Reviewed by Ian Mowll.
The concept of ‘infinity’ is amazing. Did you know that it can be shown, mathematically, that there are different kinds of infinity, some bigger than others? I find that incredible. This documentary takes you through the ideas of infinity, where it started, different kinds of infinity and the puzzles that are thrown up by the concept.
I love mathematics, there is a beauty within it. So often, when solving equations, simple answers fall out of a complex puzzle, as if there is some simple beauty inherent in the universe. But more than this, mathematics has a ‘hard truth’ about it. You can’t pull the wool over someone’s eyes with it, you can’t do a clever sleight of hand and come up with some bizarre conclusion. Either it’s true or it isn’t and you can only convince others if it is true. One of the benefits of this is that, as a human race, we can build on each other’s knowledge – there can be real progress over the generations.
Such has been the benefit of mathematics and science in the Western world that, in some ways, many people have made a ‘god’ of science. But, as a result of all of the scientific hard analysis, it’s then easy to think that the Universe simply follows mathematical ‘rules’ which makes it sterile and meaningless.
Enter the idea of infinity and you find that this is not so. As the documentary shows, infinity is full of mystery and paradox. It opens us up to awe and wonder. It shows how we, as humans, are a small part of something much larger. And, as one mathematician says in the documentary, it’s love that binds us together and makes life meaningful. So, for me, the idea of infinity prompts so much spiritual reflection – the Universe is so much deeper, more profound and amazing than I could ever have imagined.
One telling piece in the documentary is that the truths behind the Universe might be way beyond our comprehension. Rather like trying to explain quantum physics to a cat (don’t even try it), the mysteries of the Universe may be well beyond our conscious ability to grasp it. I find this exciting, we are on an amazing journey of discovery with so much more to learn, our collective great adventure of discovery has only just begun.
At the time of writing, this documentary was available on Netflix.