Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesPhilosophy · 8 years ago

How many categories and subcategories of "Nonbeings" can we identify?


For Example:

One category might be nonbeings who were beings at some point, and might still linger on, in some ways, in their continued genetic legacies (e.g. deceased people).

Another maybe Imaginary, fictional, mythological characters.

Yet another, might be mathematical and/or physical objects beyond our observational reach.

The list is long: So, how best could we identify/distinguish and categorize these nonbeings?

”Spokes are connected to make a wheel;

yet it is the hole within the hub that moves the wagon.

Clay is molded to shape into pot;

yet it is the emptiness within that makes it an utensil.

Doors and windows are cut to make a room;

yet it is the inner space within that makes it livable.

Therefore, advantage comes from what is;

usefulness comes from what is not.”

-- Lao Tze



PLEASE NOTE: I'm NOT talking about counting the number of nonbeings, I'm taking about the CATEGORIES of nonbeings! ... I'm asking whether or not it's possible to formalized nonbeings as/into categories.


Update 2:


PLEASE NOTE: I'm NOT talking about counting the number of nonbeings, I'm taking about the CATEGORIES of nonbeings! ... I'm asking whether or not it's possible to formalized nonbeings as/into categories.


8 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The philosopher Alexius Meinong categorized 3 types of objects--those that exist (horses), those that subsist (unicorns, mathematical triangles, ideas, anything that doesn't really 'exist' in space-time but there's nothing to prevent them from 'theoretically' or 'imaginatively' existing), and those that absist (square circles, wooden iron, anything that is formally self-contradictory and is not even theoretically conceivable). He called this third type of objects 'homeless objects.' I think that does a pretty good job of summarizing non-existent things, and has also found interesting applications in recent category theory and the problem of the constructibility of sets.

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  • 8 years ago

    Take no action (wei), and nothing (wu) will be left undone.

    A capacity for action esteems being-ness. Therefore, any non-being may have being if they have the potential for "action/movement." Being-ness comes from what is not done.

    Being is doing, doing is energy at work, work is function. All beings that do not have a function in our current system do not exist in our current system. However, in a human world many non-human things exist, making it arguable that it is really a world that belongs solely to humans; since other beings are serving a function in relation to the whole of the Tao.

    Taoism has as its goal, helping people realize their oneness with the Universe. Nature functions in a state of harmony, the various plants and animals that form a part of the natural world live in a state of interdependence with each other.

    Where a being can act, there too it can exist. A being that has no possible action in a system, exists as non-being in that system.

    Are there more non-beings than beings? See that? In systems that support a being the being has being, but in systems that don't support the being, the being has non-being. So beings both exist and don't exist, depending on which systems are referenced.

    The number of non-beings is greater than the number of non-beings that can be imagined in a life time.

    How variegated is the true genetic code?

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  • 8 years ago

    I think you've demonstrated that it is possible to categorize non-beings..

    I've had quite a relationship over time with two categories of non-beings...

    The first is that group of beings that were not the beings that were.

    I was subjected to abuse when I was a child, and spent a lot of time wishing that the people around me were different people. The category would be people who would be the people we know if thepeople we know did not have the flaws that they have.

    The other category with which I'm personally familiar is the beings that would be, but have never been.

    I wanted many children but was unable to bear them beyond the first almost miraculous birth of a son. I longed for a child, and every time my cycle took a few days longer than normal, I'd get my hopes up and begin to pick out names for daughters who never existed. These were not imaginary beings, they were not fictional beings...they were the beings that would have fit into my family, but never did.

    One final being actually slipped out of this category into my family when we were able to adopt.

    Source(s): I like this question.
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  • 8 years ago

    Just the categories in one single perception of this one world, in one single dimension of said world, at one particular point in time?

    Or ALL of them? I mean, the stuff beyond most observational reach is.....probably a lot more than you may think. Phil used a good example - Elementals...and that's just a start. Some people already seem to get to other "dimensions", at times....

    First is the problem of the infinite number of variables.....

    "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

    (this always cheers me up)

    Youtube thumbnail

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  • ms.
    Lv 7
    8 years ago


    your influence is yours to lend out, it is the part of you that effects others even when you are not physically present.

    Sometimes I am under the influence... of someone, or something even though I like to think I am only ever under my own influence. I hope my influence is not causing anyone any major trouble, I can't always keep an < I > on her! :)

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  • 8 years ago

    First, I'd like to tell you that it's impossible to know the exact number of non-beings, and you can't categorise them. Second, why should it matter? Science is the main reliable source for figuring it out because they have physical proof. they haven't found it yet, so how could others? they can't. and why does it matter to you anyway?

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  • 8 years ago

    I guess a non-bean would be a legume. LOL

    I have experience with beings that have never incarnated into bodies. They can be dangerous and difficult to deal with. They're called "Elementals".

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  • 8 years ago

    they are infinite.

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