Maybe I’m dense, slow and shallow* but what’s so hard to understand about the infinite?
We can’t understand the specific content of the infinite.
Sure, of course we can’t. What is it, for one thing? We haven’t a 0.0000001nth of an idea what infinity’s content is. Add as many zeroes in there as you feel like holding down the zero key for, by the way. We have a beyond infinitesimal understanding of what it is that is, in and all through infinity.
But the infinite itself?
It’s a snap to map. Endless extent in all directions, is that so hard to conceptualize? You figure probably a lot of it’s more or less super symmetric, corresponding to the kinds of physics we know. But you also figure there is plenty of room for something else. Out past a certain point in any direction, you’d expect to reach the leading edge of the big bang’s ongoing still-in-progress explosion (or I still would; theories differ), still infinitely-out folding in omnidirectional light speed splay and array. Past that?
Would be more infinity. Possibly of alien character, but not hard to compass in scope.
It just keeps going on in scope.
The bottom line is, content is incidental. Local physics (if any different to our local physics) is incidental. Incidental to the infinite. Whatever it may be, even the dimensional texture or novel spatial curvature, even time running sideways, strange things operating harmoniously yet haywire to what we’re used to – is incidental.
It is not involved in the infinite. Pure incidence.
The infinite itself is pure and sheer, thrilling and quite austere, when you think about it. It could contain anything, and mean almost anything.
The finite right in front of us, though! That’s where we have to come to grips with detail, detail, detail. Comprehend in sum, understand in relation. You can’t seriously be saying the challenge in understanding the infinite is not being able to reach to distant detail? Lack of access to what frustrates our ability to understand even the mere, here finite? Yet you’ll note even there: the finite, we understand readily.
It’s only its contents that can sometimes frustrate.
Well, everybody knows we can’t know the contents of the infinite. That would be a spurious objection, and I do not believe it can be the root of yours. Yet if that’s not your point, then what is?
The infinite itself is straightforward forever in all directions, give or take as much curvature, tear, loophole or gravity whorl as occurs or fits – itself a breeze to understand or imagine. Infinity is simplicity without limit, conceptually. More straight (plus every other line or arc) and more forward (plus every other direction) than anything else is, or ever was.
What’s the obstacle in infinity?
An inch is a thousand miles, to the power of elebenty jajillion kajillion lajillion and keep pulling back, zooming out. There’s no limit to that. All this picture’s missing is incident and detail, but…incident and detail are not hard to understand, or imagine as different. We don’t know what specifics exist in infinity’s contents, but detail and incident are irrelevant to understanding infinity.
That kind of stuff happens all the time, right here. Anyway.
It’s not like understanding the infinite adds anything to what we’ve got right here to understand.
We tend to look to the easily relatable somewhat logical and made finitely useful concepts and not to delimit infinity into actually possible infinity/s – infinities that can be dealt with as they may actually be what we mean by such a thing in reality. Infinity is potentially applicable concept in reality until known bounds in reality limit that or something else is shown to possibly be the case.
Apparently the universe is possibly infinite in its bounds. The abstract concept infinity as a number itself is useful in mathematics in expressions that represent a value as it approaches infinity so that we can use Calculus as a tool – we have the language and basis in principles to manipulate numbers thus. Numbers of many numbers types can go on infinitely. Theoretically they can get smaller to infinity. But can that happen practically for particles as the smallest unit possible between them is given as Planck lengths – in units so small that nothing smaller can even theoretically be measured. We experience most things in reality as well in sets with a finite number of elements.
God is said to be infinite in nature – timeless even – as he has no beginning or end. Time on the other hand is not infinite and in and of itself does not really exist. So God and the universe are what we might expect could be infinite in and of themselves except for how infinity is used in mathematics -theoretically with associated practical limits. What about alternate universes in quantum physics? And infinite variations of possible selves as interpretations of possible nature of reality – this is much more conjecture.
What s bigger God or the infinite universe – unless both are one as in Hindi religion. Problem is even their conception of time in giant cycles is eventually finite as it relates to even their understanding of things so the finite explains the ultimately infinite.
Pi is infinite but the actually used value is set to just so many places of decimal as doing that makes the value useful. Is it useful to understand how having a definitive notion of GOD interferes with his actual nature in reality or our understanding thereof? Some religions limit what can be said of God for this reason. We can work with infinity as a theoretical value used in numeric tool or as a descriptive conceptual value approximating possible reality – multiple cycles or copies or repetitions or divisions or operations or potentially limitless states of being – to a capture point with expressible bounds. Infinite becomes just really great and that ends that.
The need to express the infinite in workable fashions or methodologies exists. Art mimics infinity in seemingly unending perspective drawings or paintings. Math even allows work in infinite numerical dimensions but reality has a finite number of spatial dimensions. Both sets of facts on dimensions are used to understand the real. Art speaks to the made possible by illusionary means in reality as infinity. Most people desire not to know too much of either as their lives depend more on set values and are more often limited to their usual sets of things, people places and events.