Infinity – we all know about it conceptually. But is it limited to its definition?
In the 17th Century, Jonathan Swift wrote flamboyantly about the concept of self-similarity in nature in his poem “On Poetry: A Rhapsody”.
“So nat’ralists observe, a flea
Has smaller fleas that on him prey;
And these have smaller fleas to bite ’em.
And so proceeds Ad infinitum.”
The Victorian Era mathematician Augustus De Morgan further elaborated this with identical poetry.
Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ’em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.
And the great fleas themselves, in turn, have greater fleas to go on,
While these again have greater still and greater still, and so on.
When Swift used the term Ad Infinitum in his poem, his context was to depict a non-terminating yet repetitive process. But the intriguing feature of infinity encouraged De Morgan to frame these lines.
But really, what is so intriguing about infinity?
Infinity: An Intriguing Theoretical Idea And Beyond
Firstly, let’s understand what infinity actually is.
It’s the depth of a black hole where nature succumbs. The never-ending length of the universe. It’s the turn of time which lets loose without limit. A hope that encourages us to never fear an end.
The flowing force of life tells us that all remains connected. It’s the distance between what we mean to say and what is said.
Also, as Einstein defines it, it’s the perfect measure of human stupidity.
Mathematically, infinity is a completely theoretical idea explaining a number that has no bound. Modern mathematics utilizes the idea of infinity to solve many practical and abstract mathematical as well as real-life problems.
Aristotle classified infinity to be of two types- potential infinity and actual infinity.
It is said to be a group of numbers or things that continue with no end. They keep going on repeating themselves over and over again without any recognizable ending point.
The thing that makes it really ‘potential’ is the concept that if we take a slice of sponge and examine the number of pores, we will be able to observe a finite set of numbers.
Another example can be a simple geometric line, which we can extend on without any end. It will be potentially infinite as one would keep on adding more length to a finite length.
It involves never-ending sets of things that are in a certain space having a definite beginning and end. In other words, it implies a series that is already complete but has an infinite number of members. They are mostly paradoxical. You cannot add another member in an already completed set that has a beginning and an end.
Our bodies are bound to live with certain flaws and physicality but our mind is free to imagine infinite things. The distance between mind and body brings another landscape that is transcendental i.e. has some spiritual realms bound with it above all materialism.
However, in this empirical nature, it seems impossible but we are constantly living with all the realities and also desiring all kinds of infinity to find a beautiful life filled with soul and dignity.
Metaphysically, the universe constantly expands for a never-ending answer. It is like spirituality that goes beyond our imagination for conceiving infinity in its nature leads us towards optimism of never-ending humanity and human kindness.