In the article “Nothingness Smackdown, http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=4509 “, the author wrote, “The big debate here is over what one means by “nothingness”, which seems to me characterizable as nothing of interest.”
The number zero (0) has very rich internal structure, and I will discuss this in the future posts. Yet, the greatness about “nothing or nothingness” was understood by the ancients, both in the West and the East. As most of the Westerners does not know about the “nothing” of the East, I will discuss it today.
In China, there are two words, at least, for “nothing”.
1. 兀 (nothing), it is composed as 一 (meaning Heaven, or the universe) “over” 儿 (a baby). So, 兀 is a baby (儿) who is not coming out (as still "under" 一) to this universe yet. 兀 is “nothing” (a state of nothing) which will come into being in the future. This “nothing” is a state before “something”.
2. 無 (nothing), it has three radicals. The top one is chi, meaning smoke here. The middle is a bound-book. The bottom is fire. This character 無 depicts a scene of a bound-book which is burnt into smoke. That is, “something” has become “nothing”.
These two characters were invented over two thousand years ago, and they symbolize two aspects of the “nothing”, the source of creation (of something) and the destiny of "something".