Physicists debate about 'zero point' for laws pertaining to fields such as temperature. But in the process of knowledge acquisition and the ascent described by phrases like 'human development' and 'self-actualisation', my instincts are that we are sating an innate space within our internal guidance systems as we map our consciousness and comprehension of ourselves in the context of the physical universe. Perhaps, also, the spiritual plane. Perhaps this perceived hole/ space/ void is the equivalent to 'zero-point' because it is so challenging to be definitive?

This, as far as I am aware, un-named space could be attributed to feelings of: rage, yearning, craving, inertia, avarice, curiosity, comprehension, and triggers such as safety, fight and flight. I see it as being at the core of "getting to the truth" in the acquisition of knowledge.

Could it be the place from where our instincts emanate? In the process flow of questing for 'Enlightenment', yes, we ask questions to find answers in a linear progression towards knowingness. But what sparks the feelings that there are questions that need asking? How do we know that we do not know?

As a person new to the field of philosophy, my inquiry into the classic philosophical thinkers has not yet revealed if there is a word for this dark, unsated kernel in the deepest parts of the human mind.

Perhaps, if there isn't a word already attributed, as a community, we could create one. As I have not attributed this thought to any particular philosophical categorisation. Bar 'philosophy-of-the-mind' I have intentionally left this post tag-free. Perhaps readers could suggest them and I add.

Thank you.

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    – J D
    Nov 18, 2021 at 14:58
  • 1
    I've suggested 'metaphysics' because your entire argument is metaphysically speculative and has some bearing on the ontology of the mind. This isn't pejorative, but an accurate description of what sort of philosophy you are engaged in. Feel free to remove the tag.
    – J D
    Nov 18, 2021 at 15:53
  • A large part of that mentioned falls under cognitive dissonance -- especially curiosity, "getting to the truth", and dilemma resolution. The basic idea is that any contradiction between mental constructs (schemas), environmental circumstances, and desires or ideals brings cognitive dissonance, which pressures the agent to resolve the contradiction.
    – Michael
    Apr 19, 2022 at 18:00
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    On the contrary there's hardly any place in the human mind really knowing, almost everywhere in mind are in perpetual cycled rebirths of confusions, these places are called Avidyā in Buddhism like five huge huge mountains covering human mind. So in reality most people don't like what they do, don't know how to choose a career they really want even after retirement near the end of this cycle of their life... Aug 18, 2022 at 5:49

2 Answers 2


Zero point energy isn't a subject of debate, it's a consequence of the uncertainty principle which all of quantum mechanics is built on, our most successful theory.

"we are sating an innate space within our internal guidance systems"

Very Plato, who saw knowledge as being remembered rather than created, as it was in relation to a world of ideal forms that experience can only approach, but reasoning like mathematics can get closer to.

That hodgepodge of a list of things you gesture at connecting has no coherence. You risk making a 'god of the gaps' type argument, for zero point energy. It's hard to see how any meaningful hypothesis can be drawn from what you've written. Please clarify why you think this potential exists, & what it does.

Aristotle saw the human telos, purpose or drive, as to reach eudaimonia, which literally translates as 'good spiritedness', and is normally given to mean happiness. A better account though is based on Aristotle's extensive naturalist & biological observations & the examples he gives - that he meant something like 'human flourishing', not a fixed end point but a growing into capacities like a seed matures & produces flowers and fruit. Self-actualisation can be seen as very resonant with that, meeting the known defined needs as a platform to go beyond them, into being creative with what it is to be human.

A whole set of ideas connect to what you are saying. Yin energy in Daoism, yielding energy, the emptiness of a cup that makes space to hold things. Or wu wei, 'effortless action', which can be described as making space for telos to manifest, rather than imposing concerns. Or the Tao, 'the way', of which the Tao Te Ching opens by saying:

"The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name. The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth. The named is the mother of ten thousand things."

Or Zen Sunyata, 'emptiness' or 'dependent origination, about which the Third Zen Patriarch said in the Hsinhsinming:

"it is due to our grasping and rejecting that we do not know the true nature of things. Live neither in the entanglements of outer things, nor in ideas or feelings of emptiness. Be serene and at one with things and erroneous views will disappear by themselves. When you try to stop activity to achieve quietude, your very effort fills you with activity. As long as you remain attached to one extreme or another you will never know Oneness."

But it also could be plausibly interpreted as phase space, a tool used by physicists to imagine all the possible options of a state with given degrees of freedom. For everyday systems the phase space become to large to be useful, but for small-scale quantum systems it can be understood exactly. Important dynamics follow from understanding possible states like this.

Why would you expect instincts to be of anything but biological origin, serving the replication of replicators? You seem to be pursuing a mystical interpretation.

You might find "Why ask why" and its scions useful on what it means to ask questions, & what purposes it serves.

You should also look at Philosophers or philosophical traditions that reject symbolic reasoning And you might find the idea of the nagual interesting.

The path of mysticism clearly appeals to you. But it is not philosophy. And Godel's Incompleteness Theorems are widely held to mean no final answers can be arrived at. There is not a finite space of knowledge to be filled.


Short Answer

As a person new to the field of philosophy, my inquiry into the classic philosophical thinkers has not yet revealed if there is a word for this dark, unsated kernel in the deepest parts of the human mind.

Well, then you need to review the work of Sigmund Freud who called such a "place" the 'id', not that a mind is a place literally. The "deepest" parts of the mind (again, the mind isn't literally deep) is called the unconscious mind. These ideas were explicated by Freud in The Ego and the Id about 100 years ago.

Long Answer

Your questions have certain metaphysical presumptions built in to them, particularly that there are "places of the mind". What you are engaged in in this line of questioning might be considered metaphysical debate. So, let me challenge the presumption that minds have space at all to gain perspective.

When you say a place in mind, you are using a metaphor. Strictly speaking, a mind does not have physical extension by convention. There are several possible analogies that are often used in regards to discussion of the mind, a container that can be filled, or a blank slate, but these metaphors are only metaphors. They are not literal descriptions; there's nothing wrong with using language instrumentally in such a way, but that's not necessarily the same as an epistemological claim to truth, which is something that is a function of the theories of truth you apply.

But let us accept your language, and move to the question about terminology used to model anger, curiosity, and the drive towards self-actualization, the most famous is certainly Freud's id, ego, and super-ego, but not the only. I cite it because Freud's thinking has been tremendously influential in philosophy of psychology and is often cited as the inspiration for other psychologistic philosophies of mind, like Transactional Analysis. The construct that "houses" anger would be the id, etc. The exact details of whether or not curiosity is part of the ego is largely a matter of metaphysical speculation unless one embraces psychology which purports to build correlations between physical reality (which does have physical extension) and the abstraction the mind is. Note that anyone is free to reject a metaphysics that claims science has any privileged epistemological method, but I suspect most thinkers, at least in the West, give the sciences special weight. In more extreme metaphysical positions, one can practice naturalized epistemology which not only accepts the sciences, but embraces them fully.

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