Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Infinity Sucks

In the long hours of a recent car ride, I heard Beyoncé singing about love taking her "to infinity...and beyond." (Okay, so I like her new song Halo.) After mentally laughing for a moment at the allusion to Buzz Lightyear, I began to think about infinity (and beyond). I poured myself into imagining what it would be like to have infinity to play with. Looking over the vast distances, I came to a gut-twisting realization. Infinity sucks.

Sure, at first infinity sounds brilliant. Eternal life. Never-ending learning. Just think of the amazing knowledge you could amass. All of the experiences and understanding. All of the, well, everything!!! It's frigging infinity after all, right??

(Your mouth is watering for infinity. I know it.)

So there you are, sitting on your mountain of accomplishments. More than any human ever thought possible. You did it. You ROCK with the ultimate rock-osity. (Spark those lighters.)

Hold up.

Waaaaaait a minute. You got a ton more infinity left. Get off that pile of accomplishments! Get crackin'!

Infinity. Wouldn't there come a point, a final boundary, when you couldn't possibly add one more piece of information into your brain without dropping something out the back? We're only born with so much grey matter/computing power in the noggin'. Sooner or later, we would lose track of our beginning, our foundations. And when that happens, how long would it be before we forget the direction we were going? Like when you show up at the market to buy something and suddenly forget why you went.

Now imagine yourself lost like that. No sense of where you came from. No sense of your path or purpose. Too much time and experience has piled up to keep it straight.

See that over there? A whole lot of infinity left.

Always more.

Always more.

And Beyoncé wants even more??

No, I'll take my neat, finite existence and trust that in some small way, I left a small gift for others to carry...beyond.


Whirlochre said...

Everything you say is true, but I could do with some practice at Wii mario Kart...

the walking man said...

But are thinking of infinity within the constraint of time. Quit thinking of it as a space that time fills.

The very concept of infinity as least to my picayune brain has no time that needs filling or knowledge that needs learning. Time being the finite component of the equation ends with everything within that constrict ending as well. The days of remembering and forgetting are over.

And pure space is there for the filling of all that the infinite can design as new creation or re-creation of old creations in different forms.

I do believe there will be enough time (ha ha) in infinity to keep you busy for no time at all.

AP said...

Well said! Eternity would bore one...

Catvibe said...

I was going to agree until I read Walking Man's comment. Time is what would suck in an infinite environment I think. This has always held me up on the 'eternal bliss' front. Is to be one with infinity with no time the key to enlightenment?

Anonymous said...

Whirlochre, MarioKart rocks! (Except when the game cheats.)

Walking Man, space and time are inexorably linked. Space is the capacity to be here, or to be there. And the capacity to move between those two points. The ability to engage in that motion is time. If I try to imagine existence in all places at once without the ability to move, that feels frozen to me. Even worse than an infinity of possible motion.

AP, I love how when we wax poetic, infinity isn't enough. We want infinity plus, as if that made any sense at all.

Catvibe, if you take time out of the equation, then motion is impossible. You are all things and all possibilities at once (or the opposite, which is nothingness). That feels dreadfully frozen to me and suffocating.

Bebo said...

Read the post, then WalkingMan, then Catvibe...

I think I like my boundaries. I like the thought of moving from one time/space to another, learning from each, but within a finite space.

The question becomes then, what would you do if you could "see" infinity... and your boundaries within it... and know the end-date. How then would you fill your little block of time?

Kaycie said...

Infinity probably has something to do with why vampires are unhappy creatures. Really, that was my first thought. I've obviously been watching too many "Moonlight" re-runs on SciFi.

Shadow said...

i've thought the exact same thing. in terms of immortality... don't want it!

Catvibe said...

