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August 9, 2012 / diannegray

Ideas and Nothingness

I just happened to catch part of a show on television the other night about antimatter (this automatically makes me a subject matter expert).

Putting it simply (I need to visualise so I can understand it) antimatter can be explained by watching someone digging a hole. The pile of dirt they have dug out of the hole is ‘matter’ and the hole left behind is the opposite, or ‘antimatter’.

So, (stay with me here) if the hole is filled back in – the hole and the pile of dirt negate each other and both cease to exist.

This notion got my mind racing. Does this mean – for everything that exists there is an equal part missing? (Quantum physicists – please feel free to throw your science books at the computer screen now).

If this is the case, my thoughts turned to ideas for stories – because we all know the universe revolves around writing.

Where do our ideas come from? Every time I have an idea, am I digging out a spadeful from the ‘ideas’ territory of the universe? Does this idea go onto the ‘ideas pile’ and therefore leave an ‘anti-idea’ in its place?

Before my head explodes with this thought (and implodes elsewhere in the antimatter antiworld) I’ll get back to the word ‘idea’ itself.

According to my synonym checker, ‘idea’ means ‘thought, design, plan, scheme, suggestion, proposal, initiative, inspiration’. Unfortunately, the antonym checker isn’t as forthcoming with a definition.

Any word gurus out there who can tell me the antonym of ‘idea’?

Anyway – I get an idea to write a story. My story could be about the very subject of antimatter (oops, sorry – Dan Brown’s already dug that out). Or it could be about the end of world (oops, it’s 2012 – authors have dug out so much of that, readers are now tripping over their antimatter antishadows to get away from it). Or I could write about erotica (no – I tried that once and it ended up a comedy. I must have misjudged with the spade).

This leaves me wondering if there are any ideas left to dig out. But here comes the good news – apparently matter (and therefore antimatter) is limitless, which means there must be an infinitesimal amount of ideas in the universal soil just waiting for that spade to crunch though.

So next time you read something and think, why the hell didn’t I think of that? rest assured that there are plenty more spadefuls left for us all – though we might just have to dig a little deeper.


Leave a Comment
  1. cunningstuff / Aug 9 2012 6:57 pm

    I liked this musing, and unlike particle physics, I can follow it. My understanding of the antimatter is that there IS an imbalance, towards matter, thus the sparse availability of antimatter scones. As far as an anti idea, I would say 8 hours of work at any retail job is the negative version of an idea. And thanks for the like!


    • diannegray / Aug 9 2012 7:45 pm

      Oh, Cunning – you made me laugh!

      Eight hours at work – why didn’t I think of that? 😀


  2. kezalu / Aug 9 2012 7:30 pm

    So, let me see if I’ve got this right: If I take the dirty clothes out of my son’s bedroom, and then I put them back in, they will cease to exist?


    • diannegray / Aug 9 2012 7:49 pm

      YES, Kezza! *going into my son’s bedroom now*

      Next – the kitchen 🙂


  3. Cajetane / Aug 9 2012 7:55 pm

    um…could the antonym to idea be writer’s block?


  4. tranquilspace / Aug 9 2012 8:10 pm

    This is something I think about a lot. There’s a great book called The Cosmic Code by Heinz Pagels that is probably getting a bit old now, but there are lots of concepts in there that totally explain the world. You know, like the observation affecting the outcome etc. My personal take on ideas is that there aren’t really any new ones, just new(ish) presentations. And they are out there like an asteroid field. That’s why they hit us so hard sometimes. Love the premise of The Everything Theory. Will be checking that out!


    • diannegray / Aug 9 2012 8:56 pm

      Thanks, Deirdre. I’m going to be looking for The Cosmic Code – I love those conceptual theories.

      Glad you had a look at The Everything Theory 😀


  5. paigenolley / Aug 9 2012 8:20 pm

    This made me smile. Thank you.
    And thanks for stopping by my blog too!

    As to antimatter… My understanding is that there are equal amounts of matter and antimatter in our infinite universe. I watched something on the Discovery channel, so i must be a quantum astrophysicist or something. 🙂

    And, perhaps, the antonym of idea could be television…


    • diannegray / Aug 9 2012 9:04 pm

      Thanks, Paige 🙂

      I’m glad we’re both experts!

