This is a post about nothing.
Lately I’ve become fascinated with nothing.
Hich was the name of the hotel I stayed in, in Konya, Central Turkey.
Hich means “nothing,” in the Islamic tradition, and it’s a central part of Sufi teachings. They believe that you should strive for nothing-ness – a state where the ego dissolves completely, and there is no barrier between yourself and unity with God.
The Buddhists too strive to attain a state of nothingness – where there is no attachment to things or feelings or thoughts or actions. Suffering comes through attachment. If you have no attachment, you have no suffering. You have nothing.
I’m fascinated by zero – a concept that was conceived by Indian mathematicians in the 5th century AD. It’s incredible to think that the numeric system that we operate under now, in which zero is such an integral part, came from Indian scholars 16 centuries ago.
This excerpt from Wikipedia:
The rules governing the use of zero appeared for the first time in Brahmagupta’s book Brahmasputha Siddhanta (The Opening of the Universe). Here Brahmagupta considers not only zero, but negative numbers, and the algebraic rules for the elementary operations of arithmetic with such numbers. Here are the rules of Brahmagupta:
- The sum of zero and a negative number is negative.
- The sum of zero and a positive number is positive.
- The sum of zero and zero is zero.
What’s interesting about this is that the rules for zero came from a book called: The Opening of the Universe.
This brings me to the next aspect of nothing I’m fascinated with – cosmology, and the research currently underway in Switzerland by CERN into the substance of matter. Or dark matter, to be exact.
A huge machine called a Large Hadron Collidor is buried underground somewhere in the French/Swiss countryside, and the world’s top physicists are using this machine to smash sub atomic particles together at incredible velocities to see what happens when they bust open.
What’s interesting in this article is this section:
Scientists now know that the atoms that make up the stuff we can see (such as stars, butterflies, asteroids, toasters, clouds and humans), account for less than 5 per cent of the universe’s mass. That leaves a lot of other stuff about which we know almost nothing. About 27 per cent of the universe is dark matter and the rest – about 68 per cent – is dark energy. Some scientists hope that collisions in the Large Hadron Collider will give us some evidence of dark matter, which has never before been detected.
So 68% of the universe is made up of stuff we know nothing about.
The last time the guys at CERN did these experiments, they discovered what they called “The God Particle.” What’s a God Particle? I’ll use a quote from The Dude in The Big Lebowski: “That rug really tied the room together man.”
The God Particle is the rug, and the Universe is the room.
Here’s a good article from Nat Geo to explain – http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/03/god-particle/achenbach-text
So, this is why I’m fascinated by nothing.