Some-thing from No-thing

Try to imagine a formless void containing all there is. It is nothing, because no-thing can be discerned. But nevertheless, the void has it all. The formless void is nothing and all at once. Now make a distinction – that is you who is doing this – and some-thing arises out of no-thing. But that some-thing cannot exist independently from no-thing. If that was the case, no distinction is made and some-thing would be no-thing.

Figure: Some-thing and no-thing.

So, the very act of making a first distinction is to create some-thing out of no-thing. This is where human cognition starts by distinguishing things that matter to them. The act of distinguishing has a motive, that is, what is being distinguished is of value, otherwise there is no reason to distinguish in the first place. Therefore, a distinction and indicating the value of that distinction go hand in hand. There cannot be a distinction without an indication, and vice versa.

How something is created out of nothing is haunting us for ages. Every religion has its own ways of conceptualizing the beginning of life. For instance, the Book of Genesis starts with the words.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
God has made his first distinction after the first day: the distinction between light and darkness. And this was the starting point of many more distinctions eventually resulting in God’s creation of mankind as an image of his own. A Buddhist scripture called the Diamond Sutra - the perfection of wisdom (Red Pine, 1 januari 2001) shares an identical conception with LoF of something being dependent on nothing. It is a short text written somewhere between the 2nd and 5th century and it is part of a larger canon of “sutras” or sacred texts in Mahayana Buddhism tradition practiced in China, Japan, Korea and southeast Asia. It is called the diamond sutra because, like a diamond, it cuts through afflictions, ignorance, illusion, or delusion. The central theme is emptiness indicating that all things, physical as well as mental things, depend on each other and co-arise together. Thich Nhat Hanh describes this as follows.
When we perceive things, we generally use the sword of conceptualization to cut reality into pieces, saying, 'This piece is A, and A cannot be B, C, or D.'  But when A is looked at in light of dependent co-arising, we see that A is comprised of B, C, D, and everything else in the universe. 'A' can never exist by itself alone. When we look deeply into A, we see B, C, D, and so on. Once we understand that A is not just A, we understand the true nature of A and are qualified to say "A is A," or "A is not A." But until then, the A we see is just an illusion of the true A.
The diamond sutra is constructed as a dialog between the Buddha and the senior monk Subhuti. Repeatedly, the central theme emptiness is emphasized in the form of the logic of not.
  • The Buddha: So, Subhuti, is it possible to speak of A?
  • Subhuti: No, there is no A to speak of. Therefore, we call it A.
Figure: A and not A.

A distinction makes something A distinct from what it is not, that is, not A. But A cannot exist independently from not A. So, not A shines through in A. The logic of not captures this idea by stating: A is not A, and therefore is A. This statement defies western binary logic (true or false) because the proposition A is not A is a contradiction: A and not A is always false.




Statement: The relationship between things, including humans, is what matters. Something or someone cannot stand or be taken on its own.

Aspect: Tradition, Principle: We got to move, Principle page: Principles and Ground Rules

Statement page Statement
Exploring Change A system has to become what it is not, and yet remain the same.
Some-thing from No-thing The relationship between things, including humans, is what matters. Something or someone cannot stand or be taken on its own.

Principles, aspects and statements overview




Statement: We rely on each other and therefore we should care for each other.

Aspect: Ethics of Care, Principle: Co-dependency, Principle page: Principles and Ground Rules

Statement page Statement
Investigating Identity Ethics of Care is a retreat to first principles to be part of a group to protect and to provide meaning.
Responsible Setting for Social Innovation Each stakeholder facilitates other stakeholders in addressing a societal challenge.
Some-thing from No-thing We rely on each other and therefore we should care for each other.

Principles, aspects and statements overview





















Lees hiervoor: Laws of Form
Lees hierna: Two-Valued System



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