Saturday, September 20, 2008

The infinite God

No posts after my last one, are we giving up on this? I was thinking of writing another, just had to decide if to write on own blog or here. Finally deciding to go with the latter as i know, this topic might be interesting for at least someone like Easwar :)

I happened to watch a BBC video "Dangerous Knowledge" this week. Heres the you tube link to the first part In this documentary, David Malone presents the life of four brilliant mathematicians - Georg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing all of which have two things in common, the greatness of their work and the tragedy at the end of their lives. Its a very subtle attempt to compare their lives and see what might have driven their lives to madness and such a tragic end.

Why i got interested in their theories was because i had studies a few of them in college but had completely forgotten after three long years in this software industry which has left me with only one thing that i still know to do - code and my language has perhaps changed from english or mathematics(i simply loved mathematics from my old school days and which in itself has a simple story behind it) to java and c++. This documentary sparked off some dormant love i had for the Incompleteness theorem, the infinity and the Turing machine.

The documentary starts with the life of Georg Cantor who took mankind to the depths of infinity and the great continum hypothesis which shook the fundamentals of mathematics which was considered a complete science at one point of time. In mathematics, everything is so concrete, we study every thing with solid proofs. But still there was this one concept of infinity which was first introduced to me by our dear Korah sir (easwar, hope you too remember that one class) whose words still linger i my ears - "We can all start counting from 0, 1 ,2 and go on. As a child you may know to count only till 100. For him, any number greater than 100 is infinity." What simple way to explain one of the deepest concepts in mathematics. But my stint with computer science changed my outlook to infinity and mathematics quite drastically. It was not the engineering mathematics in the first couple of semesters, but the theory of computation paper i got to study from Pathari sir and Muralikrishnan sir. Computer science was born out of mathematics. If you dont agree with me, listen to the story of Alan Turing, the father of computer science in the above documentary. A computer itself was one of the graetest experiment in mathematics that still tries to solve one of the greatest unanswered questions before us. "Is man's intelligence limited?" I dont know if this question can ever be proved to answer "No" with a solid proof within the axioms of mathematics. But sure, if this has an answer yes, it'll be proved the day we perfect artificial intelligence. Now if this is one of those questions that can ever be answered, we might continue solving this till eternity until someone proves this is unprovable.

Btw, i forgot about the topic i put for this post - "the infinite God". The sole purpose of most of the scientific experiments around are to unravel the mysteries of this world which we hope will inturn lead us to god. My views on the concept of God was always different from what we all tried to make out of our religious preachings. For there is one common truth in all religions : God is omnipresent. We all believe in this but most of us dont try to read into the inner depths of this. Let me try to explain this in the context of infinity.

What Cantor wanted to unravel was the depths of infinity and what lies at infinity should be nothing but god. Lets look at it like this. I draw a line joining two points. How many points do you think are there in this line? infinite? So now think about levels of infinity, and what that could mean to our beliefs. Lets look the greatest physics experiment ever : the big bang exp by cern. What they are trying to do is recreate the nascent stages of universe, though may not the 'real' origin. Let us look at universe as a system which had no mass or 'particles' at some point of time. What it would have had is purely huge amounts of powerful energy. This energy might be what got converted into all the mass and life as we see it now. So what is omnipresent is energy and which exactly should be the power called God that we worship. And what man is trying to do is unravel this knowledge that can lead him to knowing God. The depth of this knowledge is too much and that must be the reason why each such great scientist was in the end driven to insanity. Human minds might be limited after all. who knows. but so is every natural number. 1 is limited, 2 is limited, but 2 follows 1 and 3 follows 2 and this still leads to infinity.

P.S. This is purely my thoughts and not intended to hurt anyone's feelings or beliefs.