Zero: The Infinity’s Twin

by Saeed Mubarak , Intelligent Field Team leader, Chairman of the SPE Global Digital Energy Coordination Committee

A previous article by Saeed Mubarak “It’s Not Always What It Seems to Be!” discussed the misrepresentation of sizes and locations of areas of countries, seas and oceans due to portraying the spherical world (3D) on a flat surface. The misrepresentation leads to misconceptions about their significance. What is perceived insignificant to some might be extremely significant to others. So, how is that related to Zero, the subject of this article?

Zero, the SIGNIFICANT/INSIGNIFICANT number, took centuries to develop, many nations to cross and great minds to comprehend. Some civilizations chose to live without zero and they functioned perfectly well. Zero was not significant to Greeks or geometry. The significance of Zero materialized only in recent times, and even more in today’s connected world where Zero plays major roles (e.g. calculus, accounting, computing … etc). Just imagine how you would feel if a Zero were erased or added to your monthly paycheck, not to the left of the number but to the right :).

“Zero is so powerful that it is considered as infinity’s twin. They are equal and opposite. The biggest questions in science and religion are about nothingness and eternity, the void and the infinite, zero and infinity” Charles Seife said. Some consider zero as “no-thing”, others consider it as “everything”. How is that possible?

If we take all the numbers (1 plus -1, 2 plus -2, 3 plus -3, 4 plus -4 ….) that is equal (0 + 0 + 0 + 0 …) which is equal to Zero. This Zero is not a “no-thing” but instead it can be considered as the largest value in the mathematical system which also includes the two infinities. If this is considered true, then all other numbers have a lesser value than that of the whole of Zero but still both positive and negative will be huge.

Saying 0-(-5) = 5 makes perfect sense in ordinary maths; however, putting this idea when Zero being (all numbers) and all other numbers being slightly less than that requires a paradigm shift. This shift takes us to an understanding that the broken symmetry that creates our universe or any other is defined by what’s missing from it. In the case of our own universe we know there is much less anti-matter than would be expected if our universe is derived from an underlying symmetry state. By the way, antimatter is a science fact not fiction. The absence of antimatter; however, remains a big mystery to be resolved by modern physics.

If you accept that Zero is everything and at the same time it is a no-thing; then it is possible that the creation was initiated from “no-thing” and so will it end.

The intention of the above discussion is not to dive into physics, mathematics or religions rather than to point out few astonishing thoughts to stimulate and intrigue readers.

It is fair to say that prior knowledge and interest of readers and/or writers determine how much they comprehend and how well they communicate about a certain topic. However, in our universe, around us and within us, many questions remain unanswered, many mysteries remain unresolved and many phenomena remain unexplained or uncomprehended. Light, shadow, time, gravity, taste, emotions, pain, conscious and knowledge are various forms of energy that are hard to define or weigh. Although, man invented means and methods to measure time and gravity… etc., man is still unable to define what they really are. To me, Knowledge remains a more fascinating subject that researchers and scientists have been spending extensive efforts to define, to streamline, to preserve … if knowledge is considered one form of weightless energy (i.e. you don’t weigh more if you know more), then the law of conservation of energy states that the total energy of an isolated system remains constant. Energy can be neither created nor be destroyed, but it can change forms. To explore readers’ approaches and thoughts to preserve this sort of energy (i.e. knowledge), I have lately initiated a discussion in Intelligent Fields Discussion group about methodologies to automate/semi-automate preserving tacit knowledge. Hopefully, the ideas in this article and the discussion steer some constructive thoughts. It is only when you know more; you realize how little you know.


Do you weigh more if you know more? Saeed Mubarak

Kaplan, Robert (2000). The Nothing that Is: A Natural History of Zero.

The story of Zero:

Everything Forever: Learning to See Timelessness, Gevin Giorbran).

Article taken from Linked In