The state that contains NOTHING would itself be something; excepting that it would have NOTHING to contain, and in which case it could or would not be a state that contains: therefore I conclude that NOTHING is neither the CONTAINER nor the CONTAINED, it cannot ever be referred to...
Oh yes, this is really useful way to think about it. What you say here is the reason why the calculus created by George Spencer Brown and presented in Laws of Form
(1969) is so important. Russell's paradox does not arise for it, and yet it is a formal model of the universe. This is possible because it originates with something which lies beyond the distinction between container and contained, something beyond the categories. Russell was full of praise for it, yet perversely he refused to see its implications for cosmogony. I spoke to Brown once, and when I mentioned Russell he said, dismissively but affectionately, 'Oh, Bertie was a fool.' I share this view so dropped the subject.
It is my opinion that the next giant step in metaphysics, religion and physics will be the abandonment of Russell's mathematical logic for Brown's. This transition has already taken place in quantum mechanics, and Dialethism would be a philosophical example, as would any apophatic religion, but this solution would have to be generalised if it is to produce a fundamental theory such as Brown's, the Budhha's and Lao-tsu's.
In a lecture at the Essaline Institute in the 60's Brown likens that which is prior to the Something-Nothing distinction to a blank sheet of paper. His calculus of indications operates on this conceptual void by a process of symmetry-breaking or category-making, or making marks on the paper.
This is an advertisement for Laws of Form
, which in my opinion is not as well known as it deserves to be.
The ABSENSE OF VALUE could or would not be a VALUE: to say that something has POSITIVE VALUE or NEGATIVE VALUE is not the same thing as saying that there is an ABSENSE OF VALUE. I would say the EVERYTHING that EXISTS has VALUE, and that EXISTENCE itself is the precursor of VALUE, it follows that NOTHING that NON-EXISTS has no VALUE...
Is it not also possible that value is the precursor of existence? I think this would be Brown's view.
I'm confused by your conclusion here but probably agree. 'Everything that does not exist' is a category or container, and so is 'everything that does exist'. For Brown's view, which is the absolute idealism of Bradley so disliked by Russell, and as for Kant, the Real is not an instance of a category. This is why, as Brown shows, Russell's paradox would not arise for a mathematical description of Lao-tsu's universe.
As a teenager my son once asked me to give him an example of a paradox. I stupidly started to explain Russell's, which is hardly the place to start, and had soon thoroughly confused both of us. 'This is stupid,' he eventually said, 'there's no paradox if we don't make up sets in the first place.' I was impressed. This is what Brown proposes. Is it also what you're proposing?