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Posts Tagged ‘Philosophy’

I was trying to show off my vast intellect to a friend the other day – a completely untenable situation, all things considered – by posing the following question: are all statements about reality subjective? Well, I came a cropper even quicker than might be expected when she fired straight back at me the question: is that question itself subjective?

Hmmm. That showed me up! But it got me to thinking that to say everything is subjective is rather self-defeating, since it must therefore itself be a subjective thing to say and so rather lacking a firm foundation. And that got me to thinking that the whole ‘I thing therefore I am’ train of thought is highly shaky. What is certain? The only thing I can think of that is certain, considering that everything might be a chimera, is that information exists. Even if you & I do not exist, there is some exchange of information somewhere to make us think that we do.

The big question that arises from that is: can information exist on its own? I tend to think not. For information to exist, surely there has to be some energy or matter somewhere to engender it. Perhaps this then leads to a less presumptive statement ‘I appear to observe a changing universe around me, which requires information and so something must exist’. Not the most catchy of maxims, I admit!

As ever I am probably missing the point and would be very grateful for your help in furthering my understanding.

ps – sorry for any typos, but my slightly odd cat is going trough a frenzy of licking my hands as I type this!

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If you’re looking for titillation or the Hayne’s Manual of sexual technique, it is time to retrace your steps as this is about fundamentals. Some say that sex is mainly in the mind, but that is blatantly wrong: it is ALL in the mind. Obviously so, really, since that is where all senses, perception, ideas and mores are processed to create our concept of reality. For instance, things that would tickle normally will delight when aroused. So the important questions are: what, fundamentally, is sex? Why is it wonderful?

The answer, as with almost everything in life, is lots of things. It can be comforting, an adventure, exciting, an expression of love, an ego boost, pure sensory pleasure and much more besides. But this is still not its essence, but its effects. It is not enough to be amazingly dextrous, fit and breath through your ears; you have to understand the spiritual nature of sex before you can get the physics right.

So what is sex? Please think before you reply, as even the mechanics of it are not as simply defined as you may think. It is not all grapple & grunt: potentially you do not even need to touch each other to have great sex. Although usually, I’ll admit, it does help.

The simple answer is that sex is about communication. I don’t mean talking. “Further to the left” or “Do you like it when I rub this?” might be practically useful, but do not provide much insight. The communication I mean is on a primeval level that is more basic than language. It harks back to our evolutionary past, to our uncivilised and animalistic core. Sex allows us to connect to another human on the spiritual level, allows the fundamental essence of your being to join with another.  Sex alone allows us to join absolutely with another, allows us to penetrate our loneliness and briefly lose our isolation. Well, some serious narcotics possibly get us there too, but that is a different discussion!

Well, I am glad we got that sorted, so we can all now toddle off and have multiple orgasms. Ah, of course, there is the question of ‘how’. What is it we actually have to do to connect to someone else? The answer, as with almost everything in life, is lots of things! The first and most important is to want to connect and to give pleasure. Its all in the giving, I’m afraid, so stop right now and don’t waste any more time reading this if you just want to have more fun yourself.

You have to deeply like the person you’re with. Love is not directly related to sex, but helps in as much as you will be serious about giving to someone you love. The next bit will be easier as well, as you must open yourself up to them. You must expose the inner you, take down all defences and show yourself naked to the core. The only way you can join with someone essence-to-essence is for the cores of your beings to touch, and the only way for that to happen is for both of you to strip away all outer layers of you personas. Stand down your defensive shells, demolish your facades, can your carefully constructed character traits. It’s very temporary, but is still tricky to do. Someone has to start and help the other along (or help each other), as otherwise you will remain just two bodies rubbing bits against each other.

Don’t worry if it doesn’t happen straight away. It is complex and difficult and will take time to come together (so to speak). One practical way to start off is to concentrate on the other’s reactions: try to feel what the other likes and dislikes, try to predict what they want next. We are pack animals and programmed to understand very slight changes in body language, so although this may seem a bit of a Jedi Power at first, you can become highly attuned to your lover. You will find that you get better at this, possibly even knowing more about what your lover really wants than they do, but the real point is that you will be communicating. As you read them, so you will be sending signals back and they will be reading you too.

