A Working Model of Infinity

Do you have a working model of infinity that helps you to wrap your head around it? Humans currently have a pretty good handle about the way things work in our world, but those same truths do not necessarily apply to the rest of the universe.  Our thought process of sequential cause-and-effect scenarios tends to breaks down when we ponder the infinite.

It is important to recognize that we are finite beings living on a finite planet in our finite (measureable) universe, but the universe as a whole is infinite and infinity is something that is conceptually difficult for people to understand. Consider, we know that life appeared on earth about 3.7 billion years ago, the earth is about 4.5 billion years old, and our universe came into existence about 13.8 billion years ago.   The question of origin (creation) asks about what existed before our universe came into being and what is outside our known universe.  This thinking leads us to try to figure out the origin of everything; perhaps the hardest question that humanity currently wrestles with.

But by definition there is no origin to infinity, so this type of question doesn’t apply to anything outside our own universe. The big bang theory provides a useful conceptual framework to describe the origins of our particular universe and helps to predict what may happen to it in the future, but in order to develop a working understanding of infinity it is important to think of the big bang simply as a transition of part of it into something finite: measurable space and time. Humans require a conceptual framework, things like space, time, energy, fields, for reason to be able to function, but these things are irrelevant to infinity.

Yet even though the origin/creation question is a product of very human thought processes and therefore applicable only to things within our finite universe, we are still able to satisfy it in one of two ways. One can either avoid thinking by ascribing the answer to an unknowable god, as many people do, or one can develop a working understanding of infinity.  A person does not need to be an astrophysicist for the latter, just examine what it is that they do know.  Here is the working model which I came up with to reconcile infinity for myself:  the truth of infinity is that all is nothing is everything.

We know about matter and antimatter, and that when identical particles of matter and antimatter are brought together they annihilate each other and nothing remains. Far from being a science-fiction concept, we now not only know that antimatter exists but it is being used every day in modern medicine.  PET (positron emission tomography) uses positrons, which are anti-electrons, to produce high-resolution images of the body. Positron-emitting radioactive isotopes are attached to chemicals such as glucose that are used naturally by the body. These are then injected into the bloodstream where they are naturally broken down, and when these positrons meet electrons in the body they annihilate each other.  These annihilations produce gamma rays that are used to construct images.  Scientists are also studying antimatter as a potential way to treat cancer.

While we and our world/universe are made up of matter, we can also infer the existence of other finite universes that are made up of antimatter. If an identical matter and an antimatter universe were to collide there would be nothing left, but if they are not identical then the resultant destruction could be something akin to another big bang.  Depending on whether there was more matter or antimatter in that collision, then the result might be a new, finite, matter or an antimatter universe.  This is not inconsistent with current theory which acknowledges that the only reason our universe exists was that the big bang released more matter than antimatter.

Considering that infinity contains an infinite amount of matter and antimatter in equal quantities, that time only occurs in finite universes and does not exist in infinity, then infinity may exist simultaneously as both everything and nothing. Since this a logically derived theory based on what I know or can infer from what I know, it satisfies the definition of truth and works for me as a model of infinity.  This may not be in agreement with the theories of other people, but my point is to have a working theory which, through continued learning, may be subject to updates or changes.