Do Infinities Exist in Nature?

I like this sort of mind-boggling stuff.


What would you see if you came to the edge of the Universe? It’s hard to imagine so it’s tempting to conclude that the Universe doesn’t have an edge and therefore that it must be infinite. That’s not a necessary conclusion however. There are things that are finite in extent but still don’t have an edge, the prime example being the surface of a sphere. It’s got a finite area but when you walk around on it you’ll never fall over an edge. The question of whether the Universe is finite or infinite is one that still hasn’t been answered, and there are mathematical models that allow for both possibilities. More generally, the question of whether any infinite quantities can arise in the Universe is a deep one. In April this year philosophers, cosmologists and physicists came together at the University of Cambridge, as part of a conference series on the philosophy of cosmology, in order to discuss it. Plus went along to find out more (and you can also listen to the interviews we did in our podcast).

People have been studying infinity and its relation to reality for a long time. “The idea of studying infinities in physics really began with Aristotle,” says the Cambridge cosmologist John D. Barrow. “Aristotle made a clear distinction between two types of infinity. One he called potential infinities and he was quite happy to allow for those to appear in descriptions of the world. These are just like lists that never end. The ordinary numbers are an example; one, two, three, four, five, and so on, the list goes on forever. It’s infinite, but you never reach or experience the infinity. In a subject like cosmology, there are lots of infinities like that and most people are quite happy with them. For example, the Universe might have infinite size; it might have an infinite past age, it might be destined to have an infinite future age. These are all potential infinities, so they don’t bite you as it were, they’re just ways of saying that things are limitless, they’re unbounded, like that list of numbers.”

While most people are happy to accept that potential infinities may exist, we still don’t know whether they actually do. “When you look at the Universe, how far you can see is strictly limited, because the Universe has been in existence for a finite time, for around 14 billion years,” says George Ellis, a cosmologist from the University of Cape Town. “Light travels at the speed of light, so you can only see out to a distance essentially of 14 billion light years; it’s a little bit bigger but basically that’s it. There’s no way you can see to infinity. It’s like [looking out] from a tower on the surface of the Earth; you can see to the horizon, but you can’t see beyond. In that case you can get on a plane and fly to the other side. In the case of the Universe, the scale is such that we can’t move; we’re stuck at one point and we can only see the Universe from one point out to a finite distance.”

 via Do infinities exist in nature?

Infinity (symbol: ) is an abstract concept describing something without any limit and is relevant in a number of fields, predominantly mathematics and physics. The English word infinity derives from Latininfinitas, which can be translated as “unboundedness”, itself calqued from the Greek word apeiros, meaning “endless”.

In mathematics, “infinity” is often treated as if it were a number (i.e., it counts or measures things: “an infinite number of terms”) but it is not the same sort of number as the real numbers. In number systems incorporating infinitesimals, the reciprocal of an infinitesimal is an infinite number, i.e., a number greater than any real numberGeorg Cantor formalized many ideas related to infinity and infinite sets during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the theory he developed, there are infinite sets of different sizes (called cardinalities). For example, the set of integers is countably infinite, while the infinite set of real numbers is uncountable. [Wikipedia]

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Expand your mind.

– BDL1983


The concept of infinity is one of the most baffling concepts ever conceived in human thought. The idea that something can continue ‘infinitely’, without any starting point or ending point is beyond the capacity of human comprehension. No-one can explain it because the infinity concept destroys our entire understanding of what we perceive as reality…. None of even the most incredible minds in all of history have come up with adequate explanations of ‘infinity’ and why it contradicts our perceived reality!! This is because we do not understand the true nature of our existence, what put us here, and why we exist….. Why does the world exist as it does, or the universe for that matter? What is the true nature of our reality? Can our minds even fathom it? Or can we only establish for certain that we don’t understand absolute reality?


