Maya

David Cowles

Sep 27, 2021

“Nothing is everything” is an advertising slogan for a new drug that treats plaque psoriasis. Of course, in this context “nothing” refers to unblemished skin while “everything” refers to the goal of the treatment. But what could “nothing is everything” mean in other contexts?

“Nothing is everything” is an advertising slogan for a new drug that treats plaque psoriasis. Of course, in this context “nothing” refers to unblemished skin while “everything” refers to the goal of the treatment. But what could “nothing is everything” mean in other contexts?


One branch of contemporary physics claims that ‘everything’ emerges spontaneously out of ‘nothing’. Include in this camp Big Bang Theory, Bootstrapping, and the idea of Negative Vacuum Pressure. Another branch of physics claims that ‘everything’ inevitably becomes ‘nothing’. Include in that camp the Second Law of Thermodynamics (Carnot et al), Entropy, Big Crunch, and Heat Death. In one sense both groups are saying the same thing, nothing = everything, but in another sense, they are saying the exact opposite of one another.


Of course, one could belong to both schools simultaneously: everything emerges spontaneously out of nothing, and everything ultimately decays back into nothing. This is probably the most cogent formulation of this idea. However, it has consequences. It threatens to reduce so-called reality to the status of ‘maya’ or the cosmos to the status of a virtual particle.


Opposing these views is the idea that the cosmos has a transcendent origin (God?) and that whatever is can never not-be (Parmenides, Servino).

Have a thought to share about today's 'Thought'.png