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Casey Christofaris

Owner, CS3 Inc

TEDCRED 10+

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Is our math wrong? Is it our assumption of zero, or absolute nothingness?

There are know phenomena out there such as the gamma ray burst that total destroys(use loosely your ego wants to argue this syntax error not the mind) our current math and physics(e=mc2). But instead of saying well maybe we got a key part of our math wrong we make it so the phenomena matches our math. This is my personal take on what I think might be wrong. I think it has to do with our assumption of zero. Seeing how you can never have absolute nothingness as a base or starting point. Conceptually the idea of zero is great. I want an apple. But i am in a complete void of apples. I don't have a single one. Not even applesauce! I have ZERO apples. But I do not need to know that you have zero apples to know when you have 1 apple. On the other had I do need to know that you have 1 apple to understand that now you have 2 apple. I could be wrong. It just something that bothers me.

Also I am not a math person it has always been something I struggled with in school those pesky numbers. However in College I excelled at Logic, but that has been some time ago.

I am not say this is the answer I just say that I think there is something fundamentally wrong with our math

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    Oct 2 2012: "Zero quantity" is not quite the same as "nothing". We can have 0 dollars in the pocket. We can visualize that - an empty pocket. We can visualize vacuum - an empty space. We can visualize a 0 on a scale as a point relative to other points. But we cannot visualize "nothing" as a starting point of the universe - no space, no time, no matter, no energy... nothing. We cannot experience it or have evidence of its existence - because "nothing" in this sense, is non-existence itself. It's not even a void. "What is nothing?" is a loaded question. It implies that "nothing is...". We cannot even say "nothing is..." or "nothing is not..." - that would be saying too much about nothing. We cannot explain what is wrong with nothing. We cannot say ANYTHING about nothing. My post on this topic is one paragraph too long.
    • Oct 2 2012: It cannot be visualized but it has to be conceptualized because "nothing" is the opposite of "something".
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        Oct 2 2012: I agree. The problem is that this concept is apriori. It cannot be drawn from any experience. It cannot be drawn from logic. It cannot be defined in a way that makes sense. It's like one of those Zen koans that can only be understood by silent meditation, but cannot be taught or explained, because words or images always describe something, not nothing.
        • Oct 4 2012: You can 'understand' Zen koans if you have a proper context in your mind. Though 'understand' does not describe what you've got. Sufi poets have a word that can be translated into English as ' standing under ' , it brings holistic quality and more related to knowing , than knowing about . But you are right, it has something to do with Zero. It is nothing where something is dimly visible, but can't be fixed by understanding/language .
        • Oct 6 2012: Re : In the world of information...
          Our world is information. The idea that information is prior to matter is millennia old, but only now we seem to be ready to download it into our mind , iow to figure it out :)
      • Oct 4 2012: That's it ! Zero is a concept.
        We tend to separate Math from Philosophy, but they are not separate , nothing is.
        "nothing" is the opposite of "something" and synonymous with 'everything'
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          Oct 5 2012: Good point. In the world of information, an infinite sequence of logical zeroes has the same amount of information as an infinite sequence of logical ones - none. In this informational sense, "nothing" and "everything" are identical. They equally make no sense.

          One bit of information is born when a logical zero switches to one (or vice versa). That's when we have "something" and that's when it starts making sense. The universe is born when all these bits start toggling.
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      Oct 2 2012: Nothing is blackness
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        Oct 2 2012: Is "blackness" same as darkness? When I visualize blackness or darkness, I see a black canvas or a black background with nothing on it, absence of light. But it has spatial characteristics. I can also imagine it for some time. Space only makes sense when matter is present to visualize separation between objects. Time only makes sense when there is a material periodic process, be it only a wave function of an electron. When there is no matter, no space, and no time, it's beyond our understanding. I know, this explanation does not make sense. That's the point.
        It is not blackness, darkness, or silence. It is not huge, not tiny, not black, not white, it has no properties whatsoever. It is nothing. It cannot even be reflected or accurately represented by anything. One can only meditate on it. That's two paragraphs too many about nothing :)
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          Oct 2 2012: Well from my stand point reading your two paragraphs,i just stated blackness,it has no comparison to anything within this physical universe,from the paragraphs,you gave it form,spatial characteristics,"canvas" is there a possible inference to something that exists within this universe? and yes you can imagine blackness behind your eye's for as long as you want,now go into it while still keeping it behind your eye's and look back,there is no distance,no up,no down,no colour variations,light did not exist before it,it's just blackness,it's the emotive backlash that usually stops the mind from accepting it by trying to compare it to something,like you said it's not huge,silent,tiny but blackness is the only thing closest to nothing we have,it is the blackness when you are losing consciousness,it has no measurement until you change it or add to it.

          If this isn't good enough then "nothing' will ever be good enough and the next reply will only mean the word "measurement"
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        Oct 2 2012: Ken, I guess, you just used another word for "nothing". We can create different words or symbols to mean the same ideas. I just did not agree to use "blackness" to mean "nothing" because "blackness" implies color which is a property of something. But, as you explained what you meant, I agree that, perhaps, the only way to understand or experience "nothing" is to stop all brain activity altogether which is to stop experiencing whatsoever. I refer to your phrase that "it is the blackness when you are losing consciousness".
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          Oct 3 2012: That Arkady is a brilliant post,i like it,excellent arrangement,had me stumped,made me think there is no reply to your reply,it stands alone,cool man.

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