To Infinity and Beyond
Infinity is purely an abstract concept and its definition is as follows; a quantity greater than any assignable quantity of the same kind. It is represented by the symbol ∞ known as the lemniscate. It originated in late Middle English, from the Latin term infinitas. There are many applications of infinity which arise in philosophy, mathematics and theology. It’s most commonly used in mathematics where it can be treated as a number and is crucial in areas such as limits, aleph numbers, classes in set theory, Dedekind-infinite sets, large cardinals, Russell’s paradox, non-standard arithmetic, hyperreal numbers, projective geometry, extended real numbers and the absolute Infinite.
Infinity has quite a few synonyms. It can be referred to as unboundedness, without end, endlessness, unlimited and indefinitely great. Other ways to define Infinity would include that it is unbounded space, time or quantity or it is something so vast that it’s impossible to measure. Infinity is the complete opposite of terms like definiteness, limitation, finiteness, limitedness, bounds and ending.
There is a poet named William Blake who wrote a poem called “Auguries of Innocence”, and in the first paragraph, it says,
“To see a world in a grain of sand,
and heaven in a wildflower,
hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour.”
I believe that William Blake was expressing the somehow comprehensible and yet incomprehensible nature of infinity in this poem. It’s common among Western Society to talk about counting to infinity, which would actually would be impossible because when counting to infinity, many people may start at number one, but the nature of infinity shows that there wouldn’t be a starting point. There are an infinite number of starting points, and you could count from negative infinity to positive infinity. Another problem with counting to infinity is you could add one infinity plus two infinity plus three...