Infinity Is A Concept

The universe is vast, so vast that it is astronomical.  I always liked oxymoron’s and if we can have jumbo shrimp, then astronomically small works for me.  The concept of infinity goes back to the ancient Greeks and Zeno’s paradox which sort of doesn’t make sense, but it is easy to understand.  You can always add something even after you think that you have reached the limit, so the largest number can always be increased and you will never reach infinity.  Zeno went the other way, saying that anything can always be divided in half for his paradox.  He had a man named Achilles chasing after a turtle who is given a head start, which doesn’t seem all that fair, as of course the man would be able to catch the turtle.  He said that after so much time, Achilles would cut the distance of the lead that the turtle had in half and he would keep cutting this distance in half and never actually catch the turtle.

The Greeks were the first to think in terms of atoms, saying that these atoms were the smallest things of matter.  Zeno took this further dividing the atoms and then dividing the result of that which lead to the notion that space and time are infinitely divisible.  There is no infinite amount of anything in the observable universe.  It is a paradox, as you can keep dividing a line segment in half, or anything for that matter, then each of those halves can be divided in half again, and you just keep repeating the process forever.  You will never reach a point where you can’t divide a line segment in half.

Written for 8/3/19 Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ Stream of Consciousness Saturday where the prompt is “Astronomical”.

14 thoughts on “Infinity Is A Concept

  1. Achilles has an interesting running style in the video. The sentence, “There is no infinite amount of anything in the observable universe,” got me thinking about the ants who seem to like my kitchen counter. They just keep coming. It got me wondering about insects that continue to multiply so they cannot be counted. Still, I get that there is a finite number of them in any given moment.

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    1. It is estimated that there are up to 57,000,000,000,000,000 or 57 sextillion spiders living on Earth, which seems like a heck of a lot of spiders. Most people think that they are creepy but they eat a lot of other bugs killing 400–800 million tons of prey every year, and theoretically could eat every human on the earth in one year, consuming 10% of their own body weight every day! In comparison it is estimated that there are probably only about10,000,000,000,000,000 or 10 sextillion individual ants alive on Earth at any given time, thus making about 6 spiders to every ant.

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  2. Infinity is a weird concept. I’ve sometimes wondered when I hear astronomers talk of the “universe expanding” and I think, “expanding into WHAT?”… isn’t it everything there is. And what could there be if you came to the edge of it?”

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    1. Dave I actually have a theory about the edges of the universe, which I won’t go into, because it is complex, but I think that waves from the Big Bang exist there and they contain energy that may prevent us from the Big Freeze that is predicted by physicists.

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  3. Flashback to algebra class… 1/3 = .3333333333 and on and on. For some reason when I hear infinite my mind goes back to this…my teacher would be proud.

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