      I love that thought – television = anti-idea (we must be related) 😀


      • paigenolley / Aug 9 2012 9:10 pm

        Only if your name here is also a pseudonym. 😉 Of course, according to the Eve theory (the scientific one worked out by geneticists, not the religious one) all humans are descendant from one African female… So, assuming that’s true, we’re definitely related.


  6. bulldogsturf / Aug 9 2012 8:39 pm

    actuality; fact; reality; substance are all given as possible opposites of Idea… but I have no idea what the answer is, does that mean that I have none of those or does it mean I have all… damn now I’m so confused that I again have no idea…
    Well what worries me the most… when I take money out of the bank, and put it back again it ceases to exist… no wonder the ATM keeps saying there are no funds…


    • diannegray / Aug 9 2012 9:20 pm

      Seriously laughing so much I’m getting a pain in the side!

      Actuality, fact, reality & substance are all material so are the antithesis of idea, yet if you have no idea what the answer is then you must have the answer!

      Maybe the solution to the bank is to never put it back again (and take stage left to Argentina) 🙂


      • bulldogsturf / Aug 9 2012 10:05 pm

        “if you have no idea what the answer is then you must have the answer!” my talk about confusion.. no wonder I can’t get a job with NASA… Argentina… mmmmm… thanks for the tip… maybe my next post is about the South American dancing birds… Rio or so…


      • diannegray / Aug 9 2012 11:10 pm

        My sister and her kids are going to Argentina next week (probably why it popped into my mind). I was actually trying to think of the best golf course in the world in my response to you, but the only one I know is St Andrews (and that didn’t sound as ‘tax free’ an escape as Argentina)
        Get a pic of those dancing birds 🙂


  7. anangelsshareblog / Aug 9 2012 11:17 pm

    I enjoyed the post and the musings. I love thinking about these things and always enjoy finding kindred spirits! Many thanks Dianne!


    • diannegray / Aug 10 2012 7:31 am

      Thank you, Terry. I’m just ducking over to your page now to check out the podcast 🙂


  8. ly / Aug 10 2012 12:01 am

    Wow!! Your post and all of these comments have definitely put a bright spot in my day!!! All of us right brained people trying to deal with those left brained theories–or do I have that backwards. Oh…it just hit me…do those cancel out and leave me no brained? That could explain a great deal of what has been going on in my world of late!!!


    • diannegray / Aug 10 2012 7:25 am

      HAAAAAA – “Oh…it just hit me…do those cancel out and leave me no brained?” Now I’m laughing again!

      I love the workings of the creative minds on this site. If ever I’m having a bad day and need cheering up, I’m going to make sure I come back to this post and re-read this!

      Thank you, Ly 😀


  9. 1girl4adamwest / Aug 10 2012 1:46 am

    This is GREAT!!! I’m going back up to read again!!!


  10. ann rich duncan / Aug 10 2012 3:05 am

    Dianne, thanks for the “like” on my blog. I’m honored. Enjoyed yours.


    • diannegray / Aug 10 2012 7:10 am

      My pleasure – looking forward to reading ‘The Seed’! 🙂


  11. Bonnie at {PaperKeeper} / Aug 10 2012 3:06 am

    Fabulous! You got my mind in a twist and then gently, perfectly unfolded it and made me feel good at the end. Brilliant!


    • diannegray / Aug 10 2012 7:12 am

      Hahaha – thanks, Bonnie. I would’nt have been happy if I’d left your mind in a twist 🙂


  12. Janna Noelle / Aug 10 2012 6:52 am

    Hi Dianne,
    Great post! I love this – quantum physics always makes my brain hurt, but in a good way, like a good workout. Plus, I agree that the universe revolves around writing. Here’s a thought: maybe the idea is the anti-matter and the work that results from it the matter. After all, ideas are kind of amorphous and everywhere, but completed stories are concrete and direct result of the idea that inspired them.


    • diannegray / Aug 10 2012 7:15 am

      Woo hooo, Janna! What a star! Love this 🙂

      (sure you’re not a physicist?)


  13. scepticalprophet / Aug 10 2012 1:22 pm

    Hey Dianne!

    I think you watched a documentary called “Does God Exist?” featuring Stephen Hawking. The digging a hole analogy was made up by Hawking to explain why the universe doesn’t require a God to be created because we are not “creating something from nothing”. For every something in this universe, there’s an equal anti-something that negates it, so the net effect of our universe is simply zero – something was not created from nothing, it just got split into two parts (like +x -x = 0).

