The Infinite : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Mornin' y'all...

I thought I'd pose a few questions that have been on my mind for quite awhile -- hopefully get some of your thoughts on this.

1) Was there a beginning to time and/or existence or does it stretch back to an infinite regress?

2) Will there be an end to time and/or existence or will it stretch forward infinitely?

3) Are there limits to the size of existence, or is size infinite as well? (largeness or smallness)

4) If you believe in the infinite, what about the proposition that you could never cross an infinite path?

5) If you believe things are finite, what came before? Whats beyond?

6) Any other related questions you'd like to cover.

Religious perspectives are definitely encouraged, but Im hopeful that youll have a view on the infiniteness of Gods existence, how He came to be, etc.

I use the term existence rather than the universe because I think its usually used in a wider sense, and Im trying to get the ultimate perspective on this.

And feel completely free to take these issues in any direction you please, given the context.

If enough of yall contribute, maybe we can wrap up and resolve these issues by mid-week. Ok, ok, ok...the end of the week.

-- eve (, October 01, 2000


LOL, the end of next week would be fine with me but we better get crackin'.

Of course you ask the unanswerable. Personally I accept that what is **IS** and that we will never do more than answer questions that lead to more questions. To me, that doesn't mean we shouldn't ask the questions and search for answers.

Asking questions and finding answers is a grand activity and, for better or for worse, distinguishes humans from other creatures. But we should remain humble and acknowledge that we will never know everything. Not even close.

-- Lars (, October 01, 2000.

Hi Lars,

I don't disagree with your post. Yet I LOVE to contemplate these things.

And have a look at this. I just found it and only skimmed it so far, but it looked fascinating...

Must the Past Have a Beginning?

-- eve (, October 01, 2000.

I don't know. I sit on the sidelines for these types of discussions. It would be folly for me to even hazard guesses.

My life's focus is to expand consciousness, to travel and explore consciousness. I know nothing of time & infinity, other than I am happiest when I've stepped outside time and when I experience what I gather feels like infinitude.

My ignorance is showing. Time to take my own advice. If ya'll need a water boy, just give me a holler.

-- Bingo1 (, October 01, 2000.

In reality, there is no time. What we perceive as time is simply a matter of relativity (an illusion), or a "relativity of matter" if you like (see Einstein).

The truest essence of our existence is spiritual, we are part of the only real force in the universe, which some like to call God. Since this force transcends the physical, we see no reason to believe that it will cease to exist. Our spiritual existence as God is everything there is, forever. We exist in infinite space, no beginning, no end.

Physical matter is nothing but our own energy vibrating at slower frequencies. We could theoretically build a "barrier" of physical matter around an area of space and call the area within our "universe". This would only be an illusion from the physical perspective, not an actual barrier, since our spiritual energy would still exist within the barrier and well beyond it, into infinity.

-- (, October 01, 2000.

1) Was there a beginning to time and/or existence or does it stretch back to an infinite regress?

Depends a whole lot on what you mean by time. For most folks [and I am not considering you most folks] time is a measurable quantity. It started when we began to measure it. Time is a concept centered on human experience. Now if you mean something else, you will need to explain further. It leads to a totally different discussion and always clouds these questions.

2) Will there be an end to time and/or existence or will it stretch forward infinitely?

Again, it will end when we quit measuring it. See above.

3) Are there limits to the size of existence, or is size infinite as well? (largeness or smallness)

In our paradigm, yes. Elsewhere, I dont know.

4) If you believe in the infinite, what about the proposition that you could never cross an infinite path?

What I believe is really unimportant. What you believe also doesnt matter. There are ways to cross an infinite path, but they are totally theory and not worth discussing; although math folks do all the time.

5) If you believe things are finite, what came before? Whats beyond?

I dont.

6) Any other related questions you'd like to cover.

How about them Rams.

Best wishes,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (, October 01, 2000.


You said, "in reality there is no time." But doesn't time represent sequences of events? If there is no time, then there was no sequence of events that resulted in the lunch I made and ate today. Thus I had no lunch. But I felt full. How come? (one-dimple grin)


Them Rams? What about those Lions? I just caught pieces of the game towards the end, but it seems their range of bad plays was...well...infinite. Cool how I kept it on topic -- eh? I'd like to comment on your other responses, too. Hang in there.