This stage is good! You work well together, become great at pleasuring each other and sex becomes fabulous. Keep going, use your desire to drive you towards connection and you will get to the body-and-spirit-tingling moment when you both drop your last barriers, surrender entirely to each other and truly become ‘with’ another person. Add in the physical, sensory delights of sex and whoa! Its fun time!

Some couples will never get this, others can get there during a one night stand. It is not about what you do or who you are, but about being compatible. Every person is capable of this, but only with the right partner. Or partners, possibly. Some people may be able to connect with every lover they have, others perhaps with very few.

If you cannot connect with your lover, perhaps you shouldn’t be together. A survey recently found that 1 in 7 couples remain deeply in-love all their lives, never losing the heady feelings of their first few years together. I suggest that these are the people that can connect at the deepest, most intrinsic level.

This could be all of us, we just have to make the right decisions in life, be with the right person.

p.s. let’s take a moment to reflect on how lucky we are. Most animals merely copulate: a compulsive attempt to breed that has little pleasure (part from pygmy chimps, obviously). But we can take immense pleasure from indulging in sex as frequently as we desire. If there is a God, surely this is compelling evidence to show that we are Her special children!

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I have been wondering about the purpose of death lately: what is it for and why does so much of life indulge in it? After all, in some respects single-cell creatures can be thought of as being immortal. Yet we humans replace cells all the time, hardly remaining the same person from year to year, so why do we slowly decay? Why do we die?

The answer, I though, might be that death started as an evolutionary advantage. What I am suggesting is that all really early organisms on Planet Earth were immortal: nothing ever died of old age before about 600 million years ago. Things did die, of course, but only when actively killed by outside forces, such as having a moutain fall on them. Then, about 550 million years ago, some creatures learnt how to die. They would reproduce then auto-destruct, leaving their offspring far better able to survive and flourish.

The very early planet was a tricky place to live, with conditions appropriate for life being rare and the total quantity of nutrients (or ‘food’) in each of those places being limited. Conditions could also change rapidly, both over distance and time. Single-cell beings divide rapidly and so random change can lead to rapid evolution, with each generation taking comparatively little food to produce. However, for more complex life reproduction is slower and more resource intensive, so that a greater proportion of the total available food is locked into each generation.

If the parent generations of more compex organisms do not die, there is competition for resources between parents and offspring: they are in direct competition with each other. This leads to a massive reduction in the chance that sufficient evolution will occur before (1) all the food is gone, or (2) the environment changes to make life untenable. This is because the genetic advantage of change through the generations is diluted if the original genes have as much chance of reproducing as the altered ones – it would be like Neanderthals still having as much chance of reproducing today as the most successful of society intelligentcia.

If the parent generations do die, then only those with the greatest chance of having altered genes will be competing for food. In each successive generation, only individuals with genes altered by natural selection will survive to produce the next generation. This will result in a far greater chance that changes will be compounded over the generations and so useful, pronounced adaption will occur. The death of the parent generation will also release food back into the system, increasing the chances that their offspring will adapt before the food runs out.

The species that died therefore survived, out-evolving their immortal cousins and populating the planet with their offspring. That is why about 1 billion years ago there was an explosion of complex life on Earth: it had learnt how to die. Of course, death would really come into its own as an evolutionary force once sexual reproduction had been invented. Death and sex: perhaps life really is the ultimate Gothic story.

Death and sex helped fuel the explosion of complex life on Earth.  Perhaps that is why they are both a part of life for all complex organisms on the planet today.

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The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins is, in many ways, an excellent book. At least, I think so & what greater acolade could anyone wish for? Unfortunately, my high praise is not without caveats. There are several passages or aspects of the book that just don’t ring true, which appear to my uneducated eye as having flaws. These I expand upon below, as Dawkins’ Five Delusions; I have included page numbers to give some indication of the passages I am talking about, although I realise that different editions will have different layouts.

Delusion 1, p.101: The book quotes the following cunning paradox about God: If God is omniscient, then He (or She) knows what will happen in the future, including the actions He will take. Since He knows what He will do, He cannot change that action. This therefore means He is not omnipotent, as His ability to do something different is gone.

Does this hold true? Is it possible that by being omnipotent He can be any place at any time, possibly even every place at every time?

His being outside of the rules that bind the rest of us is almost the definition of God – He made the rules up in the first place, so they don’t affect Him. Otherwise it would be a bit like someone making a chess set and afterwards having to move diagonally or only in straight lines. Time and place surely have little meaning to Him, so future, past & present are as one. There would be no instance of Him knowing ‘what He will do’ as much as knowing ‘what He did’ or even only ‘what He is doing’, even if for us it hasn’t happened yet.

