*the first post in a finite series*

If there’s one thing about math that people love—and to make it through the average day, I have to believe there’s at *least* one—it’s infinity.

Throw the word into a math lesson, and ears perk up. *Infinity? Did he say infinity? *It’s like a distant celebrity, the subject of endless gossip and rumor. “I heard infinity isn’t even a number!” “Only the universe is *really* infinite.” “My last teacher said infinity times two is the same as infinity.” “I can use infinity to prove that 1 = 0!”

Infinity is a sound too high for our ears, a light too bright for our eyes, a taste so sweet that it would tear through our tongues like acid. Basically, it’s mathematical Mountain Dew.

Tellingly, all of our words for infinity define it by what it isn’t. *Infinite*: not finite. *Unlimited*: not limited. *Boundless*: without bounds. It’s hard to articulate what infinity *does*, so we settle for naming what it *doesn’t*: end. Infinity is the Anansi of mathematics, a trickster spider weaving baffling webs of paradox and contradiction.

Take this example: which has more numbers, List A or List B?