October 18, 2014

What is nothing? Macbeth answered this question with admirable concinnity: "Nothing is, but what is not." My dictionary puts it somewhat more paradoxically-- "nothing (n.) : a thing that does not exist." Although Parmenides, the ancient Eleatic sage, declared that it was impossible to speak of what is not-- thereby violating his own precept-- the plain man knows better. Nothing is popularly held to be better than a dry martini, but worse than sand in the bedsheets. A poor man has it, a rich man needs it, and if you eat it for a long time, it'll kill you. On occasion , nothing could be further from the truth, but it is not clear how much further. It can be both black and white all over at the same time. Nothing is impossible for God, yet it is a cinch for the rankest incompetent . No matter what pair of contradictory properties you choose, nothing seems capable of embodying them. From this it might be concluded that nothing is mysterious . But that would only mean that everything is obvious-- including,
presumably, nothing.

That, perhaps, is why the world abounds with people who know, understand, and believe in nothing. But beware of speaking blasphemously of nothing, for there are also many bumptious types about-- call them "nullophiles"-- who are fond of declaring that, to them, nothing is sacred.
Jim Holt, "Why Does the World Exist?"

Science is a differential equation. Religion is a boundary condition.
Alan Turing

Our own universe is not very symmetrical on a small scale—look at what a mess your living room is!
Jim Holt

Kick at the rock, Sam Johnson, break your bones: / But cloudy, cloudy is the stuff of stones.
Richard Wilbur

I kind of like this skull I made for the

halloween loveblender
Probably inspired by seeing the Día de Muertos- themed "Book of Life" the night before.