There is therefore no problem about knowledge of future actions binding those actions or making the knowledge false, since there are no future actions – God is omnipotent and omnicognisant all at the same time (so to speak). To believe in an all-powerful God is to negate any paradox.

Delusion 2, p.147. 0.000000 0.000000

There is a problem with intelligent design, as it does not get around the thorny question of who created the Intelligent Designer in the first place. This would be trickier than creating the material universe, as the Designer would necessarily be more complex than the thing He created.

Unfortunately, physics has no more answers than religion on this question, as it cannot explain what is outside the universe or what existed before it or how it was created. Just postulating that there is nothing beyond the universe and that it has no beginning is rather trite. It is similar to the suggestion that God removed all evidence of his existence to allow belief to flourish, so the less proof we find the more we should be convinced He’s real.

Delusion 3, p.172. Dawkins says that there are 6 fundamental constants of the universe, such as the strong force. He states that the odds of their being a God to set these six values to be exactly right for us to exist is at least as improbable as them all being those values by random chance. But why? Surely the opposite is true: if God chose the values there would be no chance in it at all, so there would be a 100% probability of them being exactly what we need. To say that the existence of an intelligent force capable of setting the values of the 6 constants is less likely than the universe being as it is misses the point entirely: this would only be true if God was created by the system, not if He created the system. The intelligent design of God and the probabilities of chance are mutually exclusive systems. Imagine a man throws 100 dice. Are the odds of the man existing on earth to throw the dice greater than the odds of him getting the 100 numbers in the order in which he gets them?

String theory & the strong anthropic principle suggest that it is almost impossible for the fundamental constants of the universe NOT to exist in this universe. But then, what made sure strings exist in the first place?

Delusion 4, p.265. Dawkins stated that most people are not parasitic bullies, as this is not a viable option: if we were all bullies, there would be no one left to bully. Actually, most people would be parasitic bullies if they thought they could get away with it. If everyone acts as a bully, the problem is not that one has nobody to bully (one does: anyone weaker), but that one would be bullied by those more powerful. This is why bullying is prevalent in schools, where there is only a small pool of people and there is always a biggest bully (or several). In the wider society this is unlikely, so just about everyone could be bullied by someone. There is also the potential for average people to rise up and overthrow the despot. In the dark ages and pre-history the smaller communities tended to give rise to despots, but even then the strategy was dangerous. Bully too much and there could be a revolution, which would lead to the extermination of the despot’s genes.

Some morals may be hard wired into humans, but very few. There is almost nothing that is not acceptable to some society somewhere in the world.

Delusion 5. The entire book makes the unstated assumption that what we see is what we get: that the universe we can perceive and understand is the only truth and reality there is. This is basically an assumption that God does not exist, which makes the entire book nothing more than an enjoyable read. The message of the book should be posted on the front page as ‘In a universe without a god, God cannot exist’, which would go a long was to reducing the academic struggle for the reader over the next few hundred pages.

General observation on religion. I can’t help thinking that many religions are suspiciously paternal in flavour. Could it be that children are designed to think that their parents are omniscient and omnipotent, so that they will do just as they are told and therefore have a greater chance of surviving to reproductive age? When we grow up this may disappear, leaving doubt, responsibility and fear where before there was the comfort of being protected and guided. Perhaps this void is replaced with God the Father, directing and protecting us. Perhaps that is why we invented gods, which reflect the cultures from which they were spawned: violently fickle in Rome where parents could legally kill their children, rigorously patriarchal in the Catholic Europe.

Interestingly, more primitive cultures have a higher degree of shared parentage within small tribal groups, which dilutes the father figure. In these societies nature is the most potent force and is perceived as being more powerful than the wider parental group, so these societies tend to have more elemental and natural gods rather than paternal gods.

On the other hand, the ubiquitous nature of souls and the concept of an afterlife is a natural extension of humanity’s conceptual intelligence.  One has to know oneself to know the rest of world, to predict how the world around one will act and to manipulate it. To compete fully against an opposing tribe, one has to understand their thought process; one has to understand what it is to be a person and to think. A natural extension is to have self awareness, self conceptualisation and a horror of not existing any more. Souls continuing in an afterlife overcome this horror. This self conceptualisation is the darkness behind the eyes of Terry Pratchett or the lifts in the Hitch Hiker’s Guide building of Douglas Adams.

