"The infinite! No other question has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man; no other idea has so fruitfully stimulated his intellect; yet no other concept stands in greater need of clarification than that of the infinite . . ." David Hilbert (1862-1943)
The very title "Return on Infinity" is in itself ridden with self-contradiction. How do you even begin to harness the infinite concept of "Infinity". Given that the concept has been contemplated by artists, philosophers, mathematicians and common man since before the beginning of written history, it is infinitely pompous of me even to delve into it. However I do have to acknowledge: unconsciously, I use it as a design crutch every single day. Consciously, I might as well give it proper credence.
Famed intellectuals have presented varied concepts about their understanding of infinity. It is as though infinity upholds different meaning for different appeals. As the underground, Russian poet, Joseph Brodsky so rightfully said, "The poetic notion of infinity is far greater than that which is sponsored by any creed." Rudy Rucker in his book, Infinity and the Mind, undertakes a captivating journey to that frontier of the universe he calls the "Mindscape," where he explores infinity in all its forms: potential and actual, mathematical and physical, theological and mundane. Rucker clues us on Kurt Friedrich Gödel's rotating universe, in which he postulates possibility to travel into the past and spells out an interpretation of quantum mechanics in which billions of parallel worlds are produced every microsecond. In the kingdom of infinity, mathematics, science, and logic merge with the marvelous. It is a continuous ebb and flow of hard logic and fluid mysticism. The conundrum that arise from this merging, explains the illusive human mind: its potential, its powers, and its frailty.
In their temples, the Egyptians from antiquity followed a simple layout that mirrored the concept of infinity: the creation of the universe: both metaphorically and structurally. In their usual customary creations, architects, industrial designers and 3D trade show designers are known to play with the flow. The flow of the infinite curve that is. However, architect Serge Salat, takes a giant leap beyond. In 'Beyond Infinity', he brings the abstraction of infinite into finite. It is a multisensory voyage painting “the possibility in the contemporary world to create new beauty and dream through a fusion of classical culture and innovation”. Perhaps, this is the first time in known history one gets to delight on the stark theory that space and time is immersed in an unending subdivision! Enjoy!
[Paradoxes of the infinite arise] only when we attempt, with our finite minds, to discuss the infinite, assigning to it those properties which we give to the finite and limited; but this I think is wrong, for we cannot speak of infinite quantities as being the one greater or less than or equal to another. Galileo Galilei, quoted in Infinity and the Mind by Rudy Rucker.
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Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. Franz Kafka