Oh, come on...just jump in -- I mean, if you're interested. I don't have answers to any of this stuff, but I love to ponder these mysteries.

-- eve (, October 01, 2000.


Difficult to explain, but I'll try. When I speak about reality, I am talking about the Big One, the one that includes all smaller "realities." The Reality.

What we are experiencing in this physical world is only a small part of our total Reality... our energy within these dimensions is being limited by the properties of the physical. Our physical energy vibrates much more slowly than it does in the higher dimensions, so much so that our space is distorted. What we perceive to be "time" is actually the space between our awareness of our physical experiences. Although it seems very real to us from the perspective of the physical mind, it is actually a physical illusion of reality, one of many which can occur within The Reality.

-- (, October 01, 2000.

Once I was really stoned and I looked at my hand for a long time. It was wierd thinking about this appendage at the end of my arm. All kinds of little muscles and tendons running through there, blood supply, nerves. And how does the finger nail know where the skin stops and the nail starts? Does the skin suddenly decide to turn into nail, so that the nail can keep growing? So many questions.

-- Uncle Deedah (, October 01, 2000.

Eve. I think our minds play with these concepts because these are the tools we have. If we were in a higher consciousness, we might smile at ourselves doing this. Oh, I see you are already .... (Do you know something I don't?) :-) -

That is close to what I think... er, believe, too. This may not be exactly a belief, but a belief ABOUT belief.

I like how you say it anyway. I too think that it is beyond our comprehension because of how we are wired. And this is OK. This is where I co-opt the Biblical phrase "we see through a glass darkly." In certain states of mind we get much closer to "it." This surpasses words.

Why should we think that we WOULD understand it? Ants don't understand it. Frogs don't understand it. Why should we? All creatures are finite and limited. But it is fun trying.

-- Debbie (, October 02, 2000.

And I should probably take that back about the frogs and the ants.

-- Debbie (, October 02, 2000.

This thread is a subset of the FS thread "What Are We Doing Here?"

-- Lars (, October 02, 2000.

1. infinite

2. infinite

3. If you're discussing matter, it can't be created, or destroyed, right? Therefore finite, although always altering in shape.

4. Who said that?

5. DNA

6. I'm struggling trying to remember yesterday, and I'm reading about events that ocurred about 200 to 250 million years ago. Did you know that about 200 to 250 million years ago, all of Earth's land masses were locked together in a supercontinent named Pangaea? Who wrote this down so we'd know it today? [kidding there]. We're one of the youngest species. We shouldn't expect much of ourselves regarding these forward/backward thinking topics. We just don't have the experience. Ants have been around a lot longer, and cockroaches have it all locked up history-wise. Maybe one of these days someone will devise a communication system with cockroaches and someone can ask, "So...what stories were passed down in YOUR family?"

-- Anita (, October 02, 2000.


By "time" I'm referring to a measure of duration of one event to the next; the relative length of the intervals between events.

Could you elaborate on your use of the term "paradigm"?

I raised the infinite path issue because I don't see how you could ever get to the present moment if the road to it was infinitely long. Yet I think that existence as infinite -- as eternal -- makes more sense, because every time someone asserted that it all had a beginning, you'd just have to go back a step and ask -- "Ok...well, what came before that?"


I agree with some of what you're saying. But if there's a flaw in my "lunch" example, could you point it out? I believe I showed the reality of time through it. Yes, time may be a human "construct" but it still represents a part of reality -- that is, the relative duration of intervals between events. If the events are real, and occur at different times -- to a stationary observer -- doesn't that have a real meaning?


I hear ya. I remember a time when I was 17, and came home from a rock concert. I don't think we need to go into what I was on, but let's just say that I sat at the kitchen table until dawn, completely immersed in the mesmerizing textures of a piece of chocolate cake.

Thanks for the stroll down memory lane, Unc.


Yep -- I'm smiling -- but it's just from basking in the pure enjoyment of the topic. But I really think these things are knowable...even though we know little about them now. I guess you could say that I have a strong "faith" in the power of the human intellect.


