There are some things that just go beyond the mind’s capability of calculating. At least most minds. As in the case of infinity, there are some theoretical mathematicians and scientists who seem to have conquered this extremely complex concept. I am not one of them.
The envisioning of a concept with no limitations is more than my simple mind can fathom. It makes no sense to me that this universe, for instance, has no beginning or end. Oh, to some people it begins and ends with them, but I’m not interested in pursuing big egos. This is a topic which is too serious and too intense to joke around with.
I get the idea that the Earth is a finite planet within a finite solar system. It is defined by the existence of the sun, around which the planets perform certain standardized tasks. Because of the tasks the Earth performs there is the possibility of life as we know it. And while the Earth is huge and I have only tasted a tiny piece of its entire substance, I understand its extremes and its limitations. At least on a fairly limited level of comprehension.
And I can even understand the vastness of the solar system’s complexity. And beyond that, I understand that there is something called space. But what are the dimensions of space? Is that a generic word that defines a specific segment of creation that surrounds our solar system? Is there an end to what we believe to be the realm of space? If so, what is there beyond space?
I’ve read some science which says that the universe (which feels much more like a multiverse to me) is not shaped like I might imagine it. Instead, it “curves back into itself.” That I don’t get. Is it possible that there is something beyond what we know as space? Or, to take another direction, is it possible that there is “nothing” beyond what we know as space? I can’t imagine the existence of nothing. If it exists, isn’t it something?
The same kind of confused thinking accompanies my understanding of infinity. In High School math courses I learned about the calculation of infinity. Or, to put it more clearly, I understood that there are calculations which include the concept of infinity. But I have to admit (as I always have) that I don’t understand how there can be a sequence which has no end. The largest ball of string in the world has a beginning and an end.
But I’m told that the largest number we can imagine (not me, but people more intelligent than me) is only a penultimate number. There is always something just beyond that number. We categorize that number (which is always changing) as being the last one before infinity. Sorry, my battery just expired. My train just came into the station. My bank account is now empty. I do not have the capability of imagining infinity. I can’t even get to infinity minus one.
Illustration Credit: SuperPower Wiki