last updated December 17th, 2004 and is permanently morphing...
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infinity (în-fîn´î-tê) noun
1. The quality or condition of being infinite.
2. Unbounded space, time, or quantity.
3. An indefinitely large number or amount.
4. Mathematics. The limit that a function is said to approach at x = a when for x close to a, (x) is larger than any preassigned number.
5. a. A range in relation to an optical system, such as a camera lens, representing distances great enough that light rays reflected from objects within the range may be regarded as parallel. b. A distance setting, as on a camera, beyond which the entire field is in focus.
Infinity, mathematical term in the theory of sets proposed by German mathematician Georg Cantor. Sets are of two kinds, finite and infinite. The difference is whether the items in a set can be matched one-to-one with the items in some proper subset. A proper subset contains only items from a particular set, but not all that set's items. The set [1, 2, 3] cannot be matched one-to-one with any of its proper subsets; such a set is called a finite set. The set of all even numbers can be matched one-to-one with the proper subset of all even numbers except 2 and 4 by matching 2 with 6, 4 with 8, and so on. Such a set is called an infinite set.
Some infinite sets can be matched together one-to-one. In other cases, an infinite set can be matched one-to-one only with a proper subset of another infinite set, and the second set is a "larger" infinity. For any set, finite or infinite, the set of its subsets is "larger" than the set.
Abstract relations: Number: Infinity
infinity, infinitude, infiniteness, boundlessness,
infinite space, outer space, space
604 track _Boundless_ MP3 by Prana off of _Geomantik_ CDb
quantity: quotient, fraction, multiple, function, quantic, vector, number, mathematics, plurality, fraction, zero, infinity
greatness: enormity, immensity, boundlessness, infinity
perpetuity: perpetuity, endless time, infinite duration, infinity
space: unlimited space, infinite space, infiniteness, infinitude, infinity
divine attribute: infinitude, infinity
The poetic notion of infinity
is far greater than that which is sponsored by any creed.
Joseph Brodsky (1940-96), Russian-born U.S. poet, critic. Interview in Writers at Work (Eighth Series, ed. by George Plimpton, 1988), on the "worrying" fact that W. H. Auden was a formal churchgoer in later life.
Between religion's "this is"
and poetry's "but suppose this is," there must always be some kind of
tension, until the possible and the actual meet at infinity.
Northrop Frye (1912-91), Canadian literary critic. Anatomy of Criticism, second essay, "Anagogic Phase: Symbol as Monad" (1957).
Mystery has its own mysteries, and there are gods
above gods. We have ours, they have theirs. That is what's known as
Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), French author and filmmaker. Anubis, in The Infernal Machine, act 2 (1932; repr. in Collected Works, vol. 5, 1948).
God is the tangential point
between zero and infinity.
Alfred Jarry (1873-1907), French playwright, author. Gestes et Opinions du Docteur Faustroll Pataphysicien, bk. 8, ch. 41 (1911; repr. in The Selected Works of Alfred Jarry, ed. by Roger Shattuck and Simon Watson Taylor, 1965).
To see a world in a grain of
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.
William Blake (1757-1827), English poet, painter, engraver. Auguries of Innocence, in Poems from the Pickering Manuscript (c. 1808; repr. in Complete Writings, ed. by Geoffrey Keynes, 1957).
What is history? Its beginning
is that of the centuries of systematic work devoted to the solution of
the enigma of death, so that death itself may eventually be overcome.
That is why people write symphonies, and why they discover
mathematical infinity and electromagneticwaves.
Boris Pasternak (1890-1960), Russian poet, novelist, translator. Nikolay Nikolayevich, in Doctor Zhivago, ch. 1, sct. 5 (1957).
Why I came here, I know not; where I shall go it is
useless to enquire- in the midst of myriads of the living & the dead
worlds, stars, systems, infinity, why should I be anxious about an atom?
