January 20th, 2018

Trying to understand some puzzling terms

By Letter to the Editor on September 13, 2017.

I have trouble with some big questions. How can anyone just accept ideas of mathematics, astronomy and economics? Infinity, how can there be an infinity of anything? How can you have only one side of anything? Eternity – time unending. I am at a loss.

One day my five-year-old daughter jumped onto my lap, gave me a big hug, and said: “Daddy, I love you for eternity!” At first I was dumbfounded. How could a five-year-old conceive of such an idea? She said it with such ease and confidence É while I struggled with how to understand, to put it in some perspective. Did she mean now until the time she falls asleep tonight; or the endless possibilities in a day for a child? Could she have tripped into a deep well of understanding beyond my comprehension? Was she ready for the MENSA test? Did she really mean eternity – endless time?

I am filled with the endless love of a father who held her head while she came out of her mother. I had looked into the eyes of infinity, beyond measure, beyond definition. These are my feeble attempts to understand words like eternity, infinity, endless growth and free markets.

In “The Little Prince” by Antoine De Saint-Exupery, there is a story of a planet overgrown by baobab trees. There is no room for anything else on the planet. Are those who promote endless growth for business proposing no room for anything else on Earth but business?

I understand what trade is – it has been going on since the first man and woman. But free? How can it be free when it guarantees corporate profits? Social policy pundits can change their business theories with their socks every morning. Politicians use words for power. They struggle with different sell-by dates.

Don Ryane


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