Tuesday, 13 October 2009

'Like this, but not really'

The calculus I'm supposed to be studying right now reminds me of how small the human mind really is. There seems to be a repeated theme through my textbook of 'It's like this, but not exactly.' I shouldn't be able to subtract infinity from infinity because it just doesn't make sense. I still end up doing it indirectly. This confuses me.

Because I am confused, I end up wondering how I can be studying infinity anyway. I struggle to grasp twenty years or ten thousand Rand properly. Numbers like a billion or a trillion are really sort of beyond me, but here I am trying to grasp infinity. That's probably why I keep on facing half-answers. There are analogies that explain it if you don't stretch them too far and explanations that make sense if you aren't too rigourous. At the end of the day, though, I think there are some things that are beyond human understanding.

Those things are not only studied in Philosophy and Theology degrees. Anything that is part of God's creation - our entire universe - fits into something bigger than we can understand. So the Maths books say 'Like this, but not really' and 'Infinity isn't a number, but if we treat it like one here it works out'. I guess I just have to accept that God has given some people the insight to find those things and to counter my confusion with a wonder at what He's created.

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