The Nothing Problem

Nothingness, it is almost impossible to imagine. If I say to you, image a state of nothingness, you would probably exists in darkness, but is darkness not something? You are identifying it as something so it must have some property. There may be no physical matter or energy or anything for that matter. But there is still darkness. I believe the reason is our perception of nothing. As previously discussed, everything we perceive is information. When there is no information there is no perception, this intern creates the perception of darkness. However, the only reason why we perceive darkness as nothing is due to our reliance on visual perception. Is the idea of nothing for me the same as the idea of nothing for a person who is blind? For him, the idea of light and dark has never been a contrast. Darkness can not exist if we have no previous experience of light. We may still perceive darkness, but its meaning is altered. I don’t believe that darkness can constitute nothingness, so what can? Let us look at the property of information again. Information has two properties, to be something or to be nothing. You can either perceive information or you cannot. It is a yes or no principle, it is an on or off switch, it is one or the other.

The property of information is very important. The system of one or the other, or on or off is a system we use everyday. The basic version is our light switch, the light is either on or off, doing something or doing nothing. The complex version of this, and this is the one that almost identically mimics the information of the universe, is binary code. One switch is either on or off, a 1 or a 0, it can never be both and has no purpose by itself. A piece of information switching on or off does almost nothing by itself, however, just as in binary code, if we connect this information into bigger structures, they being to interact with each other on a larger scale. Zoom in on the functionality and you get binary code, of course binary code is just a fancy name we have placed onto the process of information switching on and off. I believe that if you zoom in on the core surface of the universe you will find this system. When you look at it, something will either be doing something or nothing. It cannot do anything else, the something means you can perceive it, which means you can derive meaning from it, that meaning in most cases are the identifying features. For example, zoom in on a hydrogen atom and you get the combined information that tells you something is a proton, neutron and an electron. We know that this information has a property that can combine with other things to create more complex things like a molecule, which has different surface information, more complex than that of an atom. Molecules combine to create yet again more complex systems such as a cell. This cell again has different surface information. Cells combine to form humans, which have very complex informational structures. But can we go further? Yes, the connection continues. Consider that as a human you are your individual switch in the grand social structure of the planet. Your switch is more complex, this complexity is build up of the almost infinite combination of information switches that make you. We manipulate these switches through conscious action. This action has direct effect on the social global social structure. This has become even more prevalent the more we grow our ability for international connection. So now we have all of the individual on off switch that exists in each person and we combine that information into a planetary social structure that another “alien” race would perceive as the information of Humans. That is all they would know when they first see earth, they will always pickup on the surface information first.

Surface information can be very deceiving. Consider yourself to be an alien and you see humans for the first time. You see wars and conflicts, when you tune into their radio signals, satellite signals and such, you see the new reports of wars, misery, pain, hate and so much more. This saturation of negative media will quickly build a negative perception of human existence. This may lead you to believe that humans are a race who define themselves on hate. We as humans are very aware of our own individuality and we hold onto such things. We also are very aware that I am not the same as you, this is true for every person. We hate stereotyping, we do not like to be told that we are the same as a person we have negative opinion of. This happens often in a work place. The company has a policy that we do not agree with, yet we still have to implement it. This makes a customer believe that we are the bad person even though the choice has been removes and we are forces to transmit the negative perception through the information we become in that moment. Let us return to the “alien” analogy. As we zoom in on earth, we begin to see a division in people. As we study humans we become aware of territories and the visual differences between people. As we scrutinize this further we begin to see cultural differences and solid difference in the information that makes up each individual human. As we look closer and closer at any system, we begin to see its complexity. This is very true for geopolitics. We are presented with an overall view of different social structures. Christians, Muslims, Jews, Brown, White, tall, short, fat, thin. Everything is different when you look at it close enough. But we tied it all under the same brush, when people look at the social group of Islam, they hear war, terror and extremism in the ears of the west. When Iraqi, Afghani, Pakistani and Iranian people hear of the west, the United States and Europe they tied us all under western culture and see drug use, disrespect towards our women, they see the lazy and the power hungry, they see our capitalistic mind sets and our need to spread our belief of democracy and freedom to the world. These view points are created when we look at the most negative aspects of the Muslim culture, just as their view points are formed by focusing on the most negative of our culture. The truth however is that no person is their culture, nobody has exactly the same belief system and not everyone has the same idea of right or wrong. National boarders are not real, they are a line we have drawn in the sand. People are people, humans are humans and beliefs are beliefs. Look at the people you meet and do not judge them on the previous actions of their people, in truth, do not judge them on their own previous actions. Every moment is a new moment with new possibilities. Learn the information that is current to your reality and build your beliefs and opinions around that. We are all the same at our core, we are all just information perceiving other bits of information.

