There is a vault that is empty. Nothing is kept there. It is only kept to misdirect and so thwart thieves, slowing them down so they can be caught. There is absolutely nothing inside.
Of course, that’s not strictly true. There is air inside the vault, and if the air were removed, there would still be quantum vacuum energy mediating forces such as gravity and electromagnetism. Even without energy or matter of any kind, there would still be space and time, meaningless and immeasurable as they might be under those circumstances. Normally, this is nothing enough, but there is a still deeper nothing.
There is a nothing devoid of anything that may be named, not only a physical nothing, but a metaphysical state without even abstractions. It lacks definitions, arithmetic, and morality. It lacks all states, including itself. It doesn’t exist. Yet even this nothing is known and described in contrast to existence. It cannot be known except as a lack of something, and so requires something in order to be nothing, but there is an even deeper nothing.
This is the nothing that would exist if there never was any something to contrast it to – no facts, no probability, no names, no existence, no space, no time. This nothing can never be described or even named. For it to “exist” means that nothing else can exist, including the concept of existence itself. It is not even nothing.
Yet, I now find myself describing it to you as if it were a real thing. How is this possible? You see, those thieves took something from that empty vault. They took not even nothing, bringing it into our perception and running off with it. Now that they have it, they have no existence. Yet, at the same time, they lack even nonexistence. My name is Andrew Goshen and I’m the officer assigned to this bizarre case. My job is to find these thieves, bring them to justice, and return what they stole. But how can one capture those that never existed, and who is to say that the nothing hasn’t already been returned? This is my story.