Sciences - Other

Understanding Infinity

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"Understanding Infinity"
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"This is some kind of joke," I thought to myself as I approached the check-in counter at the Infinity Hotel because it seemed that was the only part of it that existed. If it weren't real, though, surely I would have seen disgruntled people leaving, but the seemingly endless line had just kept moving. I approached the man behind the counter, and told him that it seemed like I had waited in line forever.

"It was much longer than forever," he replied. And from that point, the conversation just became more confusing.

Me: "I was concerned the hotel would be full before I got in."

Him: "It is full."

Me: "Then there is no room for me?"

Him: "There is always room."

Me: "How is there room? I see no hotel."

Him: "We sent the builders to start at the end, and build it this direction. Your room will be ready when you get there."

Me: "How many rooms are built so far?"

Him: "None. The builders have not reached the other end."

Me: "You mean the people at the beginning of the line still are not in their rooms?"

Him: "There was no beginning of the line."

Me: "I don't understand."

Him: "Now you're getting it."

Me: "Now I'm getting what?"

Him: "I believe a room in our fine hotel."

Me: "Oh yeah."

He took my information, handed me a key, and told me to follow the line of people to my room. I turned to get in the line.

"Sir, I need to collect ten dollars for your stay here before you get in line," he said.

I apologized. "Normally I pay when I check out," I explained.

He smiled and said, "That wouldn't be a good business plan for us!"

I handed him a ten dollar bill and said, "I suppose so. It seems like I will never get to my room."

"Oh, it will take much longer than that - or not" he said as he took my money. "Enjoy your stay."

I got in line, mindlessly trudging toward my room for what seemed like an eon, though it was probably only a couple of eras. I was getting hungry, and thought how nice it would be if there were a place to eat just ahead. No sooner had I thought it than it appeared before me!

Immediately upon being seated, a waitress appeared. She was carrying a tray with one of those fancy covers over a plate.

"What may I serve you?," she asked.

"May I see a menu?," I replied.

She giggled. "You would never get through our menu as it contains everything you can imagine," she said. "But we have meals that you can't imagine, too."

"How about some green eggs and ham," I said smartly.

She removed the cover from the plate, and there, sure enough, was a meal of green eggs and ham. I was impressed, but it really didn't look that appetizing. I decided on another ploy to prove I could imagine something she couldn't serve me.

"I changed my mind. I'd like the finest steak possible, medium rare," I started. She put the cover back over the plate and lifted it to display the finest steak possible cooked medium rare to perfection! "I changed my mind again," I said. "I'd like that same steak, only rare this time." I was certain I had her, but she merely put the cover over the plate, lifted it, and presented the same steak cooked less than it had been only a matter of seconds earlier! However, I still had a trick up my sleeve that I knew was impossible for her!

"So that is the finest steak possible?," I asked.

"Yes sir," she replied.

"Then I would like a steak even finer than that one, medium rare," I said with a sly grin.

She put the cover back on the plate, lifted it, and right before my eyes produced a steak even finer than the finest steak possible!

"Are you sure you wouldn't like something more exotic?," she asked.

I imagined that she would produce some delicacy' like deep fried beetles, or something French people eat. "No. This will do," I said. She set the plate before me, and I ate a steak finer than the finest steak possible, though I would have settled for biscuits and gravy. With each bite melting in my mouth, I wondered how much the meal would set me back. The waitress appeared immediately after I took the last bite.

"I'll be your cashier," she told me. "How much would you like to pay?"

"How about negative ten dollars," was my smart-aleck reply.

"With gratuity, then, here is eleven dollars fifty cents," she said as she pulled the money from her apron.

"I was just joking," I told her! "Here is twenty dollars. Will that cover the bill?"

"If you imagine it will, it will," she said. "Thank you for dining with us. I hope you will visit again."

"I would love to, but I'm trying to get to my room, so it is impossible that I will be back this way again," I told her regretting that it would be my last visit.

"This is infinity, sir," she said. "Nothing is impossible. However, if you cannot imagine it, it will not become reality."

As I rejoined the line of people trudging toward our rooms that do not exist yet, I kept thinking about the words the waitress told me. "Nothing is impossible. However, if you cannot imagine it, it will not become reality." I thought about the odd statement the man at the check-in desk made about it will take "longer than never - or not" to find my room. The words haunted me for another era or two as I made my way to my room.

"Perhaps," I thought, "if I imagine my room, it will exist." I closed my eyes, and started imagining my room was just a few steps away. The image was growing more vivid when suddenly I ran into something. I opened my eyes, and there before me was a door. The number on it matched the number on my key!

I turned to the line, and yelled out: "If you will imagine it, it will become reality!"

My words seemed to fall on deaf ears. Only one person replied, "That's what they all say. I'll believe it when I see it." And on the line trudged to find the rooms that did not exist.

I unlocked my door to the room that was exactly as I imagined. My weariness from the long march was no match for the enthusiasm I felt as I began understanding how infinity worked. I imagined that I would open my door, and the Infinity Museum and Gift Shop would be across the hall. When I opened my door, sure enough, there it was!

