Nothing - October 16-17, 1975 - Dave Martsolf

April 2014 Preface

The preference of theoretical physicists is to base physical theories on models that can use some form or experience or experimental data to either validate or disprove a hypothesis. This preference was epitomized by Ernst Mach in the years prior to Einstein’s theories of relativity by two of his three general principles of theoretical development, mainly

1. It should be based entirely on directly observable phenomena
2. It should deny absolute space and time as unobservable

The difficulty of any review of the intersection of physics with metaphysics lies in the inability of metaphysics to offer any verifiable proof of its tenets in what a physicist would term the real Machian or Einsteinian world. For the terms of this discussion we would call the ‘real world’ the Einsteinian universe of objects such as particles, waves, fields, and time in all of their relativistic relationships. Even the statistically based world of quantum mechanics falls into this subset of the true universe, though Einstein in his later years would bemoan the theory’s reliance on uncertainty principles.

There is a halfway house in the dialectical chasm that separates physics from what would be called the realm of religion. This school of thought invokes several primary unprovable theorems such as the concept of an underlying simultaneous universe, the Euclidean system of geometry, the classical physical model of Newton, the concept of infinity, and less-discussed, the concept of nothingness. Our subsequent discussion pivots on these non-Machian concepts.

The willingness to consider these concepts, even if not to accept them is integral to the continuation of this discussion. Einstein would come to note that in his mind the basis of science should be a belief in an external world independent of the observer. The problem is not that we cannot imagine something. The problem is bringing that imagined thing into the real world. The problem with nothingness is that while it exists and actually drives the real world it would appear to be impossible to lay a finger on it.

Nothingness – Its Application to Physical and Metaphysical Concepts

Nothingness While it is said that nature abhors a vacuum, it does permit one in terms of absolute space-time. Nothingness denotes an absence of all Einsteinian and quantum objects in all their relativistic and uncertain states. Although the term ‘nothing’ can lead to many humorous statements, such as “In back of our every preconception of the world is absolutely nothing”, it is in fact an axiomatic property of nature that is present and part of every point in the space-time continuum.

Visualize one cubic meter’s worth of deep space, that is, one cubic meter of absolutely nothing. Forget the Einsteinian universe for now. We will think outside this restriction. In this cube we will place a photon or other particle of electromagnetic energy. In order to be a photon this particle must be moving at the speed of light. In order to track it we must move our cubic meter of nothing along with it at the same speed. Note that in this thought experiment since nothing is both massless and timeless we can still function in the Einsteinian universe.

Now that we have trapped our photon in its cage of nothing, what do we see? All we see is nothing since the photon must move out of its cage and strike us in order that we see it. This simple example is positive proof of the unified field Einstein searched for and contains the seed of final reconciliation between the experiences of light and darkness, the known and the unknown.

By extrapolation pure energy is equivalent to absolutely nothing. As an explanation the only energy we see is that which moves against us. That which moves with us is invisible to us. The energy of an object is not depleted if it does not interact with anything else.
The unveiling of the real universe occurs upon the establishment of the concept of nothing as a positive, operative, and real entity, and the resultant congruence of nothing, space-time, energy, eternity, and infinity.

Natural properties of nothing:

Nothing can move faster than the speed of light.
All things are possible, including the concept of nothing.
Nothing has null dimensional and temporal vectors.

Nothing and the Mind – Dave Martsolf – April, 2014


The Einsteinian universe produced a certain amount of resistance at the time of its unveiling. Apart from the feeling of claustrophobia created by the resultant view of space-time as a closed universe with no boundaries, one of its components, the limitation of the speed of light, produced an outpouring of theoretical proposals that would enable travelers to move around in this universe a bit more easily than spending eons in sub-light speed space travel. The original prediction of black holes, enabled by the Theory of Relativity and subsequently proven by gravitational observation, offered enticing science-fiction wormhole pathways between parts of our universe and whole other universes. Though no mathematical codex has been developed to help us through the event horizon safely, this type of construction is not ruled out by today’s physics.
But, there are other ways to travel both in and out of our universe. The paper “Nothing and the Mind” explores the relationship between the concept of nothing and the Einsteinian universe.

Nothing and the Mind

The person who groans when told that nothing travels faster than the speed of light so that galactic, I should say common trans-galactic, civilization is an impossibility misses the possibility of mind reorientation to take him where he wants to go.

