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Why does anything exist?

 
jdrnd
 
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jdrnd
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04 February 2018 16:38
 
dbertels - 04 February 2018 04:23 PM

This to me is the most fundamental question of all. The most satisfying answer I can think of, at least in our neck of the woods, is that .. Our universe is a ‘process’ that explores all possibilities in space-time, restricted by local physical laws and expressible in number and relation using mathematics.

Why is there even a process?

 
EN
 
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EN
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04 February 2018 16:58
 
jdrnd - 04 February 2018 04:38 PM
dbertels - 04 February 2018 04:23 PM

This to me is the most fundamental question of all. The most satisfying answer I can think of, at least in our neck of the woods, is that .. Our universe is a ‘process’ that explores all possibilities in space-time, restricted by local physical laws and expressible in number and relation using mathematics.

Why is there even a process?

There has to be something because there is no such thing as nothing.  So, maybe he thinks the fundamental “thing” is process.

 
bbearren
 
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bbearren
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04 February 2018 17:25
 
EN - 04 February 2018 04:37 PM

... there is no such thing as nothing.

That statement is no different than jb’s signature line.

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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04 February 2018 17:41
 
bbearren - 04 February 2018 05:25 PM
EN - 04 February 2018 04:37 PM

... there is no such thing as nothing.

That statement is no different than jb’s signature line.

Would it help if I said “in my opinion, there is no such thing as nothing, but I’m not sure”?

 
jdrnd
 
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jdrnd
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04 February 2018 18:14
 
EN - 04 February 2018 05:41 PM

....there is no such thing as nothing…

Why?

 

 
EN
 
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EN
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04 February 2018 18:46
 
jdrnd - 04 February 2018 06:14 PM
EN - 04 February 2018 05:41 PM

....there is no such thing as nothing…

Why?

Perhaps because “nothing” cannot be conceptualized.  Space is something, even a dimensionless point is something.  A vacuum is something. A potential is something.  If there was literally nothing, nothing could happen. 

Ergo, there is a fundamental, foundational something. - a Prime Mover, an Initial Condition - something. What is it?

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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04 February 2018 19:36
 

What about all of the vast expanses of existence that we know must exist but are completely unknowable to us?

We can only speculate as to how to incorporate those things that exist that we can’t know about into our daily lives. Even if it’s ten billion lightyears away, some things must be important to somebody, right? We should relax and realize that any distant significance probably has some kind of local observer or ‘significance-detector’, which we don’t need to know about either.

If something truly did not exist, we would not know that it didn’t exist. What would be the point of not existing if everyone knows about it?

Any attempt to list things that do not exist is also to engage in a creative act. Thus negating the purpose of the list.

In order for God to possess all the usual ascribed attributes, His ‘existence’ would take the entire duration of universe to complete. All that God can hope for at best, for now, is a not-yet status. That is for the best, as any god-like God would go postal trying to wait for billions of years for something to be significant to to come along. Omnicience would have to include nicience of the ultimate pointlessness of nicience omni or otherwise.

Like many aspirations, you may find that being God isn’t what you really wanted. Sure, God’s got a great big universe and millions of cars and winged choirs to cater to His every whim. If we know that’s pathetic, then so does God.

Reality is a touchstone. Can you leave a mark? 

 
 
bbearren
 
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bbearren
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04 February 2018 19:43
 
EN - 04 February 2018 06:46 PM

... even a dimensionless point is something.

A point has no dimensions, it is a location, not a thing.  Where that location is, is immaterial.  A point is not a thing.  Stephen Hawking uses the South Pole as an analogy for a point.  It is the location where all the lines of longitude meet, but it’s a dimensionless location, not a thing.  There is “nothing” south of the South Pole.

 
 
bbearren
 
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04 February 2018 19:58
 
Nhoj Morley - 04 February 2018 07:36 PM

What about all of the vast expanses of existence that we know must exist but are completely unknowable to us?

We can only speculate as to how to incorporate those things that exist that we can’t know about into our daily lives. Even if it’s ten billion lightyears away, some things must be important to somebody, right? We should relax and realize that any distant significance probably has some kind of local observer or ‘significance-detector’, which we don’t need to know about either.

If something truly did not exist, we would not know that it didn’t exist. What would be the point of not existing if everyone knows about it?

Any attempt to list things that do not exist is also to engage in a creative act. Thus negating the purpose of the list.

In order for God to possess all the usual ascribed attributes, His ‘existence’ would take the entire duration of universe to complete. All that God can hope for at best, for now, is a not-yet status. That is for the best, as any god-like God would go postal trying to wait for billions of years for something to be significant to to come along. Omnicience would have to include nicience of the ultimate pointlessness of nicience omni or otherwise.

Like many aspirations, you may find that being God isn’t what you really wanted. Sure, God’s got a great big universe and millions of cars and winged choirs to cater to His every whim. If we know that’s pathetic, then so does God.

Reality is a touchstone. Can you leave a mark?

