Blog post

The stuff of nothing – Žižek found Higgs particle first!

Ricardo Rato Rodrigues 4 July 2012

Forget CERN and its cutting edge technology. Žižek single-handedly gets to the core of atoms and other microscopic particles  to find what has been  dubbed "the God particle" - needing only 943 pages!

In Less Than NothingŽižek reflects:

 Are not poetic nominations of a Thing something like this? To an outside observer (reader), it appears that the Nation-Thing itself has emitted this nomination. One is tempted to go even further with this parallel and include in it the “Higgs boson,” a hypothetical elementary particle which is the quantum of the Higgs field, a paradoxical field which acquires a non-zero value in empty space. This is why the Higgs boson is also called the “God particle”: it is a “something” of which the “nothing” itself is made, literally the “stuff of nothing.

Physicists say this discovery will revolutionise the world, that this will change physics (and other sciences) forever... but Žižek goes beyond:

The Higgs field undermines the standard New Age appropriations of the quantum Void as the Nothing-All, a pure potentiality at the abyssal origin of all things, the Plotinian formless Over-One in which all determinate Ones disappear.

Recognising the importance of this discovery, he uses its power to undermine current schools of thought and goes on to analyse how the concept is discussed by and used in many literary texts, religions, etc.