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OfflineRhizoid
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Regarding the formless void
    #1541336 - 05/12/03 11:40 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

I was thinking about the old distinction between substance and form. If we have many layers of abstraction in our description of reality, the line between substance and form can be placed at various positions depending on which level of abstraction we are looking at. For example, we can talk about water as a substance, and its different states and manifestations as the forms of water. Or we can look at a particular drop of water falling from a cloud, and talk about the different geometric shapes it takes on during its path to the ground. In that case the substance is a particular small volume of water, and the form is its shape at a specific instant. Or we can narrow it down to the drop of water when it has a certain shape, and talk about the various internal arrangements of molecules that happen while the drop maintains that particular shape. Then the "form" consists of the internal arrangement of molecules (what physicists call the microstate) and the "substance" is water in a specific amount and with a specific shape.

So how far can we push this line between form and substance, in either direction? It's easy to push it in the direction that reduces the amount of available forms. In extreme end of that direction, the "substance" is the exact state of the entire universe, and there are no alternative forms to consider. Everything is contained in this version of substance. It is an undivided whole.

The other extreme is when every little detail in the state of the universe is part of the "form" of some ultimate underlying substance. What are the properties of such a substance? It's hard to say, because it depends on what forms it can take apart from the forms we have seen (i.e. the observed universe) and the forms we think are possible. But it is safe to say that this is a very generic substance. It isn't pure emptiness or nothingness, because that would contradict the fact that the entire universe right now is an instance of this substance. It is a substance that has the potential to be anything that can exist. And it is by definition formless, because it is at the extreme end of the scale where every "form" that can be sucked out of "substance" has been sucked out, so to speak. The substance that is left is what I think of as the Void, but it isn't really "void", it's just very special...


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OfflineAislingGheal
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Re: Regarding the formless void [Re: Rhizoid]
    #1543369 - 05/13/03 12:18 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)


"The other extreme is when every little detail in the state of the universe is part of the "form" of some ultimate underlying substance. What are the properties of such a substance? It's hard to say, because it depends on what forms it can take apart from the forms we have seen (i.e. the observed universe) and the forms we think are possible. But it is safe to say that this is a very generic substance. It isn't pure emptiness or nothingness, because that would contradict the fact that the entire universe right now is an instance of this substance. It is a substance that has the potential to be anything that can exist. And it is by definition formless, because it is at the extreme end of the scale where every "form" that can be sucked out of "substance" has been sucked out, so to speak. The substance that is left is what I think of as the Void, but it isn't really "void", it's just very special..."

I find this idea very appealing, an ultimate form out of which all various forms unfold from and eventually return to.



--------------------

"I hate having to pick between the lesser of two evils. But I'm glad Obama was elected. McCain was another war monger. I'd rather deal with our country going into debt than trying to take on afghanistan...oh wait FUCK!" - Fungus_tao


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OfflineMurex
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Re: Regarding the formless void [Re: Rhizoid]
    #1543671 - 05/13/03 01:25 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Aether?


--------------------
What if everything around you
Isn't quite as it seems?
What if all the world you think you know,
Is an elaborate dream?
And if you look at your reflection,
Is it all you want it to be?



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OfflineRhizoid
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Re: Regarding the formless void [Re: Murex]
    #1544559 - 05/13/03 10:45 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Aether comes to mind, but it's a tricky word because it has a lot of old assocations, like aether being the fifth element and so on. I like the old sanskrit word "akasha" though, which is supposed to be the ultimate substance underlying all matter, if my understanding of hindu philosophy is correct, which it probably isn't :smile:

And "sunyata" is another sanskrit word that may be even more fitting. At least in the way this word is used in the buddhist tradition.

The vacuum of quantum physics is also something that comes to mind, because it seems to contain anything that can happen (at least in the quantum realm) in the form of superpositions of all possible field excitations. But we don't know yet if this the quantum vacuum as we know it is the ultimate "void" or if it's just a manifestation of some even more fundamental thing. This is an area of speculation until we know more about how time and space and gravity works at the quantum level.
   


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