Welcome back to square one, everything is different and everything is the same. Above I demonstrate how information changes depending on how closely you look at it. We went from Humans and then zoomed in on our national boarders, then we zoom in on cultures and then we zoomed into each individual person. What if we zoom in closer. Now we get down to the information of individual organs, bacteria, cells, molecules and atoms. For many years we believed that atoms were the building blocks of the universe, which in truth they are, but no more than you are a building block in your cultural structure. Information will always combine to create more complex information with more abilities and more elaborate purposes. But what happens when we zoom in on Atoms, we see Quarks. Is it possible to go further, well yes it has to be. But what would we see? well we would probably see another few layers of building blocks, until we get down to the core layer of the universe, the information layer. This layer is covered in infinite points of single information. This information is nothing more than an on off switch like we see in binary code. There is either information there or there is not information there. Information is just something that can be perceived, if it can be perceived it has information that does something. At this level of existence, its purpose is to either be on or off, it is how it connects with the other switches around it that are on that affects what the information does. This is the same principle with binary code.

Binary is a combination of on and off switches. We know them as 0 or 1. This bit of information can do nothing by itself, but if you place eight of these next to each other and they begin to mean something.

For example:

01000001 = the letter “A”
01100001  = the letter “a”

When these switches connect in the specific orders demonstrated above they combine to create the information of “A”or “a”. The letter has at this point come from nothing. If you remove seven of the switches all you have left is a switch that is either on or off like a light switch, it is either something or it is nothing. Combine it with other switches in a specific order and you may perceive those switches to be a photon. There are an infinite amount of these switches in our universe. there are no gaps, there is not a single point in space where there is no switch. The way to demonstrate this principle is easier than you may expect. Consider two point a meter apart, first you draw a dot at the half way point. Now we have half a meter, then we draw at dot in the middle of that line, not we have a quarter of our original line. But we at the same time have a whole line the length of quarter of a meter. Now half that and we have an eighth of a meter. Now keep cutting it in half. You will never get to the start point. There are an infinite amount of halves. Now apply this principle to the switches in the universe. Consider that that two switches are one nanometre apart, in that nanometre there are an infinite amount of switches that can either turn on or off depending on the connection they mate to the infinite amount of switches around them. These infinite switches have come together to make me. Just like this example:

Binary: 010011110110110001101001011101100110010101110010
Meaning: Oliver

This combination of on and off switches have combined to give the meaning of my name, just as the switches of information in the universe have come together to make me. But I am not me, I am what you perceive me to be. What you think I am is very different come what I consider myself to be. What you think I am is very different from what I consider myself to be. Information itself is nothing, it is no more real than code. It is either doing something or it is doing nothing.

As we look into the universal void of space we are looking at on or off switches. Asteroids, Planets, Stars, Solar systems, Galaxies and the universe itself is just a massive combination of something and nothing. Everything we perceive is the combination of on switches interacting and connecting with one another. Information by itself is nothing, meaning that at the core of everything there is nothing. It is simply our perception, our senses that tell us that there is something. We study this something to determine what it is and what it does. It is no different from coding. What are the rules of the code.

Consider a wall, at the surface of it your perception is a solid object. Look closer and you can study the rock that makes the wall. Look closer and you can determine what that rock is made of. Look even closer and you can determine what the structure of rock is made of and what it does. This process will repeat until you zoom in so far the you can either see some or nothing.