    You actually posed a tough question there. At first, I thought a writer’s block could be something like the antonym of an idea, but then I realised that a writer’s block just means no more ideas whereas an anti-idea would have to actively suck the idea out of you (a reverse idea?). Closest I could think of was amnesia or Alzheimer’s, but that just sounds like an illness rather than an antonym.

    Love the post, it specifically falls into my two niches – science and writing.

    Anyway, thanks for following my blog! I’ll return the favour; always nice to have a successful writer nearby.


    • diannegray / Aug 10 2012 4:34 pm

      I was reading your about page and you sound like a very interesting person! You’re right, it was Stephen Hawking, but as I said I really only caught part of it (I don’t really like television – it’s just an annoyance that hubby does while I’m sitting back writing!)

      I enjoy posing questions and used to belong to a group called ‘The Panel’ (before the real ‘Panel’ on the television) where we would meet every weekend and pose questions and enjoy some wine while we were at it! The people in the group had varied backgrounds from scientists to farmers, but we came up with some highly intriguing concepts (ah – those were the days)!

      Best of luck with your opus – 120,000 words is a mammoth effort! I’m looking forward to follow your blog 🙂


  14. reverendapplebottom / Aug 10 2012 1:50 pm

    I know zilch about matter and anti matter, but my grey matter nevertheless enjoyed reading this! Now for that cuppa coffee and in depth Googling and Wiki-ing on this subject.


    • diannegray / Aug 10 2012 4:38 pm

      Glad you liked it (gets that grey matter moving!)

      Enjoy your coffee (now I feel like one!)


  15. Amanda Lohan / Aug 10 2012 6:30 pm

    I don’t know why I wasn’y signed up already? Too absorbed in my own little microcosm I suspect!

    As for the antonym of “idea”… I’m going to have to suggest “brain fart”. In other words, the useless rubbish your brain spits out when it’s not spitting out an idea…


    • diannegray / Aug 10 2012 7:00 pm

      HAAAAAAAAA! What is it about fart jokes that makes me laugh so much? (because they’re funny and sometimes unexpected) 😀

      Good luck with your Maccas night. Don’t forget the pickle on the burger 🙂


  16. foroneplease / Aug 10 2012 8:23 pm

    oooooo…. this explains why some times after reading some one else’s words, I’ve felt..”hey wait, I thought of that first!” We were probably digging in the same place 😉 teehee. love your article!


    • diannegray / Aug 10 2012 9:03 pm

      They must have been! Next time you’re digging just push them out of the way!

      Get better soon!


  17. Anna Scott Graham / Aug 10 2012 11:09 pm

    This is FANTASTIC!! All of it, from start to finish. The highlights? That you watched part of a show and are an expert, the erotica inclusion, and well, everything in between.

    Sometimes when a new idea hits, for seconds I think “Nah…” But everything really is a rehash of something else (mildly of course); it’s what our take is upon it, what part of our matter overrides another viewpoint.

    If I end up writing something related to anti-matter, expected to be thanked profusely! I feel like an expert already. 🙂


    • diannegray / Aug 11 2012 7:31 am

      Thanks Anna! I sometimes sit around with friends and say ‘hey, I’ve got this idea’ and the response is usually ‘no that’s been done’ 😦

      So it really IS just our take on an idea until that one in a million that hasn’t been dug out before comes along!

      I really hope you write about antimatter (now we’re both experts) 🙂


  18. Shakti Ghosal / Aug 10 2012 11:18 pm

    I was passing by and was halted by your thought process, Indeed if we were to take forward the notion of, ” For everything , there is an anti-something”, for every idea, which in fact is a creation, there should be an anti- creation ( anti-idea). As I think of this some more, I can visualise that this may indeed be happening. As we create, our thoughts do get chanellised through a particular funnel. Which would imply that we become imprevious to contra- creations ( read ideas) whcih may be equally applicable, After all, what are possibilities?

    Taking this argument onto another dimension, I may conjecture that any action ( Or thought) taking place any where in the world ( nay, Universe!) would lead to consequences, through inaction, non- thought on my part. In that sense, I am responsible for anything and everything taking place due to the sheer fact that I exist in this space.

