One has a Weakness

for Infinity

A Not-So-Short Story About the Disproportional Expectations of a Single Human Being

“I am nothing.
I’ll never be anything.
I couldn’t want to be something.
Apart from that, I have in me all the dreams in the world.”
Fernando Pessoa

Whenever we want to think about anything, there are several reflexion paths we may take. We may talk about our own empirical conclusions but that’s largely diminishing, because each one of us only has a single, bias, point of view.

You may argue that you are more than able to consider other perspectives, however you are still limited to your own cognitive functioning. In order to evolve our intellect, we need to be open and respectful to different courses of thought, even if we don’t agree with them.

In favor of an acceptable understanding of an individual character, let’s consider first some different possible theories concerning ones, zeros and infinities.

Science, maths, philosophy, have distinctive visions on the these terms, and the people who dominate their fields of interest, can provide us with all sorts of propositions or at least make us consider other options.

Plotinus, who was one of the most influential philosophers in antiquity after Plato and Aristotle, established three basic principles of metaphysics: “The One”, Intellect and Soul. He considered One as the ultimate reality. One, the ineffable, from his point of view, is above and beyond existence.

His concept of “The Great Chain of Being” can be divided into three parts:

  1. Super-being (infinite) — One
  2. Being (finite) — The Divine Mind; The World Soul; The Universe
  3. Sub-being (matter) — Zero

Imagine the following objects: an army, a house, a cat, and your immortal soul. He would say that some of them were more real than the others. Why? Well, the house and the cat are more real than the army, because the army isn’t a single thing, it’s just a group of people, who organize themselves under a set of rules; the house is less real than the cat, because it has no intrinsic principle of being in itself; the cat is a living thing, it has a soul and therefore a higher grade of unity.

Plotinus states that there are higher beings — we go from lesser beings to greater beings; The things that have more unity, emanate to other things. The simple fact that we attempt to speak or think about anything, would result in multiplicity. The reason the One is ineffable is because it transcends our ability to think. He might even say that the One transcends even being itself.

What really bugs me about this, is that it seems that we, as humans, are simultaneously zero, as we are made out of matter, and both something, as we are finite beings with intellect, who consequently tend to one, which is infinite, and therefore impossible— What a mess!

Are we the three things at the same time? Maybe not. If we were a function, we would generate one of those curved lines that tend to some number, like one, but in reality never gets to that exact point. So, to simplify, let’s exclude One as it’s only a reference point, like perfection. My problem still remains: I still feel like both matter and mind. I’m still simultaneously two “abstract” things.

This brings me to a truly bizarre question. Am I a single point or a function? Am I a unit ou do I represent a momentum? Am I a particle or a wave?

Sometimes I think my mind will break from all these connections I see around existence itself; I’m not nearly intellectually prepared enough to handle so many doubts; my body freezes with hesitation, and I firmly try to get back to being just matter, just zero.

As an atheist I don’t care about superstitions, or religious dogmas. I strongly believe in the scientific method. I find physics a rather interesting take on reality, mostly because it’s constantly evolving into new possibilities and theories, that grow on pragmatic premises.

Quantum mechanics is an attempt to explain a lot of strange phenomenon that is most noticeable when we look at particles smaller than atoms, but also applies to larger objects like stars, planets, black holes and other stuff. It’s a colossal reconsideration about how the universe works. What are “things”? Things act like particles and also like waves. — What? How is this even possible, you may ask.

Well, first things, first. What is a wave and what is a particle? Particles are familiar to us. One thing we may say about them is that they are localized in a specific area, while waves are spread out in more then one place at once. When particles interact with each other, they colide and push themselves in other directions, although when two waves meet, they can either reinforce each other, cancel one another or both.

An experiment was devised to compare both particle and wave behavior. It’s called the Double Slit Experiment. It’s regarded as one of the most significant procedures in quantum mechanics.

Basically, they arranged two frames. On one of them they open two slits. The intent was to shoot particles and consequently observe where did they hit the other frame. Then they did the same for waves. To abbreviate, what this came to prove was that one and the other seem to act in the same manner. And strangely enough their action depended on the presence of an observer.

They, the people who know about this things, call it the Superposition Principle, which means that when you are not looking, an object can be in more than one state at once. Sounds freakish, right? But, there is a second rule for the quantum world, which declares that whenever we try to measure a property X, the object has to choose one state to be in.

This is getting crazier and crazier, but let’s just assume that when we’re not able to see how something happened, it happened in all possible ways.

So, if I contemplate myself as an object, it seems to be my choice to whether or not view my own being as a single particle or a wave.

But in reality this doesn’t help me at all. I truly hate the responsibility of choice. What path should I choose? I’m not a river — that much I know for sure. I may contain water, but I can not spread myself all over the multiple possibilities of the world around me. I can not go through multiple slits at once.

Or can I? Is it possible, as a finite human being, to be anything and everything at the same time? Do I need you, as an observer? Neither a particle, nor a wave can look at themselves. Does my existence depends on having someone else around? Should I let other observers dictate the state in which i’m in? If so, how should I allow them to measure me?

There are still too many slits to cross, either as a particle or a wave. Either as individuals or as collective enlightened people. They, the primitive society, the stupid monkeys from the pre-historical past, insist on selling us the ideas that better suit their own agenda. And they show us enough horror to make us sit alone in the dark. Those monkeys don’t want us to even try to go through any slit at all. Anxiety is promoted as if it was a fundamental part of reality.

I demand that all slits be open. Every gap, every fissure, every pinhole should be available, without prejudice. These breaches are all the available pieces of knowledge, that man and woman, behind us in history, fought to reveal.

I have this incredible too-hard-to-handle outlook on the journey of Life. Perhaps, just perhaps, we’re reborn everyday as a single particle, and at the end of everyday, we lay in bed, ready to die, as a wave. We cross each others lives in such a way that we should aim to reinforce one another, not to cancel ourselves out.

If every path is a possibility, if cosmos has multiple promises, how is it possible to maintain low expectations?

I genuinely want nothing less than to be a particle that starts by being Zero, soon after turns into a wave, that extends itself throughout perpetuity. Is it too much to ask?

So I beg you, my intimate observer, by all means, consider me Infinity.

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