The Names of the Nothing


Every discourse about the nothing seems fully and ultimately empty. However, this cannot be true precisely because it is language – that is, discourse – which always brings forth the nothing, the word of the “Nothing”. The language therefore speaks about the nothing and perhaps also “speaks nothing”. In its primary – and abstract – appearance, the nothing is precisely “that” “which” it is not. However, its word is still there in the words of most languages (for we cannot know all). What is more, since it is not, at a first sight all the nothing has is its word, its name... and this is precisely what protrudes. But the word of the nothing utters in language only that which has no being. That is therefore not just any kind of negation, but the negation of being, the name of the negation of being. The “nothing” is therefore the mere word of the negation of being. Which lives standing in languages. As deeply that its translation presents no problems. The German ¬¬das Nichts can be translated unproblematically to the English nothing, the French rien or néant, the Slavic nić, the Romanian nimic or the Hungarian semmi, etc. However, if we go on deeper into the problem, it shows that, despite the unproblematic translation, being and (its) negation articulates in different ways in the names of the nothing. The writing analyses this in detail, with special emphasis of the Hungarian word of Nothing [Semmi]. It concludes by initiating a philosophical dialogue with a poem of Attila József.

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István Király V.
Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj (PhD)

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