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  1. #1
    Senior Member Into It's Avatar
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    Default Infinity through the process of elimination

    I believe the universe to be infinite because I must. I cannot prove or disprove infinity - I can't even fathom it. However, I am very familiar with finity, so I'll work with that in a moment.

    Infinity seems intuitive enough, but I want to be precise with my terms so that I am understood and so the replies will be perfectly relevant.

    Infinity is substance without boundaries.

    If anything exists anywhere, it is necessarily a part of the infinity, because to isolate it would imply a boundary, and infinity is a "state" that involves no boundaries.

    Finity, as the only alternative to infinity, implies at least one boundary.

    Absurdity is a state of being that can not exist in reality because it is a contradiction by definition.

    An example is a square circle - because a circle must have no corners and a square must have four, square circles are absurd, and therefore cannot exist, or cannot exist and are therefore absurd.

    Substance is anything that exists. Anything at all.

    Very quickly, I want to answer to the "First Cause" argument, which, forgive my stupidity, I cannot take seriously.

    If we are to postulate a first cause for the universe, then three thoughts immediately come to mind.

    The first thought is that through accepting the First Cause argument, one denies the infinity of the universe by default. I do not know if this is commonly accepted as true or not, but it most certainly is true, because creation implies beginning, which in turn implies a boundary.

    The second thought is that the function and primary assumption of First Cause is that nothing may exist without a cause. This appears myopic to me- everything within a specific and measurable timeframe is subject to cause an effect in a universe that exists in time and therefore by definition can not sit still even for a moment (which would contradict the existence of time, as a measurement of motion). But there is no reason that the whole must be subject to cause and effect, and in fact, it cannot be, because of the infinite regression we reach when we ask "what caused the first cause?"

    Infinite regression implies a dilemma.
    Either - there is absurdity through a statement that defeats itself: All things must have a cause, but the First Cause doesn't have a cause, or there is infinity.

    What is a boundary? It separates one substance from another - that's it.

    Nothing - by definition, does not exist.

    Let me present another dilemma that is similar to the first. If an object, such as the universe, is finite, it has a boundary. Therefore, the boundary either separates it from something, or it separates it from nothing.

    If the boundary separates it from something, then we branch off into the original dilemma of absurdity vs. infinity.

    If the boundary separates it from nothing, then we have simply described infinity in a roundabout way. To say "I am separate from nothing" is to say "I am infinite."

    I'm getting a little tired right now but let me just wrap this up by saying the most common logical error made in this issue is assuming that cause and effect must apply to the whole.
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  2. #2
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    One thing you might want to consider is that your definition of infinite is unorthodox. The common definition of infinite is "unbounded in at least one aspect". Something which is unbounded in all aspects might not actually exist and therefore your definition of infinity would be absurd.

    For example as far as we know any type of matter can not reach a temperature below absolute zero. This is a boundary and therefore since all matter is bounded in this way the universe cannot be infinite according to your definitioin.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Into It's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    One thing you might want to consider is that your definition of infinite is unorthodox. The common definition of infinite is "unbounded in at least one aspect". Something which is unbounded in all aspects might not actually exist and therefore your definition of infinity would be absurd.

    For example as far as we know any type of matter can not reach a temperature below absolute zero. This is a boundary and therefore since all matter is bounded in this way the universe cannot be infinite according to your definitioin.
    Okay, thank you- let's see where the train of thought goes this time.

    Infinity - unbounded in at least one aspect
    Finity - hmm...I'm not sure how to define finity other than as the antithesis.

    At first glance, it appears to me that redefining infinity in this way means that no useful comparison of finity vs. infinity can be made unless we are only comparing one aspect at a time. This is disappointing to me and it throws a stick in my spokes. I have to think about this before posting more. I was expecting this to be a popular thread.
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  4. #4
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Define them like this:

    Infinity - unbounded in at least one aspect
    Finity - bounded in all aspects
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Gerbah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Into It View Post
    Okay, thank you- let's see where the train of thought goes this time.