A Sense of Totality

Everything, nothing, wholeness, oneness, totality and singularity. These are all words that we use to describe the interconnectivity of everything. The statements that everything is one, that everything is connected, that everything is the same and that everything is nothing, is to us a living conscious’ a mirror of confusion, an oxymoron, a contradiction. As a living person i am aware that i connect with others but we are not the same. Our perceptions of reality will always be individual and therefore we cannot be the same. I am not you and you are not me someone else, therefore we are not one. Even at the atomic level i am something therefore i am not nothing. However, all of this is only truth in my perception of reality. The interconnectivity in the universe exists at the smallest level. Currently the smallest level of existence we can experience is quantum theory. Some have studied the fabric of the universe and the information they received acted like the ones and zeros that we use inside every computer. This to me doest not necessarily mean that we live inside a computer program like the matrix, even though this is not an impossibility. It does however open the possibility that the system of ones and zeros, off and on switches that we use in binary code works on the same principles as the information transfer in the universe. So what is information? Is it a picture? some writing? or just media in general? I think it is something more than that, something a lot more simple. Information is meaning, if you can derive meaning from something then it can be considered information. This means that information is non physical entity, derived from physical constructs of energy. The discovery of the Higgs Boson as helps us understand how mass comes to be. It demonstrates that all mass comes from energy. Einstein theorised this his theory of relativity. The energy that flows through the brain is no different from the energy that flows through the processor of a computer. All energy is information and we derive meaning from the information that the energy provides.

Understanding that mass is energy and that energy is information can be a hard concept to fathom. I want to simplify this in the only way I know how, by attempting to visualise the basic principle. Consider an chair in an empty room with a bright light in the ceiling. As you look at the chair, you can perceive its mass, you are aware that there is an object in front of you that you would consider a chair. The chair is made up of mass that was created through the Higgs Boson, this mass I made of energy. The energy that is the chair is translated into information that you can derive meaning from. Since energy is a non physical thing, we can determine that the chair is not there. We simple perceive an object to be there due to the information we receive. Whether we can move through the object or not is irrelevant as the information is telling us that we can’t. It is not the chair itself that stops us from moving through it, it is the rules that govern the information that is the chair. These rules are visible everywhere, gravity is energy created by mass, but the energy that pull us is nothing more than information. So what is information? I believe information is the totality, the everything and the nothing. Information is the only concept we can work by that can both be something and nothing at the same time. Information is simply meaning derived form a consciousness.

The idea that information is everything and nothing creates a worrying notion that everything is based on the nothingness of information. That in turn means that we and our consciousness is nothing. We simply consider ourselves to be something because of the way we perceive information. We always look for the physical for explanation, however, if we look at the nothingness in the universe I believe we will find more answers. The real question is, how do we measure nothing. Sciences is limited to perception. We are all limited to and limited by our perception of reality, yet reality itself has no limitation. We speak of limitation to where we can store information, but is the information in itself limited? I find it unlikely since information is nothing, it is meaning. If information governs the universe, I means that everything is nothing and has the possibility to be anything and everything.  The limitation of individual perception is like the room with the chair. It is what it is because you perceive it to be what you perceive it to be.

Let us imagine a new room. This room is divided in half by a wall with a large square whole in the middle. You stand on one side of the wall and look through to a person stood on the other side of the window. You can see one side of the room, other can see the other side. You can see the other person and they can see you, however you cannot see their full room and they cannot see yours. Imagine a box of reality, based on everything you senses can perceive. the box would fill your room and a small segment of your box of perception would cross into the other room. Anything that exists inside the shared box of perception is simple to explain and define, however, if you were to explain what is on your side of the room that the other person cannot perceive, or visa versa. It would be almost impossible to give a definitive meaning to the other person as they receive no information of reality, they only receive the basic information of the meaning from the person explaining. This does not allow the person to perceive that reality, only the ability to derive an idea of the un-experienced reality.