As I have said countless times before, nothing is something, and this positively conceived absence can travel at any speed anywhere. Once achieved for the first time changing your own mind set becomes elementary, the elementarity of absence.

The center of the mind is a remarkable thing, and is the only rock worthy of building a life around. The center of the mind consists of nothing, a vacancy that many people spend their whole life attempting to cover up with some kind of substance. To the person who accepts that his or her soul is nothing the whole world becomes a plaything. The day to day routines that sustain the body can be accepted cheerfully, but this also leads to sadness with the knowledge of the eventual demise of the boundary separating one from the rest of the universe. The true non-Einsteinian nothingness is the common element linking one’s soul to the rest of the universe. As such it becomes a solace for all nostalgia.

Mind Travel – Several Examples

I sat on granite curbing near some raspberry bushes on a summer’s day dreaming about life on other planets. How sad it was that I could never journey there. I thought of several possible stars I had read about in science journals; yellow stars that probably had planets circling them. I wondered what it would be like there. In my mind I saw a green fertile planet with a blue sky, clouds, a gentle breeze. Something amazing happened. A faint observable electric field seemed to outline every object I looked at! I was there!

I looked up in the sky and there was that far away star, light years away, now only millions of miles away shining just as it was. I stood up and slowly walked around. It was a new adventure. Everything was new, unexplored, a paradise out in the blackness and nowhere of the far reaches of space. Later, as the first stars appeared at dusk I thought again of life on other star systems, and I was home. ‘Home’ has never been the same since. Now I know that somewhere up there, out there, there is another life, other paradises.

I didn’t meet anyone on my journey. It was what all future or past life forms feel when suddenly integrating the concept of nothing into their total being. This is where the mystical idea of special creation comes from.

Several weeks after traveling to the distant star I was driving north from Concord, New Hampshire toward the White Mountains. The Interstate highway was cut for the most part through dense wooded areas without many views of adjacent towns. The land reminded me of the Black Forest in Germany, which my wife and I had visited the summer before. Then, we traveling on the Autobahn south from Worms to Basel, Switzerland, but the weather was the same. It was a beautiful day both days.

So, this morning in New Hampshire I decided to consciously try to make the switch. It worked. It was just as amazing as the first time. There I was cruising in Germany. Everything was once again brand new, even though I had traveled this stretch of highway in New Hampshire countless times before. I was really in the Black Forest. I even experienced time change. In New Hampshire it was morning, but since we had been traveling in a southern direction in Germany it was now late afternoon. I allowed this vision to persist for about six miles until the first English road sign, and then let it pass. I was impressed both with the sensation and the undeniable knowledge I had felt that I WAS in Germany.

One final parable of the positively nothing-centered soul and its transparent membranous will. Back in the days of MIT in the late 1960’s nobody took showers at East Campus after midnight, so that’s when I took mine. I liked taking long showers, and since this was before the current (1981) conservation craze, well, who cared?

I would strip down, heat up the water, turn out the lights, and then sit down under the hot spray. I’d sit sometimes for over an hour. Often, I would travel to the far future. In that time most people had already left Earth. Anyone who had had enough money had left millions of years earlier for a younger star. There were only a few of us left. For us it was a hopeless journey.

The cosmologists had verified it. There would be no future Big Bang. Entropy had taken over and things were just going to run down. The expansion rate was too great. Gravity wasn’t going to win this one.

Our sun had indeed become a giant red, but as great as had been thought. It only got out to Venus, which was vaporized in due course. The deep mines of Earth were saved and so were a few of us. As the sun shrank again and lived first at the tropical poles, then the tropical temperate zones, and finally the tropical tropics. Those were our now ancient ancestors.

The Sun today has burned out. It’s black. Its noon, but its pitch black outside. All the other stars are burned out, too. Most everyone is dead here on Earth, but I was lucky (was I?). I had found this hot spring that tapped deep to the center of the Earth. I’ve been eating a lot of frozen food and sitting in this stall for months now. Even the air is now frozen except here. Now, the water from my shower is starting to cool.

Now, it has been God knows how long. The water is getting downright chilly. I just can’t stand this any longer. I can’t even heat up my frozen food. Time to face reality. I assume my classic yoga position of peace and turn off the water. It takes only seconds, yet frozen solid my mind remains alive. Or, am I just imagining I am alive? Here’s a new one for Descartes. I imagine, therefore I am. But, outside it is silent. There is no light. And yet I am.

