‘Nothing’ and ‘Meaningless’ Are Not Interchangeable

For some reason the words ‘nothing’ and ‘meaningless’ seem to be used interchangeably. For example one might say “Life is meaningless, it is nothing”. Also, there seems to be (at least to many people) some kind of relation between the two words – but I must disagree. I do not think that ‘nothing’ and ‘meaningless’ are the same – perhaps they are somewhat similar, but they are not the same, and their relationship (in terms of meaning) are also quite different.

‘Nothing’ means nonexistence. ‘Meaningless’ means that something lacks a meaning. Notice that italicized word – ‘something’.

Meaningless or meaninglessness is referring to a specific thing – a ‘something’, not a ‘no-thing’ or (nothing).

In other words, ‘meaningless’ is a specific quality designated to some idea, action, or object – but nonetheless to something that exists (whether physically or mentally). ‘Nothing’ on the other hand is just that – it is nothing, it does not exist. In order for something to be meaningless – it must exist, it must be ‘something’ – not ‘nothing’.


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