Buzz Lightyear happily told us that he was heading, “To infinity and beyond.” It’s bold. It’s catchy. It’s fun to say. And while I too have quoted our favorite space ranger, his catchphrase is inaccurate.
‘Infinity’ is defined by Wiktionary.com as: Endlessness, unlimitedness, absence of a beginning, end or limits to size. Buzz’s go to phrase is a simple impossibility. One cannot go to infinity, we are already in it. One cannot go beyond it, it has no end.
I was standing in line for the Buzz Lightyear ride once and listened to a mathematician or engineer (I never figured out which) go on at great length about this inaccuracy. It bothered him that this phrase gave a faulty definition and he worried that young children wouldn’t understand just what infinity meant. He had a point.
We don’t like contemplating that there is something bigger than we can comprehend. We don’t want there to be anything that is impossible to traverse, conclude or conquer. There is and that is okay. We can be part of something bigger, part of something that will never end and that is a gift in itself.
In infinity and right here!