01 April 2008

“False Infinity”

Someone asked a judicious time later why I figured that the universe was finite. Where had I heard or read that? I replied that they told me it was. I simply did not know. They were ready to impale me with ridicule and humble me with humiliations if I stayed silent. So I thought about it a little for myself.

“I know nothing!” I repeated --- once too often. The HA-HA-HA had died out of that coming from me.

The explanation I was given that I remember best was that in an infinite universe there would presumably be an infinite number of shining stars in our sky such that we would be inundated with light. Since this was not so there could not be an infinite number of shining stars and there could not be an infinite universe. There would be an infinite number of stars the light of which would always be infinitely far away forever by their logic. Further, there is only so much light that could “fit” in a local or finite space. If the speed of light is finite then there may be other finites within the infinite.

This was an example of “linear infinity” and “false infinity”. If only a finite amount of light reaches us we have to find out why.

Can it be argued that the universe is infinite or not if it is not known that it cannot be infinite or not? Simply put, can it be known that the universe is infinite if we cannot ever complete a measure of it? Might there be a limit to knowability? Maybe we cannot come to know the answer. My “friends” were incredulous: how could I stop there and leave them ignorant. “Knowledge does not come on a silver platter” I answered. “Personality is a potential. Intelligence is a potential. Beauty is a potential. YOU must WORK at it to make it work.” So I replied. The fisticuffs of humiliation still awaited my answer. There was a beautiful face in the bunch that made me begin to cry.

There is the greater infinite amount of dust in the way of the infinite amount of light. Maybe there is an infinite number of “things” that can happen to “free” light freely gallivanting about the infinite universe such as an infinite amount of new things such an amount of light could do before it could get “too far”. Rather than travel about indefinitely all night the light might eventually “do” something. That would make “sense” in a universe of constant activity.

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