This really touches on some interesting things. We only have to have motion because we are in form, but take the form out of it, and what do we have? I don't think in the physical universe infinity is possible, but on a different dimension, is infinity an omnipresence? Being everywhere at everytime in all things, and yet not being constrained by form? Is this what God is? Are our souls rays of that, and do we blend back into that infinite everythingness when we are no longer constrained by this plane? I have pondered these questions often in my search for spiritual truth, but I can't seem to get beyond the opinion that somehow it is constraining, limited. Seems an oxymoron somehow.

Aniket said...

Reading the comments between the Walking Man, Cat and yourself am even more inspired to break the Time-space continuum once and for all. :D :D :D

I only new the Buzz lightyear version of it. Jason, Beyonce? Seriously? :P

And coming to the concept of infinity, I tend to agree with you.

I agree with THE COMEDIAN that the whole world is sort of joke on you. And the for a joke by definition has a punch in the END. It must end to serve its purpose.

I have forever opposed all concepts of "Can't" be it "Can't live" or "Can't die". I would always prefer to have a choice over matters.

Ello said...

Love your last line Jason. I absolutely agree.

JR's Thumbprints said...

If I only had infinity, then I'd quit bumping into things, I'd be able to pace myself.

the walking man said...

The constraint seems to me in wrapping the head around immortal thinking, using mortal definitions.

Time as you define it is lengths of space, and space as you define it is points in time. Have I got that part correct?

Both are quantifiable physical measurable properties found in a world of mass and matter. Do we agree on this?

Life as we KNOW it at this point in space, at this time is a equation of the finite. We know that a seed will grow a tree and a tree can live for a thousand years in time (or better) but we are also assured that eventually that tree will end. We would be able to measure the lengths of it's time from the beginning to the end and in so doing measure it's movement through space. On this we also can find mutual agreement I am fairly certain.

Now take the finite out of the equation and we no longer have a mathematical provable formula left to use to define what we are discussing.

But we know if we have conceived of an infinite, PI for example that there is a possibility of an infinite with motion and movement of some not YET understood method, because mathematicians are always coming up with more and longer definitions of that so far seeming infinite number. stretching what started out as 3.14159 to a number stretching (growing)into well over a billion known digits with more equational work being done to stretch the known movement of the number further out.

Yet we simply call pi the ration of a circles circumference to it's diameter in Euclidean space. which is also called Geometric logic.

So your complaint Jason against infinity as I understand it is that it would despite who long it took it would get boring. *shrug* I would have to agree...if there was no individual ability to create. Create defined as bringing something into being from nothing already in existence.

We for example do not create poetry, we make it because the tools of it, the words and themes exist already. What we do create is an expanding of the expression, new thoughts (we aim too anyway) regarding something already present in our world.

To me, I want infinity with power. The power of light, that also physical quantifiable property that holds mass and matter together so I will for ever and a day create whatever my infinite PI can conceive of for as long as the number goes on. We have not even begun to reach the edges of physical space yet, still we can conceive of the vastness of it.

Think of it, like pi ever expanding wanting to be filled with new creation we have not yet been able to conceive of by all of the beings dwelling outside the bounds of a mortal and finite time.

But then and again I doubt anyone who would not want to be there would be forced by any infinite being to stay.

BUT for the moment just

Be Well.


Liane Spicer said...

We-ell, when you put it like that it does sort of suck. I know elderly people who are just tired and eager to be done with the whole living thing, who sit waiting year after year for that final call.

We must be careful what we ask for.

PS: I really like Halo too.

Anonymous said...

Bebo, I feel like that now. I'm trying to decide how to fill my block.

Kaycie, I've been spending a good bit of time around vampires too. Their lives seem to be just extended. Despite not dying from natural causes, they seem to be prone to death nonetheless.

Shadow, I don't think we could handle it.

Catvibe, infinity of space and time may very well exist in our concept of the universe. I suppose that god as it is commonly conceived would be "infinite," i.e., everywhere at once. It still seems like a flat existence to me, unless it's filled with fixing the messes the non-infinite beings keep making. I think I would make a bad god.

Aniket, you know you want dig Beyonce. You can admit it. ;) As for cracking the space/time continuum, I think you can do it.