Post script. There is a tiny weeny problem with the critiques above: I am fairly stupid & Dawkins rather an egg-head. So, please feel free to enlighten me as to my errors & mistakes.

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“Don’t give yourself a hard time about getting things wrong: to err is human. Be kind to yourself (and others) so that you have room to change for the better.”

It’s about 11pm & I was thinking about going to bed, when my mind got working on the concept of kindness. So here I am downstairs tapping away at my blog. To get in the spirit I have poured myself a wee whisky, even though I have already cleaned my teeth!
 
Such rash, anarchic exuberance!
 
Well, anyway. Being kind starts at home, with yourself. Most people, especially women, are not very kind to themselves. We expect so much of ourselves, one thorny part of which is the expectation to achieve our expectations.
 
We live in an age of Hello Magazine. OK, there are lots of other magazines,papers, TV programs, films etc etc etc, but Hello sums it up quite well. At least I think it does, since I don’t often read/watch much of that kind of stuff so am not an authority. It might sound like I’m being all cultural & high brow by saying this, but it’s actually much simpler than that – I just can’t be arsed with any of it. Anyway, the point is that Hello (et al) pedal the idea of perfect lives led by perfect people. Beautiful, cool, rich, successful, funny, interesting, sexy people that are so much better than we are & who live such better lives. It is almost impossible not to aspire to have some of that: to be those people.
 
Unfortunately, they don’t exist. To start with, the pictures are engineered to be highly flattering or are actually doctored, so give a sheen of beauty to the most haggard of munters. Then the stories are selective in what they portray, exaggerating the heroic & interesting and missing the boring bits or dull depression. Finally, think about why the story is in the magazine in the first place: with billions of people on the planet, there will always be something worth reporting happening to someone that the buying public will pay to read about. It’s just the odds game that it’s not you.
So, this rather leads to a society where people want to emulate the (secretly fictitious) people they read about. They want to be perfect. Perfect in looks, in body, in mind, in aspiration. In fact, we get to the point where we expect it of ourselves. We feel we have failed if we are not gorgeous to look at, toned, tanned & young. We have failed if we are not funny, if people do not flock to our company & hang on our every word. We have failed if we do not wear clothes that emphasis our stunning good looks in a way that is cunningly fashionable yet slightly quirky & unpredictable. We have failed if we are not rich & successful in whatever we do. We have failed if we are not extraordinary.
 
This is, of course, a shame as the vast majority of us are ordinary. By definition, really.
 
So what I am saying is give it up. Let yourself off. Be kind to yourself. If it doesn’t matter if you’re a bit podgy, a bit thick, a bit dull or a bit poor, then oddly you probably won’t be. At least, not to the people to whom it matters, the people that you will enjoy being with & who will be true friends to you. By giving yourself space to fail, you can try whole heartedly to succeed as it will not be catastrophic if you don’t.
 
Take a moment to visualise this: there are no boundaries to what you can try to do, as there are no repercussions for failure (obviously within bounds of moral & legal decency, for those of you going “aha! But what if I tried to……”). Just put yourself in that situation, where whatever you do you will be OK. What would you attempt? Where would you go? What would you try to change?
 
OK, once you have come back down from the space station or finished dismantling government, you can still get some of that euphoric freedom simply by being kind to yourself, albeit in a rather more realistic and manageable way. If you are truly kind to yourself you can be happy with falling flat on your face, as you will be full of self-forgiveness. Having fun & having a go become so much more important than succeeding, which gives you space to become content. Possibly to succeed too, but that won’t be important any more once you’re content.
 
As an added benefit, others laughing at you become a minor irritation or actually quite fun in itself.
 
An example of kindness is my hair. I’m getting a little bit older now & my hair is not quite as rumbustious as it once was. I struggled for a while both with the disappearing hair and the fact that this bothered me, as it shouldn’t: it’s just vain silliness. Then I gave in, admitted that it did & that it was alright to be a bit vain & neurotic, so bought some hair-helping shampoo. It’s got caffeine in it, so as a bonus I am sort of main-lining coffee through my scalp. Anyway, now I have it I have relaxed & don’t mind any more about either the Shiny Scalp Syndrome or my incipient vanity. Hell, with jutting jaw, rippling muscles & sparkling eyes, who wouldn’t be a bit vain? (I assume here that neither of you reading this have actually seen me).
 