Lord Byron (1788-1824), English poet. Letter, 3 March 1814, to Annabella Milbanke, later Lady Byron (published in Byron's Letters and Journals, vol. 4, ed. by Leslie Marchand, 1975).
exhibits infinite space, but there is a space also wherein all moments
are infinitely exhibited, and the everlasting duration of infinite
space is another region and room of joys.
Thomas Traherne (1636-74), English clergyman, poet, mystic. Centuries, "Fifth Century," no. 6 (written c. 1672; published 1908).
Infinity Dots Mirrored Room by
Yayoi Kasuma: Open a black, double door into a space with mirrored
ceilings and walls. The white formica floor is covered with three
sizes of colored fluorescent dots. The room is filled with black
light. Reflected on ceiling and walls, you are an integral part of the
_Infinite Excursions_ compilation TIP (1996)
Lyserge and merge.
Thrill and chill!
Trip to TIP.
_Infinite Excursions 2_ compilation on TIP (1997)
Infinite Excursions 3 TIPWorld (1999) TIPWCD02
"If you want to stride into the Infinite, move but within the Finite in all directions." - Goethe
[common] Consisting of a large
number of objects; extreme. Used very loosely as in: "This program
produces infinite garbage." "He is an infinite loser." The word most
likely to follow `infinite', though, is hair. (It has been pointed out
that fractals are an excellent example of
infinite hair.) These uses are abuses of the word's mathematical
meaning. The term `semi-infinite', denoting an immoderately large
amount of some resource, is also heard. "This compiler is taking a
semi-infinite amount of time to optimize my
program." See also semi.
infinite loop n.
One that never terminates
(that is, the machine spins or buzzes forever and goes catatonic).
There is a standard joke that has been made about each
generation' exemplar of the ultra-fast machine: "The Cray-3 is
so fast it can execute an infinite loop in under 2 seconds!"
Infinite-Monkey Theorem n.
"If you put an infinite number of monkeys at typewriters, eventually one will bash out the script for Hamlet." (One may also hypothesize a small number of monkeys and a very long period of time.) This theorem asserts nothing about the intelligence of the one random monkey that eventually comes up with the script (and note that the mob will also type out all the possible incorrect versions of Hamlet). It may be referred to semi-seriously when justifying a brute force method; the implication is that, with enough resources thrown at it, any technical challenge becomes a one-banana problem. This argument gets more respect since Linux justified the bazaar mode of development.
This theorem was first
popularized by the astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington. It became part of
the idiom of techies via the classic SF short
story "Inflexible Logic" by Russell Maloney, and many younger hackers
know it through a reference in Douglas Adams's "Hitchhiker's Guide to
the Galaxy". On 1 April 2000 the usage
acquired its own Internet standard, http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2795.txt (Infinite Monkey Protocol Suite).
1. The largest value that can be represented in a particular type of variable (register, memory location, data type, whatever). 2. `minus infinity': The smallest such value, not necessarily or even usually the simple negation of plus infinity. In N-bit twos-complement arithmetic, infinity is 2^(N-1) - 1 but minus infinity is - (2^(N-1)), not -(2^(N-1) - 1). Note also that this is different from time T equals minus infinity, which is closer to a mathematician's usage of infinity.
- _The New Hacker's Dictionary_ by Eric S. Raymond
If you read _Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition_ you know that Bruno was burned at the stake and the reason that he was burned at the stake is because he looked up at the sky and did not see the stellar shells and the angelic hierarchies. Bruno had a mystical experience and when it was over he said, "the universe is infinite. The stars go on forever." That single statement was the intellectual dynamite that destroyed the whole Medieval, Hellenistic, the entire previous cosmological vision was left behind with that single statement. It was such a powerful statement that he had to go to the stake for that. And we have never recovered from that perception. It was a fundamental perception and it occurred because he looked without preconception into the night sky and did not see wheels and demons and angels and shells of cosmic fate and necessity and he just said, that's bullshit, what is there is infinite space, infinite time, the stars are hung like lamps onto the utmost regions of infinity. This, then, inaugurates the beginning of modernity and it's a perception that arose on thefoundation of all this earlier thinking.
McKenna lecture on Alchemy