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Are we able to wrap our mind around infinity?

Infinity. It’s a puzzling concept. Is it real, or a mathematical fiction?
Aristotle believed infinity could only be potential, never actual. To speak of an actual infinity, he argued, is to fall into logical contradiction: “The infinite turns out to be the contrary of what it is said to be,” Aristotle wrote in the Physics. “It is not what has nothing outside it that is infinite, but what always has something outside it.”

Topics: Infinity

Closing Statement from Mohammad Mohammadipour

Dear All
Thanks for your comments;
And, last but not the least:
Arisen to voiceless unattainable peaks
I meet no end, for all is boundless He,
An absolute Joy the wide-winged spirit seeks,
A Might, a Presence, an Eternity.

In the inconscient dreadful dumb Abyss
Are heard the heart-beats of the Infinite.
The insensible midnight veils His trance of bliss,
A fathomless sealed astonishment of Light.

In His ray that dazzles our vision everywhere,
Our half-closed eyes seek fragments of the One:
Only the eyes of Immortality dare
To look unblinded on that living Sun.

Yet are our souls the Immortal's selves within,
Comrades and powers and children of the Unseen.

Sri Aurobindo(October 1939)
Best Regards.
Mohammad Mohammadipour

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    May 14 2012: Mohammad,
    Aristotle said a lot of things, like crystal spheres holding up the stars and planets. He argued that it would fall into a logical contradiction because it could never be logically understood.

    I see infinity as multi-faceted. Space is infinite. Time is infinite. Possibilities are infinite. So long as there are infinities, there will always be new horizons to achieve. We cannot grasp the nature of infinity because the human mind can only compute finite concepts. We can ponder on the word, but I don't think we can ever grasp what it means.

    I used to think in terms of space as being infinite. If space was finite, then there must be an outer limit. But if there was an outer limit, then we must conceive of a barrier that only had one side to it. I have also conceived time as being infinite. If it were not so, then how could there be nothing before or after now, and why does now exist? If it were so, then where are we within the time line? Would we not forever be within the limits of eternity? We can only quantify time in terms of reference points. The big-bang is a beginning of time for our present universe. Can time exist beyond the big-bang? How could it not be so? And yet, we are incapable of determining anything outside of the universe we now live in because we have nothing to relate it to. What lies beyond will always lie beyond.
    • May 15 2012: Dear Roy
      I think SPACE and TIME are the basic parameters of our WORLD. Anything existing in the WORLD has dimension and duration.
      ( "in the WORLD" does not mean being physically inside some place called WORLD, it means that rules of WORLD governs on every matter and radiation existing.)
      Another unusual idea is that in the case that there were no mater or radiation in the WORLD, then time would not pass. TIME, similar to SPACE, do not exist physically. So we should not wonder about the boundaries of time and space. The span of time and space in our world is as far as the collection of finite masses and radiations spread. There is nothing over them in time and space.
      This view explains why non-physical beings like our spirits are not limited by time and space. Time and space are attributed to physical mass and energy.
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        May 16 2012: K Hamzeh,
        I agree with you that time and space are boundaries in our physical world.

        I don't understand your last statement...."Time and space are attributed to physical mass and energy".

        I believe that time and space are attributed to physical mass in that they are human constructs which limit us.

        I don't understand how time and space are attributed to energy. In my perception, energy is unlimited, and has no boundaries other than the ones we create in physical, human form?
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        May 17 2012: Hamzeh
        how do you think about this quesion:

        mathematically speaking, is it possible to find INFINITY1 inside INFINITY2?
        Does it limit INFINITY1?
        please add you answer to Salim's reply
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      May 16 2012: Roy,
      You write....."Time is infinite. Possibilities are infinite....We cannot grasp the nature of infinity because the human mind can only compute finite concepts". I agree to a certain extent, and as you say...possibilities are infinite:>) If we are using only the human, logical mind to try to understand, then we may not grasp infinity.

      You ask... "where are we in the time line?" "Would we not forever be within the limits of eternity?"

      It appears that you are trying to understand by putting the idea into a "time line" and "limits of eternity". In my perception, time and space are human constructs. How would it feel to suspend thoughts of limits and time lines, and go with your intuition/instinct, which tells you that these human constructs may be limiting your exploration?

      I agree that there are no limits of eternity or infinity, and we are experiencing the synchronistic cycle now.
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        May 16 2012: Colleen,
        An interesting comment.

        Our minds need reference points to focus on. Without these reference points, we don't know how to engage in creation. We build upon existing ideas to add to them. We must grasp the existing ideas before we can take them to new levels. These are all human constructs. To go outside of that is to venture into the unknown. I've been there before. I had to withdraw to a place I understood. But I have a sense of what you are trying to say.
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          May 16 2012: Roy,
          I agree that it is benificial to maintain certain points of reference IF we are trying to build upon existing ideas. IF we want to explore a different, or expanded idea, I suggest that it might be benificial to suspend existing ideas, at least temporarily during our exploration. It is difficult to move past existing ideas, if we want to maintain them as reference points.

          I agree..."to go outside of that is to venture into the unknown". Please tell me how you can explore new ideas if you do not go outside what you already know? This is a basic scientific belief...is it not? Exploring the unknown?

