When I was in 7th grade, I got in a fight with my Math teacher about infinity. We were learning about decimals at the time, and he taught my class that, there was an infinity of numbers between 0 and 1. Even though one minus zero is one and that is finite, decimals can go on forever and it is not possible to get to the end of possible numbers between 0 and 1. Ok, I’m with you. Then he went on to say that there is also an infinity of numbers between 0 and 0.5. Now wait just a minute. I got what he was saying, but I couldn’t accept that there one infinity could be bigger than another. I disrupted the class with my arguments until he threatened to make me stick my nose against the blackboard for the rest of class and I finally capitulated.
I am no less frustrated by this concept now than I was then, though I’ve learned to accept it. What choice do I have? It is true. Infinity doesn’t include Everything.
An object can travel in space, continuing forever in one direction into infinity, but it may never hit the Sun, or a number of other destinations. Infinity exists in all directions.
When writing, I could adjust, edit, and tweak a short document forever: there are an endless number of possible changes within the confines of a single page. But the changes I could make in a book or a single sentence are equally limitless.
There is one question in my life that I know I could churn over in my head forever: should we still be together? A person can only live one life, and I will never know how the path I chose would compare to what could have been. I want to reflect on my past and learn from it, but I am beginning to see that this questioning has no end: the “what ifs” could go on forever.
Within that one question, there is an entire infinity that could trap me forever. And while it is tempting to know what that other life would have held for me, it’s comforting to know there are entire worlds and lives in other directions, waiting for me if I chose to accept them.
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