    Infinity - unbounded in at least one aspect
    Finity - hmm...I'm not sure how to define finity other than as the antithesis.

    At first glance, it appears to me that redefining infinity in this way means that no useful comparison of finity vs. infinity can be made unless we are only comparing one aspect at a time. This is disappointing to me and it throws a stick in my spokes. I have to think about this before posting more. I was expecting this to be a popular thread.
    I agree that with such definitions there isn't any point in comparing finity and infinity, because you seem to want to talk about them in terms of absolutes.

    I agree that everything that exists must be a part of the infinity, otherwise the infinity would be bounded. The error must be in our perception of our experience. Those who have had mystical experiences have experientially experienced boundlessness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Into It View Post
    If the boundary separates it from*nothing,*then we have simply described infinity in a roundabout way. To say "I am separate from nothing" is to say "I am infinite."
    This depends on what you mean by I. When we say I we are usually identifying ourselves with something, usually in opposition to what is not I, i.e. there is a boundary. This sense of I and other is a normal and necessary part of ego development, by this I mean the ego consciousness of your personality, unique history, etc. But if you don't identify primarily with your ego consciousness, which is bounded, then you don't necessarily have to perceive reality through its bounded lens. According to what I have read anyway. It makes sense to me because your ego consciousness is just a set of mental constructs which can change or be mistaken and is inherently founded on being bounded.

    So, there must be an infinite "I" (which is not the normal bounded ego consciousness) if there is infinity, and it can perceive infinity and its unity, as people throughout history have.

  6. #6
    The elder Holmes Mycroft's Avatar
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    Liquid Laser, at this point, I, Solitary Walker, and now a third board member have attempted, in varying ways, to present this truism, which has been accepted and variously incorporated by all of the great philosophers since Kant. Your definition -- unbounded in at least one respect -- does not address the issue behind "first cause": everything in our finite experience of the universe is caused, e.g. has antecedents; as this cannot go on forever (antecedents to antecedents to infinity), our finite experience of reality must adhere within an infinite ultimate reality, which is unbounded in all respects, since any limitation would entail an "end" to reality, which would require reality to be suspended in non-reality; this is, to use Into It's terminology, absurd.

    So yes, because reality, at its highest level, must be unbounded in all respects, we use the term "infinite" in describing it simply because it is the best term available. Because this understanding has been variously arrived at and accepted by some of the greatest thinkers in the history of mankind does not mean that it's necessarily true: I would, however, posit that perhaps you've not understood.
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  7. #7
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    I'm not making any kind of philosophical statement. I'm only suggesting that people use orthodox definitions, so that communication is clear.
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  8. #8
    The elder Holmes Mycroft's Avatar
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    No, you're asking for an extremely difficult concept to, somehow, be expressed in simplistic terminology. Definitions became "orthodox" through repetition as a result of nearly universal comprehension. Difficult concepts defy this.

    Your horse has been led to water.
    Dost thou love Life? Then do not squander Time; for that's the Stuff Life is made of.

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  9. #9
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    In my opinion life as I know it is finite but as my spiritual self knows it and my logical self understands it, life is infinite. So that's about all I have to add to the discussion, which is conceptually poorly framed, or at least finitely conceived, if I may be so rash in saying.

  10. #10
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    No, you're asking for an extremely difficult concept to, somehow, be expressed in simplistic terminology.
    I'm suggesting that the terminology should be used so that communication is clear. If someone wants to present a new concept they should use new terminology. For example when ultraviolet light was discovered, they didn't decide to call it "purple light". That would be confusing. Purple light is already used to describe a different kind of light.

    If someone wants to present a new concept, then they should use new terminology. A sloppy use of definitions leads to sloppy thinking. Words which are clearly defined fascilitate clear thinking. I can understand that if a concept is new, then coming up with new terminology can be difficult. However that should still be a goal that a person should strive for, because it leads to clear thinking about the subject. A person should want to think about the subject clearly even if it is a difficult subject.
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