long

unflustered, lucid line of silence, non-

descript distinction, back you give us

all; you withhold nothing, giving without

taking from your store at all; and you

adore a vacuum, do not abhor

your lot… Be constant in your wanton way

Omphale, and with hollow vowels, I’ll rase

a locus from the wombstone of your praise!

NOTHING: The Science of Emptiness

Hitler Reacts to Atheists and Nothing

A markerNowhere -
get directions

Something or Nothing

Something or Nothing?

See results


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    • KSMcClintock profile image

      KevinStantonMcClintockMACantab 2 years ago from Stevenage, Herts, UK

      Terrex, I hope it still has ...

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

      Nothing has the potential to be more.

    • Terrex profile image

      Terrex 2 years ago

      This had the potential to be so much more...