∞ & 0 !

infiniteNothingBecause today is 12/12/12 I am finding myself thinking about numbers. Especially the two that are representative of simple and important concepts. Everything and nothing. The everything or infinite is often represented by a fallen numeral 8 that looks like ∞. The other, nothing, is our deceptively familiar zero or 0.

Regardless of how fast you can count, as long as it takes some time to count each number by one (and for now let us restrict ourselves to the positive integers) you can never count all of the numbers. Even when we think about large numbers and use shortcuts to represent such as in 10 to the power of 10 or 10X10X10X10X10X10X10X10X10X10 which becomes 10,000,000,000, we can never express all the possible numbers in anything that takes any time to consider even with groupings of large numbers. But we have a symbol that does represent the concept of an infinite set which is “∞”.

Similar to that is the symbol “0”. It represents nothing. It is the true opposite of “∞”. We can try to approach nothing by starting at 1 and divide it by 2 we get the fractional result of 0.5. We repeat the process on the result and regardless of how small it becomes as we continue to divide it by 2 it will never become nothing.

However things can become so small that they are indistinguishable from nothing. The same is true of really big numbers. They can become so large that it is indistinguishable from infinity! It use to be that one million dollars was an impressively big number. Assume you have a block of gold worth one million dollars. Now imagine you have one million blocks each worth one million dollars.

You would have one Trillion Dollars!

Now let us say you play that children’s game of counting by 1 as in count to ten; one,two,three,…nine,ten! Often that is expanded to count to a hundred; one,two,three,…ninety-nine,one hundred! Either exercise should take less than two minutes. But if you seriously want to count to a million and are able to stay awake 24 hours and not sleep until you are done while also maintaining the pace of one count per second, it will take you nearly 12 days to complete that task! However that is literally an impossible task.

Instead you decide to work at it. Each day you will devote 8 hours to the pursuit of counting to one million by one and will sustain adding one each second and maintain your effort for at least 8 hours each day. Your daily goal is to add 144,000 counts to the previous days total. This work will take you nearly 7 weeks to complete! A similar attempt to count to one trillion will thus take 133,547 years. Well beyond the lifetime of anyone I know!

My point is this. Everything that we know as real lies between ∞ & 0 !