As I review my frozen memories I catch upon an ancient motion picture from the Library of Human Origin. It’s a Cecil B. DeMille of the life of Jesus. At the very end of the movie he is shown expanding ever larger over the countryside. Hmmm! Interesting, I thought. Why hadn’t I thought of this before? All my thoughts had been images from the past. It’s time to begin living in the present. I relaxed all my holds on the past. I released all my claims on this frozen body and began to expand. With my soul based in nothing my container could be any size. A cubic centimeter of nothing is equivalent to a cubic kilometer of nothing, or even a cubic parsec of nothing. Thus, I embarked on an expansionary program.

I expanded to encompass all of Earth, then outward past our burned out sun and the remnants of the Solar System. There wasn’t much of interest locally so I just kept on expanding. I felt rather intimidated by the old Einstein maxim “nothing can travel faster than the speed of light” so I kept my rate of expansion down to a cosmic snail’s pace, just under light speed. Still, it was curious. After passing the first few dead stars, I noticed that their mass didn’t seem anywhere near infinity as Einstein had predicted. I had swallowed them up into my sphere of influence with barely an impression on my sense of gravity. To my immense mental size of course, stars were now merely dust motes in this desolate galactic graveyard.

Somewhere outside the local star group years later I figured it out. Of course! It was so simple. Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. But, that’s what I was – nothing. I could travel as fast as I wanted.

Swallowing the gravity sinks of dead stars was a unique stimulation, so I took my time in the Milky Way. I decided to orient my mental image of myself toward the concentrated core of the galaxy. When I swallowed it I found the sensation to be almost erotic. I was hungry for more.

I increased my rate on to Andromeda, but I was so large by the time I got there there was hardly a thrill as I passed by. I contracted and expanded through it several times, but I was nonplused. By the time I passed the outer edges of the local galactic group the future seemed dim indeed. Dimmer than dim everything was still black. I wanted to cry, but crying contracted me, and I knew there was nothing for me back there. I had to press on.

Moving past galaxy after dead galaxy I suddenly became aware of a faint light far away. How could this be? If my home sun was burned out and everything else had been too, how could light suddenly filter into my consciousness? At this juncture let me note that you the reader must realize that all of these thoughts and analytical questionings could not have actually taken place in the metal set that has left memory behind. However, unconscious expansion would make for rather a short, short story. Please make allowances for the author’s poetic license in this regard.

Ah, the dawning of enlightenment! As I expanded faster than the speed of light I had been chasing the last streams of light that had left the last of the dying suns, perhaps the photons that were still expanding outward from my own sun. Catching up to the beams that were pushing out ahead of me, I ran into their backsides so that their pent-up energy exploded into my consciousness. I felt the first, barely recognizable as the waffling low hum of radio waves, then further up the electromagnetic spectrum to microwaves, infrared, and then visible light.

Since all of these dead light sources were now inside me I began to sense more and more light all around me. Since light from these stars had been emanating in all directions even as they died, the light I was now expanding into was all around me, like being inside a glowing envelope.

Then I noticed the lights began to fade again. I noticed that not as many dead galaxies were now passing into me and the light energy per unit area of my ever-growing sphere of influence was decreasing. But, why? I suddenly remembered that the universal expansion found millennia ago had a nature of ever-increasing expansion rate. I had to speed up my rate of personal expansion in order to keep up with the infinite universe.

The glow returned. I wanted more. As nothing I decided to really dial up the expansion rate. The glow increased and became intense radiance. The radiance was not only outside me now. Inner layers of my expansionary self were now also picking up the remnants of light energy not absorbed by my outer imaginary skin. My whole spherical body became a thicker and thicker shell of electromagnetic energy.

Whole galaxies now became so small in relation to my size that strings of them once inside and catching up to their emitted light began to take on shapes, first as small strings and threads and later as a weaving of celestial cloth. What was out there? The light formed and clustered. I could almost reach out and touch things.

What place had I found? I had used my power of nothing to find a new universe. The laws of thermodynamics still held, the conservation of matter and energy, it was all here. But, was I ready to be one with the universe? That was a different use of nothing.

This exercise is over now, dear reader. Using nothing you can go anywhere. And, you can become one with it and die, if that is the level of knowledge you have reached. But, that is a different story; a story for a different day and a different time, the time of timelessness.