Truth

Truth No. 2: Truth is infinite, and the infinite is Truth.

Dear Joseph Quinn,

I apologize for my failed attempt at chiasmus. I fear it was about as unShakespearean in its command of language as writing ever gets. However, I do hope it got my point across–Truth is infinite, and the infinite is Truth. It’s based off of something you said during one of your mathematics lectures, when you were explaining how infinity can only ever be defined in a higher dimension. In other words, infinity on a number line (one dimension) can only be defined using a plane (two dimensions), and infinity on a plane can only be defined in three dimensions. The actual explanation behind that was a bit longer, and certainly you remember why. So let’s not get into that.

What I do want to focus on is the part where you said that infinity is like Truth. You drew an analogy there–Truth is like infinity because Truth in one language can only defined using another language, another dimension. I looked up this claim, and it turns out that the guy who said this was Tarski. It also turns out that that claim only applies to formal (not natural) languages.

Regardless, I think it was a brilliant analogy.

The Truth of our world is impossible to define within the confines of our world. After all, Truth encompasses everything; it is infinite. Physicists have already realized that the four dimensions (three spacial and one temporal) that we perceive cannot be explained in only four dimensions. It’s like how in the story of the blind men and the elephant, the Truth would be that they were all feeling an elephant–not a snake, pipe, tree branch, or anything else. In that way, I disagree with anekāntavāda, the Jainist concept of multiple truths. Just because you have a piece of the Truth does not mean that it is Truth. Truth is all-encompassing; it is infinite. But infinity is itself not just a number. It can be treated as one (I got lost partway through your explanation of transfinite numbers), but it is really just an incredibly complicated concept.

So what is Truth? Could I redefine Truth as a single answer? A single value, like 42? Perhaps it would require the defining of transfalsehood (get it? transfinite -> transfalsehood?). Or maybe it’s that Truth is infinitely more complicated than the concept of infinity, because the infinity which exists within our universe would have to be defined by Truth. Perhaps there must be another universe in order for our universe to be defined. Is Truth truly infinite?

Maybe I’ll be able to attend another one of your lectures, and maybe then I’ll be able to ask you these questions. Good luck on getting your PhD!

Alouette Kim

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Categories: Dear Now, Truth | Leave a comment

Truth No. 1: We are all insignificant.

Dear 2013,

I am not afraid of you. I can see you hurtling towards me like a wave surging towards shore, but still I am not afraid. I can see that you are only another challenge for me to overcome, and you are no more daunting than the last. You promise mountains of homework, opportunities for heartbreak, and a number of sleepless nights. But you also promise more time to be had with some of the most important people in my life.

Sometimes it makes it easier to just reduce you to a series of numbers. 2013 AD. 365 days. 8760 hours. 525600 minutes. 31536000 seconds. It’s really not that long when you consider that the Earth has been around for 4.54 ± 0.05 (because uncertainty matters) billion years. We are all so insignificant–just a tiny wisp of smoke in the forever that is the universe, and the vastness that is Earth.

I am a girl.

I am a girl in a city.

I am a girl in a city in the state of New York.

I am a girl in a city in the state of New York in the United States of America.

I am a girl in a city in the state of New York in the United States of America, which is in North America.

I am a girl in a city in the state of New York in the United States of America, which is in North America, situated on the planet Earth.

I am a girl in a city in the state of New York in the United States of America, which is in North America, situated on the planet Earth that orbits the sun.

I am a girl in a city in the state of New York in the United States of America, which is in North America, situated on the planet Earth that orbits the sun, stuck in the great nothingness that is our universe.

I am a girl in a city in the state of New York in the United States of America which is in North America, situated on the planet Earth that orbits the sun, stuck in the great nothingness that is our universe, which is possibly one of billions of universes.

I am a girl in a city in the state of New York in the United States of America which is in North America, situated on the planet Earth that orbits the sun, stuck in the great nothingness that is our universe, which is possibly one of billions of universes. I will live, and I will die, and no one living up the block from will ever have been any the wiser.

It always helps to remember that nothing I get wrong matters all that much. At least I didn’t make some catastrophic mistake, like decide that today was the day the world was going to end. And I mean even that really wouldn’t have altered much in the grand scheme of things. Life is funny like that. Everything happens, everything passes, and we’re all just left struggling in nature’s wake.

I mean, really. The past exists only within our minds, and the future is just our imaginations at work. The only real thing is the NOW, which is influenced by the past and future. It’s ridiculous.

But still—we can’t help who we are. And as much as we can, we make the best of our struggle. And 2013, I am not afraid. Right now, you lurk in the shadows of the future—the future which exists within our minds. But soon enough you will be the NOW, and the now will have passed. And that’s that, isn’t it? A thousand years from now, nobody will remember me. Maybe they will remember Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. But a thousand years after that–what then? What about after humanity has ended? We are all insignificant. However, that is why we struggle to make ourselves heard: in the hope that we will be just a little bit less insignificant.

Hoping for the best,

Alouette Kim

 

Categories: Dear Future, Truth | Leave a comment

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