National Nothing Day has been celebrated on January 16 since 1973. This day literally means doing nothing. There is absolutely no purpose or intended structure for this meaningless celebration.
History of National Nothing Day
National Nothing Day was first suggested by Harold Coffin, columnist for the late American newspaper. Nothing Day was established with the aim of eventual self-destruction, through satire that reigns in what Coffin considers a superfluous of recently established, useless anniversaries. Coffin's nothing was created at the same time to raise awareness. Miraculously, the organization hasn't held a meeting yet. The official celebrations continue to be testament to Coffin's ultimate defeat.
Since it's all about going effortless on celebrating absolutely nothing, National Nothing Day can also be about celebrating life itself. The only limit on how to spend the day is the participant's imagination and bank balance.
National Nothing Day also raises some very interesting questions on a philosophical level. Can something worthwhile really start from scratch? Depending on your point of view, Coffin could be a later-day David Hume or a quote columnist a little too smart for his own good.
The Realist Society (RSC) adopts a philosophical view known as "realism", which opposes Nothing Day with the "Day Something Always Has" or THABS Day. The organization argues that if there really is nothing, there will never be something. And so there is no possibility of celebrating Nothing Day in the first place!
Interestingly, Coffin's idea is nothing new. Back in 1956, the AP news agency released a story about how the Mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, James W.Morgan, wanted to celebrate Nothing Week. The work has appeared in many newspapers and received acclaim as an interesting concept.
One thing is for sure, the modern world is not kind to people who don't want to do anything. People expect us to play games, work hard and strive in every aspect of our lives. Therefore, just sitting in one place for a day and deliberately not doing anything seems a bit strange.
The average person works more than thirty hours per week, and that doesn't include all the unpaid work they have to do. As a result, cramming everything in and getting it all done is a problem for some of us.
Essentially, National Nothing Day is an act of rebellion. What begins as a tongue-in-cheek comment every new day of the year quickly turns into something more? Coffin's creation is a cynical ploy to raise awareness of an issue he cares about - constant awareness raising. But it quickly spiraled out of his control.
National Nothing Day is now an opportunity for everyone to take some time for themselves and only once a year. Our society requires constant activity, so keeping your feet up for twenty-four hours is an act of rebellion. We were told that we should use every hour available to us. However, National Nothing Days is a license to slow down a bit and take effort.
How to celebrate Nothing Day
When you think about celebrating National Nothing Days, it's actually a little harder than you imagine. Pausing your daily life to the point where you do absolutely nothing, is a real philosophical challenge.
What is considered nothing?
Let's say you commit to watching a streaming service all day. Is that considered nothing? Arguably it's not because you're still using your eyes and ears to watch the show.
How about sitting still during the day? Is that doing nothing? It all depends on which philosopher you ask. If you're still thinking, you're probably not doing anything.
How about meditating and trying to get rid of the ego, get rid of all thoughts in order to experience pure consciousness? Oops - that's still nothing, assuming you're still alive and performing the functions necessary for life.
As a result, National Nothing Day can quickly turn into a humorous exercise. This is your chance to find out what it means to do absolutely nothing and see how close you can get. We all understand the spirit of today but making it a reality is a lot more complicated than you can imagine. Irony huh?
So one idea for the do-nothing day is to try to do nothing - harder than you might think.
Another idea is to raise awareness of the fact that having such a date makes absolutely no sense. You don't have to celebrate every day of the year or partake in every excuse. Sometimes, you can step back, relax, and forget the whole world is out there.
If you're a particularly perceptive person, you may also want to use Harold Coffin's Harold Coffin's Perspective Driving Home. You can spend times in your life celebrating the fact that you have nothing to do.
At last, you can enjoy Nothing Day learning the concept of nothingness. Good luck with that. When you try to get absolutely nothing, you will eventually find something. Like the universe won't let you experience nothing. Remove the vacuum, and you still have the geometry. Get rid of the geometry, and you have some form of existence or structure.
Are you looking forward to National Nothing Day? Perhaps the best way to celebrate it is to avoid conundrums of metaphysics.
Don't celebrate or do anything. Allow yourself to avoid all responsibilities, including your job. Be happy that there is nothing worth thinking about this day.
ObservedNational Nothing Day has been observed annually on January 16th.
Thursday, January 16th, 2020
Saturday, January 16th, 2021
Sunday, January 16th, 2022
Monday, January 16th, 2023
Tuesday, January 16th, 2024
Harold Pullman Coffin in 1972