The Infinite Possibility of Words

I had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine today.  We were having one of our normal debates, he was giving me the merits of math and science, and I was giving him the merits of reading and writing.  Normally, these debates don’t really go much of anywhere, because we both know that both sides are beneficial, and it’s just our personal preferences that make the difference.  Today, however, it took a different turn.  Somehow, we got to the point where we were debating which one was more infinite.  His argument for math and science was that it covers the vastness of the universe, goes beyond what we know, and therefore is more infinite than writing, which can only reach the limits of what our brains can imagine.  My argument for reading and writing was that math and science will always only have 1 right answer for every problem, and once you solve it, that’s it.  Sure, it may open up other things, but each of those things will still have an answer that we can reach and then move on.  Reading and writing don’t have just one answer.  You can come to your own conclusions about you think something means, but then you can talk to someone else, and they’ll have an entirely different interpretation.  That, in turn, may open up more things in your mind that you hadn’t thought of before, and so your thoughts and understanding of the words will keep going, and it has no finite ending.

Eventually, we, yet again, reached the point where we both accept that the other’s argument has validity, and we just move on.  And yet, I’m still thinking about it.  I’ve got this infinite idea of words stuck in my head now.  I know, it’s been said before in at least 50 different ways that words and writing are ever-powerful, but I’ve never thought before quite so much about the vastness of it.  Not vastness as in how many languages, stories, writings, etc. there are, but vastness as in what all it is capable of.  One sentence can change your mood.  One conversation can change your day.  One story can change your life.  We all have a story or a book that we keep going back to, the pages are worn from being read so many times, and every time we return to it, we take something new away from it based on where we are in our lives at the time.  For me, personally, it’s Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  Depending on my mood or what’s going on in my life, I can turn to a specific chapter, and something in it will always make me feel better or give me a new perspective.  For me, that story has no end, and what it has done for me is endless.

That, to me, is the true meaning of infinite.  Despite it being the same book every time I open it, it continues to change and adapt into exactly what I need.  I can talk to someone else who has read it and what they’ve taken out of it can be completely different than what I’ve taken, and then it just continues its endless journey through our minds and hearts.


One thought on “The Infinite Possibility of Words

  1. Lana Larcher says:

    I love this post! However, I wanted to add in another perspective that wasn’t quite reached here. Math and science do give you one definitive answer…sort of. Think about something huge…the first thing that came to my mind was nuclear weapons. Math and science give us an answer: we can make them. But that opens up an ethical debate: SHOULD we make them? How should we use them? Who should control them? That opens up a philosophical and ethical argument that probably can’t be solved, but that has to be discussed using language and critical thinking. You can’t have math and science without reading and writing (and communication!), and you can’t have reading and writing (and communication!) without math and science. They feed into each other. If we only had math and science, we’d be computers (100101101101 – you get the point – and no that’s not actual binary code, I just made that up), and if you ONLY had reading/”writing” and communication (!), you’d have a society of technologically depraved people (I’m thinking cavemen here, though even THEY used forms of early science). So, I love that you thought this through, and I think my perspective is that together, they BOTH become infinite. 🙂 Happy blogging!

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