Infinite is a quantity; eternal is not.  Eternal takes reality away from time.  The universe is purported to have a beginning; eternity has neither beginning nor end (see definition #4 below).

adjective
1. without beginning or end; lasting forever; always existing (opposed to temporal ).
2. perpetual; ceaseless; endless.
3. enduring; immutable.
4. Metaphysics. existing outside all relations of time; not subject to change.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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05 February 2018 00:49
 

It’s all about me.

No, really. Buckle in for word salad.

If my curiosity about final causes is intelligible than I think my own role as a solitary spectator stands out as the obvious reason for the existence of anything I can perceive. The fact that this is solipsistic doesn’t make it untrue. I collapse all wave functions with my squinty stink eye.

Of course ‘why’ questions in the absence of an agent do not impart insight into processes. It’s the ‘how’ that improves my understanding of the world. But I am, after all the manifestation of conscious awareness in the universe. I am in the world and not set apart from it. My quest for knowledge is contiguous and parallel with every other process in my body, my body is contiguous and analogous to its environment which is, of course the whole universe.

The proportion of elements in my body is the same as that of the largest spaces I can represent in my imagination. The capacity to question the nature of my circumstance rests on top of every other mystery I encounter. I am the un tethered agent of chaos. It is as I will it to be.

 
EN
 
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EN
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05 February 2018 04:48
 
bbearren - 04 February 2018 07:43 PM
EN - 04 February 2018 06:46 PM

... even a dimensionless point is something.

A point has no dimensions, it is a location, not a thing.  Where that location is, is immaterial.  A point is not a thing.  Stephen Hawking uses the South Pole as an analogy for a point.  It is the location where all the lines of longitude meet, but it’s a dimensionless location, not a thing.  There is “nothing” south of the South Pole.

A point has coordinates on a Cartesian graph.  If you want to call that “nothing”, be my guest.  South of the South Pole is absurd.  If you have to resort to the absurd to define “nothing”, well I guess you have something there.

 
bbearren
 
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bbearren
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05 February 2018 07:36
 
EN - 05 February 2018 04:48 AM
bbearren - 04 February 2018 07:43 PM
EN - 04 February 2018 06:46 PM

... even a dimensionless point is something.

A point has no dimensions, it is a location, not a thing.  Where that location is, is immaterial.  A point is not a thing.  Stephen Hawking uses the South Pole as an analogy for a point.  It is the location where all the lines of longitude meet, but it’s a dimensionless location, not a thing.  There is “nothing” south of the South Pole.

A point has coordinates on a Cartesian graph.  If you want to call that “nothing”, be my guest.  South of the South Pole is absurd.  If you have to resort to the absurd to define “nothing”, well I guess you have something there.

It’s a Stephen Hawking quote.  There’s a link to his talk in an earlier post of mine in this thread.

<<edit>> my bad - the link is in post #9 in your Probabilities thread.

[ Edited: 05 February 2018 07:45 by bbearren]
 
 
ubique13
 
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ubique13
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05 February 2018 11:25
 
jdrnd - 04 February 2018 07:17 AM

...Suspending my credulity for a moment and including the entitiy of God in the word “anything”.
Why is there even a God?


Even if I further suspend by critical thinking and embrace the notion that God exists infinitely forever, and that he had no beginning.
Why or how does such an entity exist.
God is a thing.
Even if things exist infinitely (i.e. “God”), why are there things”?

Why do things exist?

This is what drives philosophers. The why of it all. There is no answer. All we’ve got is incompleteness and uncertainty; and I say that with full awareness of how far-removed those concepts are from their context.

EN - 05 February 2018 04:48 AM
bbearren - 04 February 2018 07:43 PM
EN - 04 February 2018 06:46 PM

... even a dimensionless point is something.

A point has no dimensions, it is a location, not a thing.  Where that location is, is immaterial.  A point is not a thing.  Stephen Hawking uses the South Pole as an analogy for a point.  It is the location where all the lines of longitude meet, but it’s a dimensionless location, not a thing.  There is “nothing” south of the South Pole.

A point has coordinates on a Cartesian graph.  If you want to call that “nothing”, be my guest.  South of the South Pole is absurd.  If you have to resort to the absurd to define “nothing”, well I guess you have something there.

Try to imagine the first pictographs human beings would have been able to draw in the not-quite-figurative sand. It is not unreasonable to expect that some of the first which could be reproduced would have been a dot, a circle, a line segment, a square, and a triangle. If a Dedekind cut in mathematics is simply seen as the point on a Cartesian graph at which (0,0) exists, then geometry and logic are the basic precursors for all other science.

 

 
 
Jb8989
 
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Jb8989
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05 February 2018 14:12
 

God is a vague, self-defined notion that comes from personal experience. So it psychologically matches up perfectly with other concepts that are vague and difficult to grasp, like everything, infinity and eternity. Asking why about this stuff was either fun or a fool’s errand. It could have just remained harmless thought experiments until dipshits started writing books about omniscient beings and calling them true.

 
 
jdrnd
 
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jdrnd
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05 February 2018 17:22
 
EN - 04 February 2018 04:58 PM

There has to be something because there is no such thing as nothing.

I’m not sure that the answer to the question

              “Why does anything exist?

                          is

              “there is no such thing as nothing.

 
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