Au contraire! FS' title emphasizes the "we" (people) which is a subset of the "here" (all of existence) which this thread emphasizes.


On your response to question 3: I meant to convey that the issue was that I was wondering about the "size" of all of existence, as opposed to individual masses of matter within existence.

As far as I know, Aristotle (in Aristotle's Physics) was the first one to address the "traversing of infinity" issue. But it could have been around before that. I believe his position was that it was impossible -- that you'd never be able to get to the present -- but I'm not sure. Any Aristotelians in the crowd?

On number 5: Here I was trying to get at what people thought came before all of existence -- and would be directed to the proponents of the "existence had a beginning" school of thought.

LOL re the conversation with the cockroach! You know, I can just picture us having conversations with them (oh...say, in the den -- all sitting in a row on the couch, over tea -- and I'm in a chair across from them -- I think it would be easier to address them as a group this way) just to buy some time -- to keep them from getting into trouble in other parts of the house! ("Hey...wait a minute! Where ya goin'? I didn't even get to ask y'all where you went to school yet!")

-- eve (, October 02, 2000.

A Zen monk was asked by an acolyte, "does a dog have Buddha nature?" He answered, "Wu."

As I understand it, wu means something on the order of "not", but wu is a particle, and must have an object in order to have an unambiguous meaning.

The answer wu does not mean "a dog does not have Buddha nature." It does not mean "a dog has buddha nature." It most certainly does not mean "do not ask such stupid questions." It means wu. Students of Zen are sometimes asked to meditate on this anecdote as a ko'an. When they have absorbed wu, they are asked to demonstrate their wu to their teacher. Appropriate answers are not available through Cliff Notes.

Anyway, the answer to all your questions is [using the voice of your favorite stooge]: Wu! Wu! Wu! Wu! Wu! Wu!

-- Brian McLaughlin (, October 02, 2000.

This thread is NOT a subset of the FS thread "What Are We Doing Here?" It is a unique entity but........what are we doing here?

-- Lars (, October 03, 2000.

If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.

-- (Paracelsus@Pb.Au), October 03, 2000.


Thank you for your concise, very pithy responses. Yep -- full of pith they were...:)

It got me to wondering, though...

As a scientific experiment, what would happen if Moe slapped Curly -- say, for making a bad joke. This sets Curly in motion, moving in all four dimensions simultaneously. If Moe then turns and slaps Larry (for no good reason, say, querying, "What are YOU starin' at?"), is this a good example of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that the entropy (the disorder) of an isolated system (in this case all three stooges) always tends to increase?

-- eve (, October 03, 2000.

biddy eve,

That sounds perfectly logical to me.

Your pal,

-- ol' bat flora (***@__._), October 03, 2000.


I forget. Weren't you a crone? Which is older--a biddy, a crone, a bat?

In the case of men, the question would be: which is older--a coot, a codger, a geezer?

-- Lars (, October 03, 2000.

>> Which is older--a biddy, a crone, a bat? <<

Oldest: crone -- Middle: bat -- Youngest: biddy.

>> In the case of men: which is older--a coot, a codger, a geezer? <<

Oldest: A photo finish. I'd favor this order. Oldest: geezer -- Middle: coot -- Youngest: coot.

You may take these answers as authoritative, since I am infallible in these matters.

-- Brian McLaughlin (, October 03, 2000.

Now I remember why I didn't bother going into a detailed explanation on the theory of relativity.

-- (, October 04, 2000., you said:

Now I remember why I didn't bother going into a detailed explanation on the theory of relativity.

Hmmm.... perhaps I was waxing overly poetic over your prose. I apologize for making what probably sounded like "spiritual mincemeat" from your attempts to make some scientific concepts clear ...

I admit I understand very little of the science, and having done no advanced study in this field, I have only the most superficial understanding of what you said no matter how many times I read it over! .... I do understand in some small way that modern physics and cosmology are forcing some re-definition of time and space: time and space cannot be measured or defined in the old ways.