There are always two catagories of reality. The experienced reality which you can perceive and interact with, and the un-experienced reality, the reality that is outside of your perception. Reality is a continuum, it is everywhere and everything. Remembering the box of perception will help you to relate to the idea of the two different realities. Anything outside of your box of perception is an un-experienced reality. For example, in my reality currently, the Atlantic ocean does not exist. It still exists in the un-experienced reality and the information of the Atlantic ocean is still doing what it is doing. However if I cannot perceive the information of the Atlantic ocean, can I every truly be sure that it exists. Such a question is irrelevant as the only truth I can derive from the information in the universe comes from the information that currently exists inside my box of perception. Reality is only ever what you can perceive, it is never anything more or anything less, it simply is was you believe it is. Reality is the meaning that you derive from the information in the universe.

The question that struck me at this point was “what is information?” Information is just a word, which gives a perfect opportunity to explain what information is. When you see the word “Information” you derive meaning from it, in truth there is no meaning in reading such a word, you create that meaning yourself. However, for you to create such a meaning you have to first perceive something in your reality that can create such a meaning. In the case of the word “Information” it is the combination of drawn symbols that create individual meaning, individual bits of information that we combine to derive complex meaning. So is information the individual letters? Well, and here comes the complicated part, yes and no. Information is derived from the combinations of the letters, but what if we look smaller, if we zoom in on the letter we get many different bit of information that combine to make the letter. For example, the ink on a page is a mixture of the atoms that make up the ink and the atoms that make up the paper. We combine all of the atoms to derive meaning from the letters form. But what of the Atoms, they are just a combination of quarks, and small yet we have the combination of particles and energy and if you look at the structure of energy, what do we get? Information on a screen that is made up of exactly the combination we just talked about to created large scale combinations that we can derive meaning from. For example, if we were to fire single photons (information packages of light) onto a screen and measure their impact points on a computer screen, the information you are looking at is meaning derived from a single photon, illustrated by trillions of photons reflecting off the computer screen. Regardless of where you look you get information.
Now I just said allot of words without saying what information is. Everything is made up of Information, information is the ability to derive meaning from something while identifying its identifying features. Imagine two people observing each other, one is picking up the information of the other. Now consider you are looking at a ball, you are receiving the information form the ball onto your eyeball, the ball is information and the signals it sends to your eye is information just at the information from your eye is being translated in the information that makes up your brain. But if I remove you and I remove the Ball I have nothing. Information does not exist if the information of the atoms that make up what you are perceiving does not exist. However, as atoms themselves are only information used to give meaning so that we can perceive them then they too are nothing unless they are being perceived. Forget mass, Einstein and Higgs have already demonstrated that everything is energy, and energy is only information that interacts with other information. Just like you are just information perceiving the information on this screen.

noun: information
  1. 1.
    facts provided or learned about something or someone.
    “a vital piece of information”
  2. 2.
    what is conveyed or represented by a particular arrangement or sequence of things.
    “genetically transmitted information”

This is the dictionary definition of information. Facts are always based on the perception or conclusion that information gives us. Conveyed or represented relates to meaning. Both description explain how information is what it is and information is the meaning represented by outcome of the perception. We can never pinpoint what information is, but it is everything and it is nothing at the same time. Everything is information and information is nothing unless it is being perceived and meaning is derived from it. The universe is just information. Me, you, planets, stars, galaxies and everything in between is based on the rules of information. Information is everything and nothing, it is wholeness and it is totality.

People talk about the sense of wholeness and totality, that everything is one and that everything is nothing. This sensation is when you allow yourself to exist at the core of your consciousness. Meditation, near death and all the other experiences that give the perception that everything is connected is when you become aware of the connection in everything, when you become aware that everything everywhere is nothing more than information. Since information is everything while information itself is made of nothing, we come to the conclusion that everything created from nothing through the perception of information and the meaning placed upon it.

