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59741Re: shaping nothing

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  • Mary
    May 2, 2013
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      Hello Jim,

      The Zizek quotes are from "Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism" Verso 2012.

      If what we experience are appearances expressing universal ideas, though something, they appear out of nothing. However, illusory being is the only being we have. Something and Nothing both exist as necessary conditions for one another. Nothing is often capitalized to indicate the concept rather than the feeling of nothingness associated with existential anxiety. Previous to reading Hegel I thought absolute Nothing was merely theoretical and only Being was, but my current understanding of Nothing is derived from Hegel's Science of Logic quoted as follows:

      A. BEING
      Being, pure being, without any further determination. In its indeterminate immediacy it is equal only to itself. It is also not unequal relatively to an other; it has no diversity within itself nor any with a reference outwards. It would not be held fast in its purity if it contained any determination or content which could be distinguished in it or by which it could be distinguished from an other. It is pure indeterminateness and emptiness. There is nothing to be intuited in it, if one can speak here of intuiting; or, it is only this pure intuiting itself. Just as little is anything to be thought in it, or it is equally only this empty thinking. Being, the indeterminate immediate, is in fact nothing, and neither more nor less than nothing.(Hegel, Science of Logic §132)

      B. NOTHING
      Nothing, pure nothing: it is simply equality with itself, complete emptiness, absence of all determination and content — undifferentiatedness in itself. In so far as intuiting or thinking can be mentioned here, it counts as a distinction whether something or nothing is intuited or thought. To intuit or think nothing has, therefore, a meaning; both are distinguished and thus nothing is (exists) in our intuiting or thinking; or rather it is empty intuition and thought itself, and the same empty intuition or thought as pure being. Nothing is, therefore, the same determination, or rather absence of determination, and thus altogether the same as, pure being. (§133)

      C. BECOMING
      Pure Being and pure nothing are, therefore, the same. What is the truth is neither being nor nothing, but that being — does not pass over but has passed over — into nothing, and nothing into being. But it is equally true that they are not undistinguished from each other, that, on the contrary, they are not the same, that they are absolutely distinct, and yet that they are unseparated and inseparable and that each immediately vanishes in its opposite. Their truth is therefore, this movement of the immediate vanishing of the one into the other: becoming, a movement in which both are distinguished, but by a difference which has equally immediately resolved itself. (§134)

      Mary

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hi Mary,
      >
      > I struggle to make sense of the Zizek quotes – which of his books are you quoting from?
      >
      > In particular the following quote does not seem satisfactory to me:
      >
      > ...The answer to "Why is there Something rather than Nothing" is thus that there IS only Nothing, and all processes take place "from Nothing through Nothing to Nothing." (p.38)
      >
      > Surely this is not correct. I know there is something – myself, my family, my keyboard, my desk, my flat, my work colleagues. So Zizek is wrong to say there is only nothing.
      >
      > And why does he spell nothing with a capital `N'?
      >
      > A perplexed Jim
      >
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