I just can't help finding what you said highly suggestive. Of course, I realize that is rash of me (or it's the poet in me). I can well imagine advanced physicists and cosmologists sitting around having a good chuckle at the attempts of lay people to get "kosmic" over their hard-won discoveries while understanding next to nothing about them technically. (This might be not unlike all the b.s. that was floating around the net about Y2k and embedded controls.)

So, what is a layperson to think?..... In this thread, you attempted to distill complex, advanced concepts of physics down into a few sentences of simple language, tailored to a layperson. I assume you wouldn't have done that, if you didn't think there was some glimmer of understanding to be gleaned by that layperson.

This layperson knows that it is the business of science to observe and create working hypotheses, not to make leaps. Yet you are treading in some mind-bending territory. What sort of understanding do you think we ARE capable of getting from it?

-- Debbie (, October 04, 2000.

Debbie, I could be mistaken, but I think "matter" was just "yanking our chain" with the relativity comment.

-- eve (, October 04, 2000.


Eve is correct, why did you assume I was responding to you? I was yanking the chain of the clowns who responded after you. Actually, I was very impressed with your previous response, you seem to be one of few who have a grasp of the big Reality. We see "through the glass darkly" is a very good analogy.

-- (, October 04, 2000.

The space-time continuum is curved and infinite, no beginning and no end. Though many have tried to defend Hawkings original big bang theory, I don't believe it. And recently even Hawkings himself doesn't believe it. To me, mathematicians do not like singularities (a discrete, non-continuous point). To have a beginning creates a singularity, a bad thing in a perfect world.

Matter, good thoughts even if you were pulling chains. "We were created in God's image", a quote at the base of many people's religious beliefs. What if the interpretation of that quote is not valid. What if it actually means "imagination" not image. So we are just the thought of God.

-- Maria (, October 04, 2000.


Could you look past the "clowning" on this thread, elaborate on your positions, and respond to the serious questions I posed to you earlier? Thanks.

-- eve (, October 04, 2000.

Maria -- In my view, it wouldn't matter if the Big Bang theory were true or false, because the really tough questions wouldn't have been addressed either way -- e.g., What came before the Big Bang? What's beyond this "compacted" version of the universe? You know, we could talk about a "universe" (generally seen as more limited than "existence") that blows up, expands and contracts, but the issue of all of "existence" seems much larger and more tantalizing -- to me, anyway.

Your suggestion that we could be the "thought" of God is tantalizing. Let's hope we're able to keep His interest...:)

-- eve (, October 04, 2000.

It's so simple really--


-- (Paracelsus@Pb.Au), October 04, 2000.

Thank you for that. I don't know! The other msgs were moving enough off subject that it didn't occur to me you might be addressing them or (gasp! :-) kidding around. Brain fart. (Or maybe just gun-shy since the Y2k misunderstanding, which was rather humbling.)

Brian, that was hilarious!

Eve: you addressed this to Maria, but-
In my view, it wouldn't matter if the Big Bang theory were true or false, because the really tough questions wouldn't have been addressed either way -- e.g., What came before the Big Bang?

Yep. To this addled brain, the theory always seems incomplete, no matter what new twist they give to it.

We have to stop NAMING these ultimate type thingees. Every time we NAME one (like "Big Bang", "beginning of time", the "Universe") we create the need to name some additional thing beyond the thing just named.

It is we who create these sticky problems. Contemplate the nature of "Wu" for further enlightenment on this matter.

-- Debbie (, October 05, 2000.

Debbie, I use the term "existence" to stand for "everything that is." And I think naming can be a good thing -- as long as we're careful to define our terms -- otherwise we just tend to get lost in it all.

To all the "clowns" (including myself, who's proud of her "clowning"): Please don't let one apparently humorless individual intimidate y'all. I think it's great to mix in some humor or goofing around with a weighty subject --it can even ENHANCE the learning of the serious stuff. I hope you keep 'em comin'.:)


If I've mischaracterized you here, my apologies.

-- eve (, October 05, 2000.

>> I use the term "existence" to stand for "everything that is." <<

Ah, then! But that would depend on what the meaning of "is" is....

-- Brian McLaughlin (, October 05, 2000.

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