Sunday, May 26, 2024

The Tranquilizing Concept of Infinities

Written by Balwant Kaur (Grade 11)

“Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.” I shared this quote from John Green‘s bestselling novel “The Fault in our Stars” to a person I once knew. They were skeptical about the logic behind it and still to this day I haven’t been able to explain it to them. Looking back at it to write this, I remembered the reasoning behind it again. Put simply, something can be infinite while still not being equal or larger than something that is also infinite. To prove this, let’s take an example: we know,  0 and 1 have an infinite set of numbers between them like 0.1, 0.2 and so on. The set of numbers between 0 and 100 is also infinite, but it is definitely more than the set of numbers between 0 and 1.

This concept ties into the plot of the novel with beautiful simplicity and becomes the basis of the relationship shared by two terminally sick teenagers, Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters, running between hospital check ups and stealing moments to share with each other. It formed the underlying belief behind every action they took and the increasing faith they nurtured for each other. Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters didn’t ever think they’d be together forever. They knew one of them might die at any moment and so they strived to live eternally within their numbered days. They sacrificed parts of themselves to make the other feel more complete. They offered unending love and dedication to each other’s misery and took pleasure in satiating the other’s inner desire to live a life more fulfilling than they were allowed to due to biological reasons out of their control.

And then one of them (Augustus) did die. And so did the part of Hazel that she gave to him. But their infinity didn’t. It can’t and won’t. Infinities don’t end. Their memories and love went beyond the humane comprehension of mortality.

If the book went on further, Hazel might have even fallen in love again with someone else before she died too, might have started a better and different life, found better people and so on. She might have found a bigger infinity after Augustus’s death. But that does not undermine the one they both shared. Nor does it decrease the value of the love she would no doubt forever hold for him.

And that’s exactly what’s inspirational yet tranquillizing about this concept.

One might meet someone special. And from the moment they enter your life and color it with a different shade till the moment they exit, leaving behind a beautiful painting made up of memories and a different version of you, all those moments are little infinities in and of themselves that make up a bigger one. And that’s the thing about infinities, they don’t end and every one of them is invaluable beyond comprehension.

“Some infinities are bigger than other infinities”. This simple line might not have been a great invention that changed the trajectory of humanity but it is certainly one that has the power to change the life of anyone who has had the chance to read it. Because it most certainly did mine and of that person who I shared this with. They might not be in my life any longer, but we both know we once shared a lovely friendship that will forever be infinite.

Featured Image Courtesy – Pinterest


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