Growing Up #8: Some infinities are bigger than other infinities

It’s John Green for you, from The Fault in Our Stars:

Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.

I recently rediscovered a math concept that between two numbers, lets say 2 and 3, there are infinite numbers between them (which becomes a headache when solving tricky standardized test problems!). But there are even more infinite numbers between 1 and 3. So maybe that’s what John Green meant, because literally how big are infinities?

We’re just like the numbers on the numbers scale. Some of us closer, some farther away. And yet no matter how close we are, there’s an infinite distant between us. Family. Friends. Colleagues.

We can never truly come to a full understand of someone else, no matter how close they may be. It can be frightening, but also liberating. We cannot control anybody else’s actions, we cannot think for anybody else – given the infinite distance between us.

Perhaps it’s easier to go on with adult life with this in mind that our understanding of people in our lives is limited. Sometimes there are no whys that can be answered. And this could make it easier to not take everything personally.

We can only act for ourselves and we might as well do it wisely.


Into week 8 of writing a column on growing up every Saturday (it’s cheat week as I wrote this on a Sunday).