Qohen Leth, the protagonist of Zero Theorem, is a rather peculiar individual who spends his days anxiously awaiting for the phone call which holds the meaning of life. Like many other office drones employed by Mancom, Qohen is “crunching entities to bring order to disorder” in the hope of finding the solution to the mysterious Zero Theorem. In a connected world, those who choose to become disconnected from society are able to pierce through the superficiality of the modern world and end up seeing through the nonsensical messages that those in power desperately attempt to sell. As a result of such detachment, physical reality ultimately appears as loud, feverish, intrusive, and exhaustingly meaningless. Qohen’s city is filled with rundown buildings, mind controlling advertisements, and colorful people who sound insane and all look the same. Eventually, Qohen discovers that the Zero Theorem is nothing more than a mathematical formula which will prove the meaninglessness of life. Ironically, Qohen’s obsession with uncovering the meaning of life causes him to lead a meaningless life. In the end, everything is nothing and pure consciousness is the only reality.
This movie made me realize that deception is a necessary feature of human existence. We live in a delusional state of awareness, using our minds to filter meaning in a perpetual attempt to ignore our sense of powerlessness. Science itself is nothing more than a consistent method for doubting and scientific efforts can only make us sure that we can never be sure, under no circumstances knowing what we truly know. Scientists construct a fantasy for us that is logically consistent but upon skeptical examination is filled with nothing more than contradictions.
Despite human predilection for positive thinking, negative truths are more fundamental than positive truths. It is no accident that all logical connectives are defined by the NAND operator. Because negation is mentally difficult to accept, we are steered towards the danger of drawing existential conclusions from our own psychological preferences. Yet, the wound of non-meaning is inevitable. Nothing matters and our existential angst is before nothing. In philosophy, we become ensnared by the explanatory trap of deducing the existence of something by relying on the existence of something else. There is no logical bridge from nothing to being, unless we rely on existential premises. Hence, our existence is trapped in an infinite regress where space is contained in higher space and time dated with another time. In the end, the metaphysical bias for simplicity, when taken to its logical conclusion, takes us to nonexistence.
Certain interpretations of quantum physics seem to support this view. According to the holographic principle, the universe consists of 2D information encoded on a light-like boundary, such as a gravitational horizon. Every object contains information through its particle arrangement and, upon crossing the event horizon of a black hole, that information is captured and encoded on the surface of the black hole. But what type of information is it? The division of particles into sub particles has to stop at some level with the smallest fundamental particle being a 0 or a 1, that is, a bit of information. On a quantum scale, bits are everywhere at once. They are dimensionless, motionless, and lack an absolute location. Extending this concept to the whole universe makes it nothing more than the projection of distant data. The macroscopic scales and low energies that make up our perceived reality cause us to observe three dimensions. Nevertheless, as Einstein stated, “Reality is only an illusion, albeit a persistent one.”
It is likely that in our everlasting quest for knowledge all we are going to discover is that we are trapped in this illusion of space and time, just like insects in amber. Like Qohen, we are going from nowhere to nothing. And true freedom can only be attained through the realization of nothingness. Life is nothing more than a movie projected onto the big screen. Nothing is real. All there exists is the sound of silence.