When Buzz Lightyear cried “To infinity, and beyond” we all applauded. But it seems that nobody had the heart to tell Buzz that the very nature of infinity means it’s impossible to go beyond it! But, what actually is infinity, and how do we define it? This is not a recent question, and it has actually been pondered and pontificated over by experts throughout the ages.
Indeed, everyone from Aristotle to Albert Einstein have weighed in with their opinions regarding infinity over the years. So, it’s important to think about what it actually is. Is infinity simply an abstract concept, the likes of which we would discuss in philosophy? Or, is infinity actually something that exists in the real world. Let’s take a look at what infinity actually might be.
Okay, so the basic definition of what we know as being infinity is basically to describe something that knows no bounds and limitations. It’s something larger than any number, and a concept that is difficult to try to pin down. Einstein is known for his famous quote about the infinity of the universe. Yes, he might have been trying to be a little cute, but Einstein kind of has a point. Stupidity is not something that can be measured or defined, especially among the human race as a collective.
There’s more than one kind
There isn’t just one kind of infinity, and this is because of curiosities like potential infinity. A goods example of this would be something like counting. This is actually something that, in theory, could go on forever, because numbers are limitless. Then there is something like the infinity symbol, which is infinite, but must follow a boundary. The other thing to understand is that some infinities can actually be larger than others. This is generally linked to mathematics, where you can find some types of infinities that are uncountable.
We can’t measure it
One of the most telling (but also frustrating) things about infinity is that we are unable to measure it. But, how do we prove it exists if we can’t measure it? Well, this is one of the things that makes the concept of infinity such a struggle for a lot of people. It’s highly debatable whether or not infinities can actually exist in the real world, or whether they are simply conceptual. In fact, Einstein postulated that not even the universe is infinite, but, more likely, somewhere in between finite and infinite.
It’s clear that infinity is something that cannot be easily defined. Many have tried, but it is pretty much impossible to find examples of infinities in the real world. For the most part, the idea of infinity is something that we kno9w of as being an abstract concept or idea. Whether we will ever reach a point where we can define or quantify exactly what infinity is remains to be seen. For now, we will simply have to accept it as a concept, and try to decide what we mean when we use the term infinity.