I’m Way Out of My Depth, Here

BUT SOMETIMES ASKING a really stupid question can help you learn, so, here goes.

I learned in high school that infinity was, well, infinite, and there’s no way to approach it. At the same time, I learned that there is an infinite number of increments between any pair of numbers. Or, for that matter, any pair of anythings. Including things like probable outcomes to a decision. And that carries out to the quantum level. So whether the photon jinks left or right in the double slits has an infinite number of possible outcomes, even though there’s only two — or four — options.

But this article peeled an old intellectual scab. We also learned that a number divided by itself equals one. Makes sense, right? Four fourths is a whole, right? One. So what is zero divided by itself?

Wait a minute! You can’t divide by zero!

Well, properly speaking, you can, but the answer is out of the normal bounds of our concepts of numbers. And, of course, computers lose it when you try to make them calculated it. But, really, it makes logical sense. Zero zeroths is a whole zero, right? I mean, it’s nothing, but it’s ONE nothing. A slippery concept, I’ll admit, but not as weird as n dimensions.

And this also requires admitting that dividing zero by itself to get one is a special case. And what if that means that 0/0=1 is also 0/0=∞? Talk about your special cases. And what does that imply about the question raised in the linked article as to whether infinity actually exists in the real world, or is just a mental construct? See how that blows your dress up.

Or should I stick to weaving baskets?

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