Any discussions involving nothing will immediately lead to a paradox yet for some reason we use the word nothing all the time. Those of you mathematicians out there, of which I certainly am not, have devised a nice mathematically representation of nothing which they call zero (0). Well could you please explain something to me? Okay by the definition of nothing (0) and the definition of 1. I will agree that 1 + 0 = 1. Which only makes sense, we are taught if Joe has 1 apple and I give him no apples (or take no apples from him) than Joe still has 1 apple. Even I, with my limited mathematical knowledge understand that, what I don't understand is 1 X 0 = 0. I was told to memorize it since the third grade. The definition of X is to add the number (in this case 1) 0 times. If I put that into English I would be saying this: Joe has 1 apple and he never(0) adds no (0) apples to it so he now has no(0) apples. Okay, so I agree that 0 X 0 must be 0 because that statements says: I have nothing and I never add nothing to it at all (which is a double negative in English) so I still have nothing. By the mathematicians very words he eliminates a definition for never dividing nothing up. (0/0). From what I do know about mathematics everything must solve (0/0) since all objects of any kind X 0 = 0. All I'm saying is we base a great deal of mathematics on a paradoxal concept which even leads to error's in English such as the above double negative. As a matter of fact a computer does not even understand this concept of nothing and will undoubtedly complain should I ask it to tell me (0/0). Calculators do the same thing.
Well I still didn't tell you what nothing is have I? (that sounds like an interesting statement) When all else fails, when all idea's have been exhausted, when thought breaks down into elementary concepts, and when we are absent from all we know to be TRUE what is left then is nothing.
You can't touch it, you can't smell it, you will never see it but it "exists" nevertheless. What is between any two objects in a vacuum? The moral is be VERY careful when using a concept such as nothing.
Okay the last concepts I wish to discuss is the word GOOD and the word RIGHT. These are two other concepts that the dictionary conveniently jumps around on. RIGHT I think I can easily define because I have already defined TRUTH. In this book what is RIGHT is what is held to be TRUE. Keep in mind that this means that RIGHT is as individual as TRUTH and it is not collectable as society might make it appear to be. We only make it appear so because we do function in a society and as such we must "bend" the "truth" so everyone will believe one thing is RIGHT and another is WRONG.
The concept of Good is a difficult one because it involves some emotional assumptions that won't be discussed in detail until later in this book. An individual does GOOD when he/she commits an ACT believed to be RIGHT, also believing the consequence of that ACT to be RIGHT and furthermore having a "feeling" that the ACT benefits people as a whole. The "feeling" is the most important part of this definition because we "feel" Good when we do Good.
I hope your not bored with all this defining business but just look at it as bookkeeping so later on when you disagree with something I've said you can just go back to the definition and try and see it from my point of view. Of course you must agree with my definitions and I hopefully have convinced you of their validity. Here is the biggest application of my definition, which is the scope of this entire book. In other words if you skipped this entire chapter you should READ at least this part:
All knowledge in any form, whether spoken, written, acted, once it has ended you are left thinking. This is the key of a good story but after a while that thinking subsides and other things enter your mind. I want to leave you thinking with this book and continue thinking the rest of you life this is DOW. The end result of all knowledge is the same if we think about it long enough. From Stephen Hawking, to All My Children, to Sesame Street. They all DO the same thing. They all invoke thought and when we invoke thought we open up worlds which otherwise would never be possible.
Well I hope you can see how one definition can spawn a number of different things about life. I should stress that I am not saying we should let everyone out of prison just because they'll promise to be good. However when a person really does believe they can feel remorse...when they really do feel it of there own accord and when they are prepared to re-enter society then those people deserve the a chance to start over because those are the people who will not go back to prison and those are the people who have earned it. It just takes some longer than others.