The Unfair Labling of Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety. These two words hold people prisoned in fear. I feel that they have been missed labelled and give the wrong indication of what is actually happening to the conciousness. Before I demonstrate my meaning I want to discuss and question what depression and anxiety really is. First we must accept that no two people feel the effects in the same way and they are varied in intensity. Some may be able to deal quite easily with the conditions while others become hypersensitive to it. The challenge here is to describe emotion, describing the feeling of an emotion can be almost impossible. No matter how close you get to explaining the emotion it still will not give the person listening to the explanation the ability to feel what the person describing is feeling. Even if they did, how could we ever be sure that they would have the same perception of the issue or that they would even derive the same meaning from it. This left me with an idea, regardless of the emotional aspects of depression, regardless of the description of the feeling, there is a core principle and the same for Anxiety.

Many philosophers agree that depression is negative focus towards your past, while anxiety is negative focus towards your future. Both of these manifest as negative focus in the current moment. This however describes nothing more than the cause and effect of these two emotions or states of mind. The aim is to knock yourself out of the negative state of mind. Let us first look at depression. Depression, as I experienced it, numbed me, I was locked in my mind contemplating the outcome of my past. I believed that my past was better than my now. This left me with an unending desire to do nothing, getting out of bed was a struggle because I was certain that my experiences of the day would never be as good as the experiences of my past, so why bother? Anxiety for me was a paralysing fear that prevented me from taking any actions. I would create extraordinarily outrageous outcomes for my actions in my mind before I even had chance to take any action. This would lock me further inside myself preventing me from taking any action due to fear of extreme outcomes. As we can see, both states of mind prevented me from taking any action.  Those who do not get out of this state of mind will eventually end up living with both depression and anxiety. Depression will make you focus on the past making you not take action in the future. This leads to an endless worry that the future will never again be as good as the past. Anxiety will make you focus on the future and your inability to take actions, this creates a longing sensation for the past where you were able to take action without paralysing fear. If one does not learn to coexist with depression and anxiety eventually both will become overwhelming.

Both conditions are hard to coexist with, yet hard means far from impossible. Depression and anxiety are conditions that are always apparent, it is their severity that differs. Their severity is governed by the awareness of the feeling these conditions create. It is my belief that all suffer from both conditions to a certain extent at all times, it is not the condition that defines how it feels, it is our perception of the condition that define how we feel. A large amount of depression is cause by getting diagnosed with depression and the same for anxiety. It may have been a question in your mind (“Why do I feel so down?”), yet as soon a you are diagnosed it is enforced onto you as a condition which enforces a perception. The truth is that you have the ability to feel depressed or anxious at any moment in life. Life is hard and life is dangerous, this is a fact that we have dealt with since we were born. It is not the condition that defines us, it is our attitude towards hardship that does. A person who is depressed will feel useless, overwhelmed and disinterested in moving through the hardship. This is also apparent for anxiety, fear of the uncertainty of the outcome of our actions is not a rare issue. Humans worry about the future, they have an unending need to predict and mould the future. We live for the future and forget the moment.

What came first, depression or the diagnosis? Most would say that of course depression came first, as we cannot diagnose what is not there. Well that is both true and not true. No condition can ever be considered “to be there” as it has no physical form. Depression is not a thing, it is a state of mind. This changes the view point we must have on what we call depression. Depression is not a thing, it is a label, it can be ripped off and put back on with another name. But the feelings the victim has and the state of mind that they enter is still very real to them regardless of what the label is. Because depression is a state of mind, it can be shifted and moulded. The mind is always governed by what we believe. If you believe you are depressed then you are. If you believe depression is more than a state of mind then it is. If you believe that anxiety impedes your ability to make choices for the future then it will do. Everything that happens in the mind is based on belief. Belief systems control everything we think. It governs our core understanding of good and evil, right or wrong, love or fear. Depression and anxiety are both based on your core belief systems. Depression is the belief that the current moment is negative compared to the passed that was more positive. This is a common outcome of a breakup. The past was better than the current moment of the breakup. However, if this person shifted their belief system towards, “It ended for a reason, at least it had the opportunity to be, at least I had the good moments and experiences and what I get in the future will be equally as good in the moment in which that will exist. I must not wish the world to be more than what it is, but I will actively work towards the things I want.” This is the thought process that released me from the horrid words of depression and anxiety. It was at this point that I realised that depression and anxiety are just attitudes towards life. Of course some may see this as a cosy little lie I tell myself and that will not change anything. Well to them I say, everything you say is based on your imagination and you belief is based on the experiences you have had, and in regards to the cosy little lie, everything is a cosy lie we tell ourselves to make sense of this crazy little thing call life.

