There seems to be an assumption in, let’s say, metaphysics, that everything must have came from something, which makes sense for apparent reasons. A concept of nothing seems to be just a concept, since nobody has dealt with absolute Nothing. Infinitely regressing to the first “something,” or infinitely progressing to the last something, depending on how you look at it shows the uncertainty in if there is a first (or last), if it is indeed finite, infinite, or circular, according to conventional possibilities.
Infinite, Finite, or Circular?
If the stream of things coming from things is finite, then what is the first thing (some say it is God). If it is infinite, where does that lead us in terms of the stream and can it really be infinite? If it is circular, that is, everything depends on everything else, then how did that come about? These are very serious questions for the armchair-sitting, intensely-meditating, migraine-enduring philosopher.
Before I came across this idea this week, my brother and I were thinking about how the Tao can be empty but still be the “master of all things,” as the Zhuangzi rhetorically puts it. This ultimately led to the idea that 1 can come from 0, or more aptly, capital-E-everything or (Everything) came from capital-N-nothing (or Nothing), which is probably a radical idea in western thought. But is it so radical?
The thought process for understanding this goes along the lines of: There is Everything and Nothing, because one is necessary for the other. Everything is said to come out of some Thing. Yet this Thing cannot be the thing that brings about Everything because by definition, everything includes all things capital or lowercase T. So, the idea that Everything comes from something inside of everything, effectively makes it so that some Thing made itself, which makes scarce sense. To add to that, some Thing would be a limited entity because it is included in Everything, of which comprises bounded, defined things. On the other hand, Nothing is limitless or unbounded and separate from Everything, so it at least has the capacity to beget Everything, and being that the only two possibilities were that some Thing or Nothing brings about Everything, with the former being ruled out, Nothing seems to beget Everything, which is coherent with understandings with the Tao.
Exactly how Nothing can bring about Everything is one for an armchair-sitting endeavor. What do you think? Am I committing some error in my thought process? Is the explanation intelligible? If so, leave some feedback and if you liked the post, consider following TaoPracticed.