A whole lotta Nothing

It’s true that I introduced the notion of “Wu” quite superficially and off-handedly in my first article Ex Sistere and then said no more about it, other than my position that “Wu” is the before-the-big-bang.

But that’s bad form. In truth, I wanted to get on to other concepts. Now it’s time to go back and look at things again.

Way, way back. Back to when the universe was a trillion times smaller than the dot at the end of this sentence. I’m talking t=0, not t=1×10^-99.

The Universe was hardly a quiver, barely a tremor. Now go back just that little bit more; to t=-1×10^-99, to when all is still and unmoving.

Whoops! You actually went back too far. You went back to t=-10^99! How to do you get back from there to here? Well, you could at least go half-way, right? Ok, so go ahead. Look around you. Did you even move? You still seem just as far away to me. Try again. Ah, so now you’re at t=-2×10-99.

What’s this game I’m playing with you? Well, it’s to show you that before the big bang, neither space nor time had any relevant meaning – they didn’t exist, couldn’t exist. Everything was sameness in every possible dimension.

And it could have stayed that way for a million trillion years or a million trillionths of a second – we’d have no way of knowing.

You’re in ‘irrelational’ space-time, pure and whole “Wu”, nothing-and-everything, absolute isotropy, pure topological symmetry.

And yet it exists! It more-than-exists even, because this is that from which existence (our existence) emerges. And we know something happened to get us out of this sameness because we’re here to wonder about such things.

Now, I can’t honestly say something like “Well, obviously “Wu” didn’t ‘like’ staying the same because it changed and the big bang happened” because attributing such a sentiment (as an analogy for the inherent instability of ‘Wu’) means I’m thinking that ‘Wu’ didn’t last long – but I’m forgetting that it also lasted eternally (we’ve got to abandon time-related words!). So I could equally dishonestly say “‘Wu’ loved being the same and it’s astonishing to think that it changed at all.” A religious person might be inclined to think that their God is what/who ‘tipped the scale’ and pushed ‘Wu’ to change.

But we must be aware that tergiversating about ‘how long Wu lasted’ is sheer wrong-headedness!

The key is to think that Wu always was, yes, but it still is. It’s to realize not only was Wu perfect sameness but it is also the most fundamental ‘stuff’ everywhere, right now.

How can that be? Well, for starters we’re finally beginning to ask the right questions.

Ex Sistere

The etymology of the word “Existence” is described as follows (from Wikipedia):


The word “existence” comes from the Latin word exsistere meaning “to appear”, “to arise”, “to become”, or “to be”, but literally, it means “to stand out” (ex- being the Latin prefix for “out” added to the Latin verb stare, meaning “to stand”).[6]


Imagine our Most Recent Common Ancestor – some ape-like humanoid quietly munching shoots in the lower branches of some African tree. Lazily, it looks out over the plains to watch the swaying grass. It blows in the wind. Nothing remarkable, no reason to worry. There’s ‘nothing’ there.

Suddenly, a tuft of tall grass moves in the opposite way than the rest. Something’s there! Whatever it is, our MRCA sounds the alarm. Whoops go up into the hot air, and the tribe moves into higher branches, scooping up the kids in the process.

And we were right. There was something there. A big cat – a sabre-toothed tiger or something.


We are conditioned to notice what stands-out from the background. What we can’t see isn’t there. And that’s wrong… ish. While it’s true that to us Existence is “what is different”, we mustn’t ignore everything else. The Taoists knew that.

The Chinese word “Wu” to the Taoists is sort-of ‘Nothing’, but it’s also ‘Everything’. It is that from which yin-yang is born. It is the empty ‘circle’ around the yin-yang symbol. It is Zero.

I posit that “Wu” is the before-Big-Bang, if I can call it that. So when we ask “Why is there something from nothing?” our notion of “nothing” is actually “Everything”… And while it doesn’t make answering it any easier, it does break us out of our animal-thinking and maybe sets us on a different path.