Gertrude: To whom do you speak this?
Hamlet: Do you see nothing there?
Gertrude: Nothing at all, yet all that is I see.
Nothing is a noun, as in, “The world was created out of nothing.” Nothing is an adjective, as in, “I work nothing jobs to pay the rent.” Nothing is an adverb, as in, “You look nothing like your father.” Nothing is also a pronoun, as in, “What are you laughing at?” “Oh, nothing.”
Can we distinguish between seeing nothing and not seeing anything? If I’m outside on a sunny day and I close my eyes, I don’t see nothing. I see orange and red if my eyes are lightly closed. Close them harder and I see brownish-blue. If I am shut in a lightless room and I open my eyes, what do I see? Can the eye actually perceive total blackness, or is total blackness a product of complete not-seeing? Consider these: a seeing person stuck in a lightless room, a blind person, and a person whose eyes have been plucked out.
Or, the following scenarios:
1. A man goes to the doctor and explains that he felt a strange lump in his neck. After a brief exam, the doctor says, “I feel nothing.”
2. A woman wakes to a popping sound in the middle of the night. She nudges her husband and whispers, “Did you hear that? What was that?” He listens for a moment, then rolls over and says, “Nothing....it’s nothing.”
3. Months after a bitter breakup, a couple agrees to meet at a café. After a few minutes of pleasantries and banalities, one says, “You seem quiet.” The other replies, “You too,” and then, “I guess there’s nothing to talk about.”
4. After eight years of the Bush administration, Bill Clinton thinks back on his presidency and says, “I accomplished nothing.”
Sidney: "Now, for the poet, he nothing affirmeth, and therefore never lieth."
[Continue doing nothing...]