Re: [Plants = Infinity]

Darren Kelly (
Tue, 12 May 1998 19:47:51 +0200 (MET DST)

On Tue, 12 May 1998, Jeff Miller wrote:
> I have to disagree with the concept of infinite number of combinations.
> ...
> while there may be an infinite number of note combinations possible.
> The number that are pleasant to the human ear, even given the vagaries
> of human taste, is definitely finite.

There is an infinite set within a larger infinite set.

infinity - a-very-large number = infinity

infinity - all-unpleasant combinations =all-pleasant-combinations.

-> all-pleasant-combinations = infinity

Or as Einstein put it, the universe does have boundary conditions; it
is bounded but infinite. This is not a contradiction. It is true that not
every piece of art (or plant growth pattern) entering an empty space will
be a "success" by whatever measure, but this doesn't mean there aren't
still an infinite number of "successful" ones. It's hard to reduce
infinity !

> Or am I wrong? Do you (addressing the collective list) think that while
> the mathematical processes indicate infinite possibilities, that human
> aesthetic senses are also infinite?

Infinite and infinitely variable. Nature and evolution haven't run out of
"useful" variations during billions of years, and music and dance won't

> I think that your decision is great! A physicist becoming a dancer will
> greatly enrich everyone you come into contact with. Maybe more dancers
> should become physicists...

I'm beginning to wonder whether this doesn't prove I'm not a physicist.
In any case I fear that our times don't favour the jack of all trades,
but rather specialists, or at least teams of them. I recently applied
for a job in my old field astrophysics (after a period in accelerator
physics). I was amongst the final contenders for this fiercely sought
position. The final letter of non-acceptance read:

We were most impressed with the enormous breadth of your
experience, but we chose someone with immediate postdoc
experience in the area of research.

> Generalizationally yours,
> Jeff

Jeff, we _ALL_ generalise _ALL_ the time, don't we ? (:)


Darren Kelly, DESY -MPY-, Notkestr.85,22603 Hamburg, Germany
Phone:+49-40-8998-4569 Fax:+49-40-8998-4305
[NB: Residential address and phone invalid after 25th May 1998]