These questions are fascinating to think about when you’re in the right mood. I believe that humans in their current state cannot ever fathom the true nature of reality and existence. It is beyond our comprehension. I believe we CAN establish that we don’t understand the true nature of reality; but that is where it ends…… Here’s how I see things:

The perceivable reality in front of us is a 3D world. We perceive distance, direction, force, speed, sound, time (I know; this is the 4th dimension…), weight, hot, cold and on and on…… For the purpose of this argument I’m going to use distance and time as my measurable mediums. Distance is a finite and numerically definable quantity in our everyday world. If something is 4 kilometres down the road or 35 millimetres away, we can establish a relative sense of how far away the object in question is….. This is simple logic. The same idea applies when analysing how we think of time intervals. It is all relative in a finite sense. As long as we keep our thought processes within our everyday finite reality; distance and time make sense to us!

Now take distance and time, and apply ‘infinity’ to them.


For ‘distance’, picture yourself on a dark starry night pointing directly upwards. If our perceived 3D reality was the absolute truth, then we could in theory travel an infinite distance in that direction and NEVER stop or reach an end point; effectively heading for infinity. But where is infinity? Our minds cannot properly fathom this concept. If you went the longest distance into the universe it still wouldn’t matter because according to our finite understanding of reality, you could always travel one millimetre further! This is where I think various scientists like to promote the idea of the universe having a non-linear shape, thereby “explaining” away the ‘infinite universe’ concept. What they can NEVER explain is the fact that if the universe has a non-linear shape (curved) and ‘point to point’ distance (a straight line) is a finite concept and true throughout the universe (as we understand it here on earth), then what’s to stop something heading DIRECTLY STRAIGHT until it leaves THIS universe? I don’t think there is any way humans can ever really understand infinite space….

Our ‘universal’ understanding of reality tells us that there cannot be an end-point in outer space; therefore it MUST continue infinitely; while our earthly perception (being finite) tells us there MUST be an end-point somewhere in space; ENTER THE INFINITY PARADOX!


If humans could comprehend infinity, then we could answer the following:

Q. What is the smallest/longest possible distance? A. Neither question can be answered finitely…. How long is a piece of string?…… It could be infinitely short (tending to zero length), or infinitely long. Both are outside our realm of real understanding…. This is where calculus enters the equation; to mathematically express the infinity concept so it can be applied to various engineering and scientific problems.

It’s the same deal with the concept of time. When did time begin? HOW could time have a beginning point? It is a finite relative concept as we perceive it. If you could go back to a theoretical beginning point for ‘time’, what would prevent you from going back before this point, if our current perception of ‘time’ is absolute truth?

I think I’ve made my point here…… The fact that a concept such as infinity exists and is beyond our comprehension proves that we do not understand the absolute true nature of reality! If we did understand absolute reality, then everyday quantities like distance and time would make perfect sense in a UNIVERSAL way, not just as we use them in their finite sense……

Another concept which is mind-boggling is that of our individual consciousness. What is it that creates our individual conscious awareness? Religious people say it’s God and that they know all about this ‘God’ character, therefore we should all listen to them…. I say we don’t know what this creative force is and that our current level of understanding is not high enough for us to be able to define it. But I do believe there IS some ‘higher creative force’ of the universe that somehow and for some reason put things how they are……. We just don’t know what it is! When we hear stories of reincarnation and out-of-body-experiences/near-death-experiences; maybe these phenomena are related to the person’s conscious perception entering another realm of reality? I really don’t know but this sort of stuff is interesting to think about!


Q. Where is humanity at when it comes to raising its level of consciousness and striving for a higher understanding of reality?

A. Almost all of humanity has been on a downward path lately…. The coloured races have never really been in the game to start with. Most of the White race has degenerated, but within it there still lies that all-important seed of creative thought and upward thinking which only the best still have…. If you agree with the spirit of intellectual inquiry and idealism, then you are among the most worthwhile people of our race! If you are non-white, try supporting these ideals for your own race too……

– Brett