Infinite Possibilities

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One, Two, Three, ... Infinity.

A mathematical concept.

A human vision of enormity.

A myth, a legend, or a fiction?

Can infinity be contained in a mere word? Can it be isolated, defined, understood, restrained, placed in a box?

 

 


Finite Infinity

Infinity is a subject which has the ability to simultaneously fascinate and terrify.

There is a paradox that is realized every time that a being with

  • a finite number of neurons,
  • of finite cellular composition,
  • of finite mortality,

conceives of such a space/time/place as infinity.

Infinite Conceit?

Perhaps it is a conceit even to imagine that one might be capable of understanding infinity at all.

Or is that not true?

On one side of a sheet it reads "The words on the other side of this sheet are true." On the other side of the sheet it reads "The words on the other side of this sheet are false."

Yes, perhaps, somehow, there might be a glimmering of a hope for humanity. A slim sliver of a chance that we might be capable of glimpsing the tiniest edge of the greatness that is infinity. Even though we be beings of mortality, cursed with a finite number of ever dying neurons. Yes, though it is true, we can still find infinity.

Maybe.

Maybe we are just simple motes of cosmic dust, blowing in the breath of time.

 

That's what 'finite insight' is about...

that paradox.

It is expressed in the idea that no matter how large we can think, there is a limit to what we can accomplish in a finite life with finite senses.

Do you disagree?

And yet, somehow, perhaps we can have insight into the potentials, the possibilities, the realm of the infinite along the way to our finite finish line. Perhaps we can even transcend the speed of light.

Can we ever build a perpetual motion machine?

Can we ever create anything which will truly 'endure'?

Can we ever divide by zero?
Of course we can. We are human and we do it all the time.

If you can name infinity, can you not capture a portion of it? Or is the mere idea of catching or containing infinity a paradox in and of itself?

No matter how hard we try, our insight will always be finite.

Yet, we can always aspire to infinity...

Or at least we can attempt to have virtually infinite fun along the way.

At finite insight, we will never promise you infinity, simply because we can not.

Instead, we will offer to generate together a finity...

which isn't such a bad place to begin.

INFINITY

A mathematical concept:

"No subject has provoked more discussion, disagreement, and verbal battles among scholars and mathematicians than the idea of the infinite."

M.Luce, A.B. Lerner, 1969.

Continual Change

We may begin to envision infinity by considering the concept of 'continual change'. Something can change continually, either getting smaller or larger by steps of variable size. There may or may not be a definable endpoint for the change. This has been called the 'continuous nature of matter'.

Consider a copper penny. If the penny is cut precisely in half, and then each half is divided again into quarters, and then each fourth is divided into eighths, and so on, what happens? It was once thought that the limiting size of divisibility for the penny was the technical ability of man to cut smaller pieces of copper. However, the atomic theory of matter has made it clear that a never-ending infinite number of cuts can not be made.

In theory, we can continue to cut until we get down to a single atom of copper. A single atom is the smallest quantity of any element that still has the chemical properties of that element. Any further divisions would yield something which was no longer copper. Currently scientific philosophy has rejected the continuous nature of matter and accepted atomic theory. In fact, it is now held that energy as well as matter does not exist in continually decreasing bits. The limiting quantity of energy is called the 'quantum'.

Zeno's Paradox

Debates about infinity and continual change began before the days of Plato and Aristotle and were continued by the classical Greek scholars. During the 5th century B.C., Zeno, a Greek philosopher, showed that if the concept of continual, infinite division is applied to motion, that motion cannot exist!

Zeno's argument went like this: before a moving object can reach its target, it must travel half the distance between the starting point and the end point. After that, the object must travel half the remaining distance to the target, and so on and so forth. Since there is no end to the number of midpoints, the moving object is doomed to never reach its destination. Therefore, Zeno stated, motion is impossible.

"Motion Is NOT Impossible!"

Zeno showed that analysis of motion as a sequence of jumps is absurd. His argument is a proposition that seems to contradict itself. This is known as a 'paradox'. Many other mathematical paradoxes grew up around the idea of infinity and Zeno's Paradox.

 

 

 

 

 

 





Infinite Inspiration

 



There is no end

and there is no beginning

there is only the infinite passion of love.

Frederico Fellini

 

 

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