Mine’s bigger than your’s!

February 1, 2004

But it’s all relative anyway.

How long is a metre? It’s the distance that light travels in 0.000000003335640952 of a second. That’s great, but how long is a second? Um… it’s how long it takes light to travel 299792457.99833914498600987316335 metres. There are other ways of defining time and distance, but they are all just as annoyingly recursive as the above example. But within these limitations we’ve defined time and distance with almost ludicrous accuracy. And we still keep refining these measurements constantly!

What is it about the human psyche and its obsession with defining things? It seems we are never quite comfortable with a thing until we have defined, quantified and categorized the bejesus out of it. How much money do I have? How much time do I have? How many lawyers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? And if that wasn’t bad enough, we keep trying to define the undefinable. What is love? What is happiness? Who am I? We take the profound and expect to squeeze it into a box that we can file away where it can cause us no angst.

But imagine if everything really was definable. Love is like a cup of hot chocolate. Happiness is five yards tall with a knob on the end. You are a fluffy bunny with floppy ears. How boring would that be? We’d have nothing left to entice and seduce us. Who wants the known when the unknown is so much more fun. It’s the uncategorizable (my own word. I own this one too) that makes the the rest of reality worth living. Would you pass on love, happiness and individuality for all the money in the world? Of course you wouldn’t, so why not just accept that there are no answers and just get on with it.

What is infinity?

Infinity, grasshopper, is what you get when you ask stupid questions.

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