Ere Time and Place were, Time and Place were not,
When primitive Nothing Something straight begot,
Then all proceeded from the great united—What?

— John Wilmot, “Upon Nothing”


The naîve idea that there is first of all empty space and then things filling it underlies the classical problem of how the world came out of nothing. Now the problem has to be rephrased, “How did something-and-nothing come out of…what?”

— Alan Watts, Nature, Man and Woman