None of us are perfect. Very, very, very few of us are actually beautiful. But most of us are attractive and would be more so if we allowed ourselves to be. Allow yourself your flaws & you will become an attractive person through being content. Why? Because you will have become what even the most rich & famous out there want to be: content, centred, enlightened. Even that Holy Grail of modern psychological achievement – Confident!
 
People find this attractive as it is infectious: once you have allowed yourself to become content, you will be well placed to help others find the ability to be kind to themselves and become content too.
But please just remember, being kind to yourself does not mean giving up & becoming a slob. It usually means giving yourself room to try harder, as there is truth in the saying ‘the more you put in, the more you get out’.
 
Well, maybe just one more wee whisky to read through with!

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“The objective of life is contentment. Happiness is surficial and short-lived, but contentment permeates every aspect of your life consistently, once achieved. Religions tend to talk about enlightenment, but it is basically the same thing.”

We live in a society where size matters. Everything is target driven, from government ministers obsessed by management theory to school children dominated by SATS. If something cannot be measured it has no value, as how can you compare yourself to the ‘model of perfection’ if you can’t quantify either? We are constantly told, sometimes very subtly, that to be whole and happy people we have to have enough fun, happiness, money, beauty, sex & cool stuff. If we have enough of all these, which incidentally are generally on sale or available to those who tow the party line, then we too may become models of perfection and the envy of all our friends.

{The ‘model of perfection’ seems to be based on those lifestyles of the rich & famous that are detailed in Hello magazine. Unfortunately, these bear less relevance to real life than most Mills & Boon stories, even for those of us who are actually rich & famous. So we are on a hiding to nothing if we try to measure up to these models that are commonly peddled in our society. Even more unfortunately, most of us do just that.}

Now, most of the truly important things in life are not measurable in themselves or take years to be noticed. Examples are kindness, understanding, wisdom and gratitude. Also the most important of all, contentment. Contentment is very like enlightenment, only you don’t need to like yoga or joss sticks to indulge. I use the word indulge on purpose, as it coveys a sense of doing something wonderful but naughty. Trying to achieve contentment within our society is just that: a wonderful thing to achieve but naughty because content people make poor consumers, are less swayed by spin and less blinded by duty.

Contentment is often confused with happiness, but they are quite different. The former is a pervasive state of being, a constant boon that permeated every aspect of your life. The latter is mercurial, easily conjured by good company or good booze, for instance, but just as easily lost. Happiness can animate even the most icy heart for a while, but once gone leaves nothing behind but memories. Or possibly even depression. Once you are content, you will be able to accept your life as it should be and ignore the model of perfection. The fashions and fads of the world will hold no sway, leaving you free to pick and choose what you want to use and what discard. You will not be stressed by you imperfections, but accept them with a sense of humour and appreciation. Being kind to yourself will allow you to grow and, most importantly, help those around you grow through your kindness to them. This is why contentment and enlightenment are so similar, as they both lead to great wisdom and the ability to help those around you.

It is not easy to be truly content. To do so you need to understand what is important to your life, then act upon it. This will be different for everyone, so there is no Haynes Manual to contentment – rather, there is a system to follow that should allow you to understand what’s right for you. The basics of this are outlined in my blog post ‘A short sharp (ish) guide to zeta’, but will be explored in greater detail soon. ish.

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The paradoxes currently associated with infinity are only products of applying finite logic to describe infinity. Trying to understand infinity by analogies within the finite word are a bit like asking ‘what flavour is Buckingham Palace’? It’s absurd. To think about infinity one has to think within an infinite term of reference, as only this can lead to a sensible understanding of what infinity means. Once the true nature of infinity is understood, the paradoxes disappear but the very existence of infinity becomes questionable. Infinity and zero begin to look remarkably similar, although so far I have in no way managed to demonstrate the impossibility of infinity; it just seems a bit shaky from what I have so far thought. Further exploration by greater mind would be most appreciated – Prof Doron Zeilberger very kindly suggested I was on the right track, but had no time to comment further. Hey ho.
 
Here are some examples of infinitely erroneous logic.
 
1) ∞ + 1 = ∞
 
This is an absurd notion using finite logic to describe infinity.
 
