So here you are. A failure at everything you’ve touched. Your wife left you for your best friend. Your son doesn’t return your calls. And your daughter crosses the street if she catches you approaching.
So now you’ve decided to become a philosopher.
You are sitting in your rocking chair [‘the philosopher’s workstation’], a nicely-aged Scotch in hand to energize your thinking.
And what are you thinking about? You are thinking about ‘Infinity’, a very respectable thing for philosopher’s to be thinking about.
I think it was Voltaire who advised you judge a man by his questions, not his answers. He stands with you.
No matter. It’s getting late, you’ve run out of Scotch and its getting to be dinner time. What is ‘Infinity?’ How do you plan to locate this ‘Infinity’ before you get to dinner?
Your sitting on your rocker is a perfect repeat of what was done by some other men around 3,000 years ago.
The earliest Mahāvākyam, summary capture of primal Dharmic Truth, is from the Chandogya Upaniṣad (3.14.1.):
Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma: ‘All [this] is Brahman‘.
Brahman is from the root ‘Brh‘, ‘To Uphold, Support’. Brahman is ‘That which upholds’. It was originally a Mantric expression for Yagnic formalities before it took on metaphysical meanings. It is used as synonymous with ‘That’.
What is Brahman? I don’t know. In fact I can never know what Brahman is. And why not? Because I am part of this ‘All’, whatever this ‘All’ is. Else it wouldn’t be the ‘All’.
So how do I go about locating Brahman? There is a problem. A big problem. And what is the problem?
I can’t locate ‘Everything’ while sitting on my rocker because ‘Everything’ includes me sitting on my rocker. And it includes me thinking about locating ‘Everything’ while sitting on my rocker. And…ad infinitum.
Here’s a clip I wrote once about the origins of Self-Reference in Classical Logic:
‘In looking for ‘Nothing’, you must remember to exclude any sensory, cognitive or affective representation of it as Object. ‘Nothing’ is radically exclusive, hence inexpressible except as Self-Negating Expression.
In looking for ‘Everything’, you must remember to include the Looking-Subject. ‘Everything’ is radically inclusive and hence inexpressible except as Self-Negating Expression.’
The Symbol ‘0’, the original Self-Negating Expression, is a synthetic construct that was put together with the very specific objective of helping the investigator get to the bottom of all this.
In particular, this ‘I’.
I cannot prostrate in worship to Brahman. Brahman includes the one prostrating and the act of prostration. I cannot pray to Brahman. Brahman includes the prayer and the one praying.
I cannot weep and plead my case to Brahman…only one completely in ignorance of the nature of Brahman, the intent behind the construction of the term ‘Brahman‘ does so.
The understanding of the symbols: 0 [Zero], ∞ [Infinity], 1 [One] and I [‘Self’] are mutually inseparable.
In other words, you understand all four. Or you understand none.
There is a fifth symbol: ? [‘God’]. It is a waste of time to go after it until you are in view of the other four.