To demonstrate the point made above, consider the battle between Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill. They both had two separate views on what defines a good action. Kant talks about the duty towards moral law, if a man rushed to help a person who was about to fall, but did not manage to catch the person in time, his actioned (according to Kant) are still good as the moral core of his actions were to perform his moral duty to help and in turn do good. Mill however, describes a good action to be one that generates happiness both for one self and for as many others as possible. For example, in this case if the person attempting to help the person falling fails, it can no longer be considered a good action. Instead this is a failed attempt of a good action.
Personally I both agree and disagree with both. Both people are assuming that every person has the same perception of what is good. They leave no individual interpretation to what good is. My perception of a good action is defined by what generates positive energy. This positive energy is translated into happiness, linking into Mill’s view of good actions are equal to the happiness generated. However, Mill would state that if an attempted action of happiness fails, the action can no longer be considered go, even if the intent was to do good. This is where I agree with Kant. I believe that actions can have good intention without having the preferred outcome. A person attempting to help is still connecting more with a person than the person who does nothing. The person falling would witness a person attempting to help and that in return would generate positive energy allowing for a positive social connection between the two people. This in my eyes can still be considered a good action. However this can be negated if the person falling holds animosity towards the person who failed to catch them. This animosity is created when a person wishes reality to be different from what it is. For example, the person that fell has two choices. The first is to accept that the person attempting to help still did more than they had to, and the attempt itself shows good intention. The second is to ignore the attempt all together and focus on the outcome. Here the person falling will ignore the attempt and only focus on the negative outcome leading to negative perception of the attempt to help.
From this I derive that positive reaction will lead to positive action while negative reaction will lead to negative action. In both cases the outcome is defined by the perception and attitude of the victim. The person who failed to help is at the mercy of the victims perception of his actions.

A question that eluded me for a long time was the origin of depression and anxiety, where does it come form? Like any other emotion or reaction to reality, it originates from a moment, an experience of reality. For me it was the moment my mind accepted that my relationship was over, when there were no more excuses that could hide the truth of the reality. Depression would effect me when my mind wished that something that once was still was and anxiety would effect me when my mind was afraid that my future would never be as good as the past I had witnessed. Both however are a contradiction of the truth. The past is a story we tell ourselves based on our own perception of the memory of that moment. Just in the same way that the future is a figment of our imagination based on our own perception of the current moment in relation to our perception of our past moment. In truth, there is only the current moment and that is where our focus should be.

The reason I say that depression and anxiety are unfair labellings of this so called condition, is due to the conditions ability to teach. Depression is a lesson along with anxiety, they are emotional barriers that must be broken through. We spend most of our time suppressing our minds and hiding from the terrifying words of depression and anxiety. We are told that they are negative conditions that need substances in order to be controlled. But what if it is not a condition, what if it is a part of life. We keep enforcing this reality of the terror of these conditions, we see them only for what they are represented to be. Life is full of ups and downs, some experience extreme highs and extreme lows but both fall into the core principle of an experience either creating a positive or negative attitude. The part of the human condition that defines depression and anxiety is simply becoming aware of the reality of life’s highs and lows. We are not depressed, we have woken up. Like anything else in life, depression and anxiety are both lessons that will have an outcome equal to the attitude you have towards it. A Negative attitude will lead to negative outcome while a positive attitude will lead to a positive outcome. Everything has an equal and opposite reaction. Here the equal refers to the attitude state (positive or negative) and the outcome being the equal opposite reaction (this refers to the change from being in depression to getting out of depression). Learning the lesson does not guarantee a positive outcome, the outcome is based on the attitude you have towards the condition.

Do not fear depression, fore you have simply become aware life. In the immortal words of Bob Marley, “Don’t worry, be happy”.