Infinity isn’t a number

Infinity isn't a number by Kim Marchesseault My son broke this news to me the other night while we were saying our goodnights. We were arguing about something and I used infinity in my argument. He said, “Infinity isn’t a number”.  I didn’t necessarily think of infinity as a number, but I confess I also didn’t declare with any absolution that it wasn’t a number either. I didn’t even think about it much until my son brought it up.

How many times have I taken infinity for granted because I so easily speak of it, we so often use it in math and assume it exists. There is a theory that there are more real  numbers than there are whole numbers but it is null and void if infinity is true because both whole numbers and real numbers would be infinite so they can never outnumber one another.  …and how do you prove infinity exists? or doesn’t? I mean, if you eat your entire birthday cake, and there is no more left, infinity doesn’t exist, right? but you know there are ingredients for more cakes of infinite variation in flavor, size and decoration and when the current supply of flour is depleted, more wheat will grow, there are gluten-free cakes, rice cakes,  so you can eat all of your cake and have more, too! but never exactly the same cake again although some of those molecules will likely be reinvented as cake someday.

How many people in the art world claim everything has already been done? but I am a true believer in infinity and strive in my art to come up with something unique, even if it is simply a variation of what has been done. If someone else on the other side of the world comes up with the same concept at the same time (which, I am told is often the case) I hope we execute it with, at the very least, slight differences. Some theorize this happens because of something called collective unconscious.

I refuse to flatly copy because I am not a copy machine so take your stack of 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper and stick it somewhere else.

I want to be inspired, to build on the knowledge we have acquired (if I am so lucky as to be aware of it) and take it farther or simply take it somewhere it hasn’t been, perhaps even to a point of regression, maybe to a lateral place but at least go where no man has gone before…or have I watched too many Star Trek episodes? If anyone ever proves infinity doesn’t exist, they will have discovered the true end to the universe, the end of the world and we will fall off the edge just like Christopher Columbus did…er…wait. That didn’t happen. Scratch that.

So my son has named my new sculpture, which has a broken infinity symbol in the cloth that I was thinking about and trying to figure out when he said that, “Infinity isn’t a number”.

And I am left wondering.


9 Responses

  1. Kim,

    I hate to tell you but there are more than one infinities and some are bigger than others. I thought for a moment there that you were about to give the proof, when you were talking about whole numbers and real numbers.

    I suppose that if you could prove that 1 exists then you could prove any number of infinities exist.

    BTW, the universe is finite, the number of sub atomic particles is finite but numbers…ahh, that’s another story.

    As the Bard once said:
    “And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”


  2. But the possible combinations are infinite, right? right? OK, if you figure out where the universe ends, call me. We’ll go bungie jumping off of it.

    …and that’s fun, what you said. Infinity isn’t a number, but numbers are infinite.

  3. looking at this picture I realized I was unhappy with the hands and the harshness of the face on this sculpture so I reworked them.

  4. Are you doing more sculptures of Grant Miller?

  5. I will definitely have to revisit Grant Miller as a subject since he is an infinite source of inspiration.

  6. I see you’re in NC, I live in the mtns. Both beauiful areas. I love your pieces. Amazing to watch you break through and heal w/each piece.
    I’d love to see more and am interested in buying maybe. I love sculpture. Women and children pieces specifically. I’ve been dealing w/PTSD since 94 I guess. I hope to find the right medium for me one day. Right now it seems to be in the form of flour and butter and whatever ingredient I’m baking with that day…
    love and blessings Sherrye

  7. Sherrye,

    Thank you for the encouragement. I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with PTSD.

    Flour and butter, awesome! hehe! Sounds like you take whatever is around you and make it your medium, which is pretty amazing.

  8. I just realized infinity is the potential duration of a sustainable process. Some infinities are better off broken.

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