    Phew!! Nonetheless, loved this train of thought…



    • diannegray / Aug 11 2012 7:45 am

      Thanks Shakti. It’s nice to hear you were halted by my thought process 😀

      Your thought process taking it to another level reminds me of the butterfly effect (or anti-butterfly effect, which may in fact lead to the creation of a future post!). Your existence has the effect of both taking and giving in the universe. I hope I give more than I take, but unfortunately if both matter and antimatter is equal – I may very well end up being negated at the end of this story called life!

      Thank you for your great comment 🙂


  19. starproms / Aug 11 2012 4:18 am

    I think we give each other ideas. For example, I read someone’s blog and something they wrote sparks off an idea in my own head. Sometimes I sit and think up scenarios and it’s amazing where that can lead…


    • diannegray / Aug 11 2012 7:59 am

      Totally agree! Even a couple of comments I’ve received have given me ideas for future blogs. Maybe we could even write about how this process happens – posts leading to future posts!


      • starproms / Aug 11 2012 6:10 pm

        Yes, that would be fun, wouldn’t it!


  20. littletash / Aug 11 2012 7:15 am

    What a lovely way to think of things. I’ve been feeling a little idea-less lately, so I like the thought that I just need to pick up my shovel and create some empty space in which to find some stories. 🙂


    • diannegray / Aug 11 2012 8:02 am

      Good idea Tash! Hope you dig out something you like 🙂


  21. anonoymousandarmed / Aug 11 2012 8:30 am

    😮 this explains my poem ‘i lost myself’…:) interesting post. like it


  22. Kate / Aug 11 2012 12:15 pm

    First, I love that your attempt at writing erotica came out as comedy. I think if I had any attempt to do the same, it would wind up the same way.:D

    Second, this post gave me a little tingle of excitement as one of those people fascinated with the whole idea of quantum physics while understanding pretty much nothing about it. My WIP is all about significance and patterns (kind of a humorous metaphysical detective story) and you’ve planted a few idea seeds for where I can take this crazy ride. So, thanks!

    And I’m not sure idea has an opposite, not every word does. But I guess the closest is some kind of mental stasis… maybe. Or not.


    • diannegray / Aug 11 2012 3:07 pm

      Hi, Kate! So glad this made a few ideas pop into your head – that’s wonderful!

      I try to write erotica and it’s just hilarious and I try to write comedy and it always ends up very dark – I’m so contradictory!

      Thank you for the great comment 🙂


      • Kate / Aug 11 2012 3:25 pm

        Hehe, a kind of anti-writing. 🙂


  23. matthewhaighpoetry / Aug 14 2012 10:50 am

    Thank you for the like! Really enjoyed this post.



    • diannegray / Aug 14 2012 11:01 am

      Thanks Matt – I’m really enjoying your poerty:)


  24. fuulaluuf / Aug 29 2012 4:26 am

    My mind was blown recently reading about black holes that give off energy… yes, how could a black hole give off energy if everything is sucked in? Apparently pairs of matter and anti-matter particles are continually blinking into existence everywhere and then blinking out of existence as they collide with each other and cancel each other out. But when a pair blinks into existence right on the event horizon of a black hole, sometimes only one half of the pair crosses over the event horizon and the other escapes… when escapee is anti-matter (which we can see), then it looks appears as though the black hole is expelling it.

    I love the notion that this great Shakespearean tragedy is taking place over and over again: we have these two lovers who are meant for each other in every way.. bound to destroy each other unless one of them hurls itself into a black hole so that the other might live. Maybe this is where sadness comes from.


    • diannegray / Aug 29 2012 6:23 am

      What a magnificent analogy! Thank you for your wonderful comment 🙂


  25. harulawordsthatserve / Sep 16 2012 6:18 am

    I enjoyed reading this, sometimes ponder similar things and have never felt there to be a limit to original ideas – I can feel the inexhaustible generosity of source when I really write from inspiration and not only do ideas then seem limitless but I get a sense of being limitless myself, in that intoxicating moment of nothing being impossible…how I love writing!


  26. SJ O'Hart / Sep 21 2012 3:32 am

    This was such an interesting post – I have zero understanding of physics, but I followed your post no problem. I also love the idea of comedy erotica – there’s a whole new genre, right there! 😀 Thank you for visiting my blog. Greetings from Ireland!


    • diannegray / Sep 21 2012 7:23 am

      Thank you, SJ! I’m glad it makes sense 😉 Looking forward to following your blog


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