Mises writes:

Negation, the notion of the absence or nonexistence of something or of the denial of a proposition, is conceivable to the human mind.

But the notion of an absolute negation of everything, the representation of an absolute nothing, is beyond man’s comprehension.

The Lord, teaches the Bible, created the world out of nothing; but God himself was there from eternity and will be there in eternity, without a beginning and without an end. …

It follows that scientific research will never succeed in providing a full answer to what is called the riddles of the universe.

It can never show how out of an inconceivable nothing emerged all that is and how one day all that exists may again disappear and the “nothing” alone will remain. (Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science, 52-3)

Thus, nothingness is “inconceivable.” And it should be obvious that it is meaningless to talk about “complete nothingness.” Language itself falters. There “is” or “was” nothing? But when we use the verb “to be” we talk about existence. We cannot even say that “nothingness ‘is not’,” because is-not-ness, too, presupposes a non-existent essence, which still must have an ideal existence in somebody’s mind. A unicorn does not exist really, but it can exist ideally as, say, a phantasm, when we imagine it.

Nothingness is obviously a term of some kind, but it does not refer. The absence of both ideal and actual existence is therefore literally inconceivable, because one cannot conceive of something which cannot by definition be not only “out there” but in the mind, as well.

It may be objected that nothingness is indeed inconceivable, but it may still be possible. Start from “∀x” and delete from existence one object after another. At the end you will end up with nothing.

However, ∀x… iterates over actual things. Even if all such things were eliminated, there would still be ideal things, in particular necessary truths and possible worlds.

For example, under nothingness, it would still be true that 2 + 2 = 4; or that possibly, there exists a world just like the (formerly) actual world.

But the natural and proper place of ideal abstract objects is in a mind, being known by it. Now the human minds as real entities are contingent; and in fact we have one by one disappeared them, as per the procedure above. In addition, a human mind does not, by virtue of its mere potential infinity, know all possible worlds.

There must then be an actually infinite mind, call it G-mind, which exists necessarily and which knows and can contemplate all the necessary truths and all possibilities. Thus, such a mind cannot all of a sudden decide to disappear, because then we’d end up with “nothingness” which as we have seen is not at all meaningful.

The G-mind, too, is real, as distinct from its thoughts and propositions expressed by them. But we have banished all the reals. How does the G-mind escape destruction? Only if the subject-mind is numerically identical both to the object-understood (as all truths) and to the thought grasping these truths. In the G-mind, the ideal and the real coalesce. As we must retain all the ideals, the real G-mind is saved from certain doom, as it stays in existence by clinging perfectly tightly to the ideals against our attempts to produce nothingness.

And now, of course, we recognize that being as God.


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