On Being: Being in Time: Nothing

Music: Chaconne from the Suite in E Flat.
By Gustav Holst. Sequenced by George Pollen.

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Nicholas Gordon

1. Nothing is a pseudo-concept in that it refers to what by definition does not exist.

2. When we say, "Nothing is there," we mean that nothing we were looking for, or expected to find, is there.

3. Similarly, nothingness refers to a state before the creation of an identity or after its demise, but only in the sense that the identity we were looking for is not where we were looking for it.

4. To consciousness, however, everything is not, is, and then is not. Is, is a fleeting moment. Is not, is eternal.

5. Within time, then, nothingness is at the heart of being, the ultimate reality, the only thing that lasts.

6. Time is so thoroughly a part of the experience of consciousness that it sometimes seems as though being itself may at some time not have been and perhaps at some time in the future will not be. But this is merely by analogy to consciousness itself, and upon reflection its lack of sense is apparent.


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