Friday, 13 March 2015

Reflections on Infinity: "The Other Tiger" by Arthur C. Clarke

What is Infinity? What does it really mean to say that the universe is infinite? The vast majority of people think that "infinite" is simply synonymous with "very, very big". This is not even close. I will not attempt to explain this mind-boggling concept. Arthur Clarke already did this brilliantly in his short story "The Other Tiger", a marvellous example how a short piece of fiction may have tremendous, literally unimaginable implications; and for once, the outlandish ending is perfectly appropriate. Here it is, straight out of Tales from Planet Earth (1989), complete with a prefatory note and a postscript. Note, in the latter, Arthur's mischievous mention of God and his elegant refutation of the popular misconception "we are here because everything is so finely adjusted" (we are, of course, but from this it does not follow that Somebody wanted it that way).





PS If you care to read Frank Stockton's "The Lady or the Tiger?" (1882), see here.

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