Ello, thanks. :) The last line was heartfelt.

JR, pace, I hear you on that.

Mark, yes, I agree with the points you lay out in the first half of your comment. When you say, Now take the finite out of the equation and we no longer have a mathematical provable formula left to use to define what we are discussing..., I'm not sure I agree. Isn't the "infinite" an unending stream of finite moments? I don't feel like "infinite" is something apart from finite. It doesn't exist outside of what is measurable. It's measurement where we can always measure a little more. With Pi, I feel like you're turning inward, or smaller. By extending the decimals, your describing Pi in closer and closer detail. Interestingly, the detail itself is infinite. Now that's a head-scratcher. Shouldn't a single thing be ultimately definable? How can it have infinite detail? (Yikes.) Ultimately, I'm not saying that the infinite is boring, I'm saying that it would be crushing, devastating. It would be a door to insanity. We're not equipped to survive it.

Liane Spicer, I've wondered if/when I'll feel like that. Feeling like I've had enough, and I'm ready to check out. (Actually, in small glimmers of moments, I've already felt that. But then I'm quite certain I've got a ton more to do.)

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

The last two lines say it all for me. Great post, Jason.

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

In the short space of time we have on this Earth, the possibilities are infinite. That's why we strive to keep learning, to push our goals ahead of us.

the walking man said...

In the smallest dimension the largest of infinity can be found.

Yamini said...

I like your perception of Infinity, Jason, but i tend to perceive it differently. Since the time-space bound discussions have already been done, i'd say a minute or a mile can be infinity too... it all depends on the predicate...
wonderful discussion though! loved it thoroughly! :)

Anonymous said...

Kaye, thanks. :)

Chumplet, that's a fascinating point. Our choices are infinite, but the time we have to complete them is finite.

Walking Man, my intuition tells me that objects must be finite. But there is so much detail possible, it feels infinite to us. But then again, maybe subatomic particles have sub-sub atomic particles and sub-sub-sub atomic particles. Maybe it doesn't end. But infinity staring at me both inward and outward is unnerving.

Yamini, thank you! People have expressed some very thought-provoking ideas.

the walking man said...

And that Jason is completely understandable. It is a question more suited for pondering than answering anyway. *shrug* You know it falls under the category of "truth as truth knows itself to be."

Doesn't make a wit of difference what anyone thinks about it; it is what it is and nothing makes it different.

iLL Man said...

Will there be beer in infinity?

Note to self: TWM seems to be talking about omnipresence and Jason is talking about having all eternity at your fingertips. Give me the latter. There are things about having infinite consciousness that do not appeal. On one hand, you would know and understand the most amazing things, but then, you'd also know what the man at No.17 does in the toilet every evening when he comes home from work.............:(

the walking man said...

iLL my conceptualization is more like Jason's...a single mind going from event to event. Not being everywhere and having all known knowledge. But ever learning and creating knew knowledge of things thus far unimagined. A grand road trip that never ends and always the memory of which lives as a present reality if that is the event one wished to be at.

I wouldn't want to be near enough to any person in the eternal loo smelling whatever it is they doo or doo don't.

Which leads to another question is there public washrooms in eternity?

iLL Man said...

"Which leads to another question is there public washrooms in eternity?"

Yes, but they charge you to use them.

Anonymous said...

I think that if anyone makes it to eternity ... it will be as complete beings where time will cease to exist. Also, I think of our current universe and what a great natural recycler it is. I suspect eternity will recycle. Who knows what crreations will arise and that could be endlessly fascinating.

Woman in a Window said...

Infinity is so boring! So!

I wrote about this a while back, think on it a lot, argue about it from time to time. I called mine Bookends. It's the bookends that gives the day to day depth. I'll take my for now and say screw you to forever.

Ha ha, Beyonce!

Anonymous said...

Walking Man, Ill Man, Aggie, Woman in a Window, I can see a coming thread here. There does seem to be a need for change and growth in us.