An Existential Detective Story

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Jim Holt, essayist, critic, and author of Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story, discusses his new book, which investigates the age-old mystery of why is there something rather nothing.


Jim Holt

Comments [5]

John A

Do hosts exist or is all conversation just a big recording?

Jan. 01 2013 11:48 AM from verona nj

why do we spend so much time talking about good if he created the universe why didnt he spent more time on humanity the job is still in progress. he forgot the poor and the oppressed (does he exist for them)what is theyr universe?

Jan. 01 2013 11:39 AM
Ed from Larchmont

The Biblical answer would be in part that the world exists as a cosmic temple that gives praise to God, and out of generosity in creating and sharing his life with creatures.

Jan. 01 2013 11:31 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

A kabbalistic view:

Ayin and Yesh
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Ayin (Hebrew: אַיִן, meaning "nothingness", related to Ain-"not") is an important concept in Kabbalah and Hasidic philosophy. It is contrasted with the term Yesh ("something/existence/being/is"). According to kabbalistic teachings, before the universe was created there was only Ayin, and the first manifest Sephirah (Divine emanation), Chochmah (Wisdom), "comes into being out of Ayin."[1] In this context, the sephirah Keter, the Divine will, is the intermediary between the Divine Infinity (Ein Sof) and Chochmah. Because Keter is a supreme revelation of the Ohr Ein Sof (Infinite Light), transcending the manifest sephirot, it is sometimes excluded from them.

Ayin is closely associated with the Ein Sof (Hebrew אין סוף), which is understood as the Deity prior to His self-manifestation in the creation of the spiritual and physical realms, single Infinite unity beyond any description or limitation. From the perspective of the emanated created realms, Creation takes place "Yesh me-Ayin" ("Something from Nothing"). From the Divine perspective, Creation takes place "Ayin me-Yesh" ("Nothing from Something"), as only God has absolute existence; Creation is dependent on the continuous flow of Divine lifeforce, without which it would revert to nothingness. Since the 13th century, Ayin has been one of the most important words used in kabbalistic texts. The symbolism associated with the word Ayin was greatly emphasized by Moses de León (c. 1250 – 1305), a Spanish rabbi and kabbalist, through the Zohar, the foundational work of Kabbalah.[2] In Hasidism Ayin relates to the internal psychological experience of Deveikut ("cleaving" to God amidst physicality), and the contemplative perception of paradoxical Yesh-Ayin Divine Panentheism, "There is no place empty of Him".[3]"

Jan. 01 2013 11:30 AM
Ed from Larchmont

They're not sure of the status of the Big Bang, theories seem to rule out other ones.

God's existence doesn't need an explanation because God is the source of being, God is being itself, among other things. By definition the uncaused cause, among other things.

Jan. 01 2013 11:30 AM

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