Imagine the Grand Hotel, with an infinite number of rooms, each of which is occupied. This means that there must be an infinite number of people in the hotel. What happens when an additional person checks into the hotel? Does everyone just move up one room to accommodate them? After all, with infinite rooms there must always be more space to accomodate people, no?
 
The answer is don’t be stupid: nobody else can check in. Any infinite set of objects necessarily contains every single one of those objects that could possibly exist. Now, the hotel contains an infinite number of people, which means that every single person who can possibly exist MUST already be in the hotel. There can be nobody left outside the hotel to check in.

This is not just fatuous nit-picking and semantics, it is fundamental to the possible nature of infinity. It demonstrates that the only way to add to an infinite set of objects is to add an entirely different type of object. This would lead to the type of mathematical question ‘what do you get if you divide Buckingham Palace by a tomato?’ It’s meaningless.
 
∞ + 1 = a ridiculous idea
 
2) ∞ and ‘endless’ are the same thing
 
The Grand Hotel concept confuses ideas of ‘endless’ with infinity. Imagine that a person in Room 10 of the hotel is a notorious gangster and is tipped-off that the police are coming to get him. He has been told that the hotel is infinite, so runs out of his room and sprints down the corridor. He knows that in an infinite hotel he can keep running & running and never get caught until the end of time (assuming the police are not faster at running, of course). However, in his panic to get a head-start on the police, he turns the wrong way and quickly runs into the foyer, out the front door and into the arms of the police. What a nasty surprise!
 
The hotel is not infinite: as our gangster demonstrates the hotel comes to an end. It might go on for ever in one direction – ascending room numbers – but it ends at Room 1. The hotel would only be infinite if the rooms carried on under the numbers 0, -1, -2, -3…
 
It is possible that the corridor of rooms would loop back to the other side of the foyer, so that our gangster would run past Room 1 and straight to Room ∞, but the latter would have to be at the position of Room 0. ∞ & 0 are looking rather similar if ∞ is to make any kind of practical sense.
 
3) Different ∞s are different sizes
 
Cantor’s Diagonals apparently show that an infinite list of integers will be smaller than an infinite list of decimals. However, this is not possible and actually refers to large or endless sets of numbers, not infinite. The diagonal logic is fine apart from the beginning and end points. If the integers start at 1 and carry on for ever, they are not infinite as they also finish at 1. To be truly infinite, the list of integers MUST contain every conceivable integer including 0, -1, -2, -3…These numbers exist (I’ve just used them, after all) so they have to be in the list.
 
It is therefore impossible to pick a diagonal that has no integers (and corresponding endless decimal number) above it, so it is impossible to be sure that the new number made from such a diagonal is not represented above it. In fact, in an infinite list it MUST be represented.
 
The idea is:
      
  -forever
  .
  .
-100  0.8979878565657…
-99     0.9768543456788…
-98     0.3456789987654…
-97     0.089764390005…
.
.
1      0.4647448847464…
2      0.5775858493933…
3      0.4647438387464…
4      0.3758594837636…
.
.
+forever
 
0.4748…. can be changed to 0.5657….. and this number is unique for all decimals from 1+. However, there must be this decimal somewhere between 0 and –forever. There is no way to create a new diagonal that does not exist above the point at which the original diagonal starts, in this case ‘1’.
 
Therefore ∞=∞. All ∞s are equal.
 
It is interesting to note that the standard Cantor Diagonal concept has a non-infinite but endless number of integers, each one of which is paired with a decimal number, the expression of which can is infinite. They are simply numbers so have no dimension associated with them – no start or finish, just value. If the expression of this value involves an endless list of numbers, the lack of dimension makes this endlessness be the same as infinite (the expression of the number, not its value).
 
4) ∞ universe.
 
The idea of there being an infinite number of infinite universes comes from finite logic being used for infinity. The universe has direction, not just value, so to be infinite it has to be endless in all directions. This does not appear to be the case, as the universe appears to have started at the big bang. Or possible was just very finite at that point.
 
If the big bang was the start, a real singularity, then the universe cannot be infinite: it started at the big bang, which means it has limits in at least one of its directions and so is finite. Big I’ll grant you, but not infinite. I’m not sure it the finite nature of the big bang means that the universe is now finite, or if the universe could have changed from finite to infinite in the last few billion years – one to work on!

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