          You say you "had to withdraw to a place I understood". So, you are creating your own limitations as far as exploring the unknown?

          p.s. I'm more than half way through your book:>)
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        May 16 2012: Colleen,
        I know what it means to think outside of the box. I have used many devices for purposes for which they were not designed. I figured out other uses, much like Rube Goldberg.

        Yes, it is a basic scientific belief to go outside what you already know. I don't have a problem with that.

        When I say I had to withdraw, I was in meditation. I was exceeding the limits of what my mind could comprehend. I felt it dangerous to venture too deep in uncharted territory. I was warned by a co-worker who once worked at an asylum about not going too deep into the unknown. He had dealt with many who had gone too far and never came back.
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          May 16 2012: Roy,
          I'm aware that you sometimes "think outside of the box", based on your comments on TED, and what I've read so far in your book. That's EXACTLY why some of your comments surprise me.

          Like your comment above..." These are all human constructs. To go outside of that is to venture into the unknown". I think/feel that to explore outside the box, we need to venture into the unknown.

          OK...now I understand your fear, based on your recent comment. You think/feel it is "dangerous to venture too deep in uncharted territory"...you are afraid of going too far and never coming back...got it!

          4 hours later.
          I've been in the gardens, working, playing and pondering:>) Heavy winds and rain just drove me inside:>)

          When I said "got it" in my previous comment, I was saying "got it" that you have fears. For what it's worth, I am aware of LOTS of people who ended up in institutions because they tried to reach an altered state of mind with drugs. I have never heard of even one person in my whole life who ended up institutionalized because of meditation, and that doesn't really make sense to me.

          The state of meditation, in my understanding and practice, encourages us to be in the moment. "Exceeding the limits of what the mind could comprehend", does not fit with what meditation is meant to encourage, and it doesn't even sound like meditation to me.
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        May 16 2012: Colleen
        Wondering when last any innovation human civilization could come up with" in box "thinking ?
        Do you know? If so please share.
        If rightly have understood the tone of your discussion I agree with you that without having the courage of going into uncharted territory our civilization only can achieve a status quo nothing more nothing less than that.
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          May 16 2012: Hi Salim...nice to see you:>)
          I don't think/feel that new ideas EVER evolve with "in box thinking".

          I believe certain leaders would like to keep us all "in the box" of their choosing as a control mechanism, and there are always some of us who will venture beyond the box and challenge "in the box" thinking.

          I really believe that we are at a point in our evolution, when more people are moving outside the boxes of control, and beginning to evaluate information, and make better choices in the life adventure. What do you think about this idea?

          I agree that if we don't explore uncharted territory, we generally remain status quo.
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          May 17 2012: Mohammad,
          Mathematically, dividing infinity by two still yields infinity. Infinity has no boundaries. If we were to split the universe in half, there would still be infinity on both sides of the plane. I believe the same is true with time.

          As far as finding infinity1 within infinity2, I don't think it would limit infinity1 if it is a true infinity. I don't know of any actual situation that I could relate it to. If you have any ideas, feel free to question. I know that it has been postulated that subatomic particles may contain a universe within them, but I can't comprehend such a thing being possible except on paper.
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        May 17 2012: Colleen,
        When I was nine, I had an experience that I have shared before. That experience took me beyond what I could comprehend. At first it was very enlightening. But then it became so overpowering that I was losing any sense of who I was. I didn't feel that my mind could handle it. It went from the moment to far beyond the moment. The scriptures say no one can see the face of God and live. I feel I came dangerously close to knowing what that means. It doesn't mean that I no longer feel safe to meditate, it only means I have come to know that I have limits.
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          May 17 2012: I am aware of that experience Roy, because you shared the story in your book and in several comments here on TED. In reading all of your accounts, it seemed like a pleasent experience, and an answer to a question you had asked. Sorry it was an experience that was frightening for you...I did not percieve that at all based on your other comments.
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          May 17 2012: Dear Roy
          i should really appreciate it if you could read Krisztian's discussion and answer the following questions:

          is it possible to find infinite sets of infinity inside an infinity?
          And now, is it possible to find infinite numbers of infinite universes inside an infinite universe (mind)?
          Please add your comment on the top of the page.
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        May 17 2012: Colleen,
        The first experience did turn out to be a bit frightening toward the end. The other experiences were quite pleasant. I had learned in the first when things were getting out of hand. I haven't had that problem since.

        Something else to add to this topic. When I was in nuclear physics class and could relate my experience to something I was learning, I questioned the other students on the subject. They quite frankly told me that I was asking a question that was clearly beyond the capacity of the human mind to comprehend. They related it to a computer trying to divide by zero. If the computer didn't have a syntax error (something that tells the computer to terminate the computation, It would burn itself out. They warned me about not trying to do the same thing with my mind. Whether that would happen or not I don't know. But I remembered what happened in my first experience when things were going too far. Anyway, it's something to think about.
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          May 17 2012: Roy
          It is a choice, of course, for all people to decide for him/herself what is "beyond the capacity of the human mind to comprehend". It is also important to take care of oneself when frightened. Apparently, you DO think about it, and have made certain choices because of your experience and the warnings you recieved.
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      May 17 2012: HI Roy
      how do you think about this quesion:

      mathematically speaking, is it possible to find INFINITY1 inside INFINITY2?
      Does it limit INFINITY1?
      please add you answer to Salim's reply

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