As I entered, a salesman greeted me. "May I help you find something?," he asked.

"Yes," I said! "I want to see everything on Earth!"

"That will be on aisle twenty-seven," he replied.

I asked him, "Is everything in the universe in here?"

"Well, of course," he said. "It's all on the first three floors. Is there any reason you want to limit yourself to that?"

"You mean there's more than everything in the universe?," I questioned.

He chuckled. "Of course there is," he said. "In infinity, for this universe we have everything that has ever existed, everything that has never existed, everything that will ever exist, and everything that will never exist. But we also have more than that on other floors."

"How many floors are there?," I asked.

"More than you can imagine," he said with another chuckle. "More than you can imagine."

"I know," I exclaimed! "I want to meet Albert Einstein!"

"Certainly," the salesman said. "Right this way."

We walked around a corner, and down an aisle to where an old man with unkempt, white hair was sitting. I recognized him immediately!

"I'm so excited to meet you, sir," I exclaimed! "I've always wanted to talk to you, but you died before I was born! My name is . . ."

"Hi Tom," he said. "We've met before. Do you recall the dream you had after reading about special relativity?"

"Well, yes," I said. "But that was just a dream."

"It was not just a dream, my friend," he said. "It was a dream in which you had a revelation. I was there. It pleased me that you thought so highly of my work."

"Thank you, sir," I said. "But I recall that I thought your work was incomplete."

"It was, indeed," he said. "I had a mere lifetime to figure out what I did. Some of my work included incorrect presumptions, but I was able to finish some of the work Dr. Planck and others had started. It's all relative. Some people have used my work to find greater truths, but not all who claim to know greater truths are on the right track. Seek the truth, and you will find more of it. However, you, too, only have a lifetime for your work. I must get back to my studies, so please excuse me."

"Yes sir," I said as I shook his hand! I turned to the salesman. "May I meet Socrates?"

"Of course," he said. He took me down the aisle a bit further to where a man in toga-like garb was debating others. "Sir, this gentleman would like to meet you."

"I don't give autographs, nor do I pose for pictures, young man," he said rather piously.

"That's fine, sir," I assured him. "I wanted to meet you because I believe you are one of the smartest men who ever lived."

"Why would you think that?," he asked.

"Well, you thought our senses were filters of reality, that we should worry more about our souls than about making money, and that justice was not about revenge but about treating people fairly," I answered.

"Do you believe those to be true?," he asked.

"Well, of course," I said.

"And why do you believe those to be true?," he queried.

"Well, when I think about those things, they all make sense to me," I answered. "I have even given up jobs because I felt we were not truly helping others despite saying so. We were really trying to make money at the expense of others, despite that we were telling them what they wanted to hear so they would give us their money."

"I believe that encompasses all three reasons in one succinct answer," he said. "So, if I am one of the smartest people who ever lived, are you not also one of the smartest people who ever lived?"

"I don't think so," I replied. "I have so many questions."

"And between us in this conversation, have you asked more questions than me?," he asked.

"No sir," I said. "You have pretty much only asked me questions this whole conversation, but you have led me to the erroneous conclusion that I am as smart as you despite that I know so little."

"Then have I not proven my point that our mutual wisdom is the recognition that we do not know it all?," he asked.

"Yes, I suppose so," I said.

"Then is it your conclusion that you are as smart as me, or is it your conclusion that I am as stupid as you?," he asked.

"Well, you certainly are not stupid, so I guess I must be as smart as you," I replied. "But I learned from you; you did not learn from me."

"I lived before you. You should go meet Mr. Einstein so he can explain relativity to you," he said. "Now, be gone for I have no time for groveling fans!"

"Yes sir," I said. I turned to the salesman and said, "Socrates called me a groveling fan!"

"Yes, but you did not tell him that you already visited Einstein," said the salesman.

"What purpose would it serve to do so?," I asked.

"Ah, you learn quickly," he said. "Is there anything else you would like to see while you are here?"

"I would like to meet Jesus Christ if I may," I said humbly.

"Jesus welcomes all who come to Him," said the salesman. "Come this way."

He took me down to the end of the aisle, around a corner, and up an incline. There before me was a rather humble looking man whose aura emanated as a pure white glow. I was standing before the Lord Himself!

"Welcome Tom," He said. "I have been waiting for you to come to Me."

I bowed before Him, and offered an apology for not seeking Him first. "I feel so unworthy to be in Your presence," I said.

"You have always been in My presence, My son, for I watch over all who believe in Me," said the Lord.

"But You know I have questions about faith," I said.

"So did My disciple for whom you were named," He said. "No one is perfect. I gave My life for you so that if you believe, you will have everlasting life."

"What I want to know Lord is . . ." I started.

"You want to know what I would tell the world if I were to return today," he said omnisciently. "I would tell the world today exactly what I told the world when I was of flesh."

Suddenly there was a loud ringing in my ears as if an alarm was going off. I looked toward the alarm. Alas, it was time to wake up and get ready for work.

I hit the snooze button anyway.

More about this author: Tom Koecke

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