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Aaron
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PostSubject: Re: Fate   Fri Jan 23, 2009 12:14 am

I don't have the time for an involved post right now but the surface of a sphere is an example of something that is infinite but also finite at the same time.
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Gnomon
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PostSubject: Re: Fate   Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:28 pm

Aaron wrote:
I don't have the time for an involved post right now but the surface of a sphere is an example of something that is infinite but also finite at the same time.
Einstein described the universe as "finite, but unbounded". Apparently, what he had in mind was a gigantic sphere*, where on the inside surface you could travel in random circles forever and never encounter a boundary**. Although that description is handy for pragmatic scientific purposes, it has nothing to do with Infinity in the philosophical or mathematical sense***.

Infinity cannot be spherical, because a sphere is defined by its boundary. For a deity floating around in unbounded, amorphous infinity, our big-ball universe would appear, from the outside, to be a finite object. However, in my cosmology there is no actual boundary between heaven and earth. Instead, I imagine the transition zone (a conceptual border) to be a gradual fading of physical reality into metaphysical ideality---from matter to Mind. Eternity/Infinity is the indivisible Whole of All.****


* A mobius strip is a linear example of physical infinity.

** But if you travel from the center of a sphere in a straight line you would eventually bump into a boundary---whatever it is that defines the sphere.

*** "Physical Infinity", as used in Physics, is a rounded-off approximation of actual Infinity. By definition, Infinity is, like Eternity, indefinable.
Wiki : However, there are some theoretical circumstances where the end result is infinity. One example is the singularity in the description of black holes. Some solutions of the equations of the general theory of relativity allow for finite mass distributions of zero size, and thus infinite density. This is an example of what is called a mathematical singularity, or a point where a physical theory breaks down. This does not necessarily mean that physical infinities exist; it may mean simply that the theory is incapable of describing the situation properly.

**** Wiki : The Isha Upanishad of the Yajurveda (c. 4th to 3rd century BC) states that "if you remove a part from infinity or add a part to infinity, still what remains is infinity".

That is whole, this is whole
From the whole, the whole arises[3]
When the whole is taken from the whole
The whole still will remain Isha Upanishad.


Last edited by Gnomon on Fri Jan 23, 2009 5:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Aaron
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PostSubject: Re: Fate   Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:36 pm

If you start at the number one you can count infinitely up from there but it is still bounded at one end. You can take an orange and (at least hypothetically) slice it in half an infinite number of times but it is still bounded at one end.

What you are referring to is something that is completely unbounded.

What I'm getting at is that even though it appears that our choices are determined and that free-will is just an illusion it may actually be the other way around. The our brains may be able to tap into the bounded infinities that appear to determine our actions and in this way cheat pure determinism.

That probably still isn't coming across properly. Maybe I'll take another stab at it later. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Fate   Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:50 pm

Quote :
If you start at the number one you can count infinitely up from there but it is still bounded at one end. You can take an orange and (at least hypothetically) slice it in half an infinite number of times but it is still bounded at one end.
But you forgot to count the negative numbers piled-up behind the starting point. You can cut toward the East or the West just as easily.

Just kidding. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Fate   Fri Jan 23, 2009 5:49 pm

This is why I see "infinite" as an abstraction.
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PostSubject: Re: Fate   Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:09 pm

Actually perhaps the infinite is real and everything else is an abstraction.

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PostSubject: Re: Fate   Sat Jan 24, 2009 2:32 am

"Why is the Tao infinite? It has no desires for itself; thus it is present for all beings."
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PostSubject: Re: Fate   Sat Jan 24, 2009 9:51 am

Yeah when you think about it a part of us has always existed and always will even if it takes a different form.

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PostSubject: Re: Fate   Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:57 pm

Repost from another thread:

RESISTANCE IS FUTILE; BUT DESTINY IS FUTURISTIC

I just came across an analogy in the Everything Forever book that might give us a new perspective on the Fate question we were discussing in another thread. The author's metaphor is based on his understanding that the physical universe began in an explosive singularity [maximum Grouping order, maximum Potential energy] and evolves into an expanded, undifferentiated "nothingness" [maximum Symmetry order, maximum Impotent entropy] where everything is perfectly calm and balanced. The original energy still exists, but its potential has been actualized; the original concentrated energy has been zeroed-out.

I picture that scenario like a mountain spring spurting forth and then flowing downhill into a valley lake. Hence, directed by the laws of physics, the destination is inevitable, but the stream is free to follow many different paths on the way down. The spring naturally has high potential energy, due to its elevation, but the lake is full of expended energy, so it is spread-out and calmly at rest.

This explains what he meant by "the future influences the past". Since water can't flow uphill, the lake is a predestined future state of the spring, and the natural force of gravity "pulls" the water toward its final destination. However, on its trip down the mountain, the spring is free to meander as it adapts to contingencies along the way. Hence: local Freedom within global Determinism.
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PostSubject: Re: Fate   Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:59 pm

It reminds me of Chapter 16 of the Tao Te Ching.

Empty yourself of everything.
Let the mind rest at peace.
The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return.
They grow and flourish and then return to the source.
Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature...

(translation by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English)

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