Comprehending our infinity

You are infinite.

Consider your mind, and the places it has taken you. Consider the boundaries in your job, your education, your daily life, and all the times you have pushed them forward.

Consider the times you have risen to the occasion.

Living in our modern, mobile society, we can shape our lives more than ever. We choose our careers, our relationships, our academic concentrations.

At the root of this power is connecting to a realm greater than our reality. Our minds provide that greater realm. The mind gives depth to life, an inner context to our specific experiences as they are woven into a greater fabric of communal understanding.

Thus reality, independent of human reflection, without the power of the human mind and its capacity for innovation and realization, is static and meaningless. For, if we were to accept reality on its face value, what are we left with?

We are left with nothing.

Everyday life, the routine of our days, is meaningless without a purpose, a focus of our infinity. Why are we here? To whom or what do we live for?

Or put in its simplest form, we ask the singular word: Why?

For some, the answer is in divinity and faith. For others, it is rationalization, a rejection of the unseen and unproven.

But for many of us, for the open-minded center, our “why” resides somewhere between the polarities of religious orthodoxy and atheism. Therein lay the simplicity of our “why”; combining the best of faith and reason with as few of their downsides as possible.

We are not simply subjects to a tyrannical god nor are we solely bound by cause and effect. We are ingenious and independent, capable of using that ingenuity for a vast range of purposes. With history as our guide, in benevolent ways and evil, the expanding range of human understanding is all too apparent. We have proof of our own potential.

Yet in examining that potential, we often deny ourselves. We aim too low when it is always better to aim too high. We think too small when it is always better to think too large.

It is an archetype in the human condition; we are frightened by our own imagination and capability. We are frightened by our own integral part in the infinity of existence.

Or, as Leo Tolstoy reminds us, “What am I? A part of the infinite. In those few words lies the whole problem.”

Yet, like many problems of perception, it is only as difficult as we allow it to be. Staring into the infinity of our own potential can cripple us ... or it can empower us to continue mental and existential ascension. The choice, ultimately, is up to us.

We are only as infinite as our willingness to recognize it within ourselves.

Alex is ironically pragmatic, and can be reached at alexander.petrusek@asu.edu


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