Jansy: it’s not THAT arcane or demanding of higher-maths. When VN writes “an infinity of sensation and thought within a finite existence,” his use of “infinite” and “finite” is entirely in accord with normal mathematical usage. When he speaks of “infinite” transitions in LEGAL games-of-chess*, he is mathematically wrong. This fleeting deviation is worthy of attention simply because we think of and revere VN as the skilled chess-player/problemist endowed with a love of precise scientific language that’s rare in novelists.

Human Life spans are finite in the sense of having a limited temporal duration. During that finite period, though, the “number” of sensations/thoughts experienced can plausibly be considered infinite. There’s no paradox here if you consider the massively-parallel analog nature of our electro-chemical neural-synaptic networks within which sensations, thoughts and memories enjoy their mysterious gymnastics.   

* There are specific rules that prevent endless chess games, e.g., you can’t have repetitions such as 1 Nf3 Nc6 2 Ng1 Nb8 3 Nf3 Nc6 4 Ng1 Nb8 ... In fact, it’s even more complex than forbidding such sequences; if the same position recurs thrice at any time during a game, a draw can be claimed.

PS: again, sans google, from fading memories of studying Egyptian Hieroglyphs, each part of the Horus eye-symbol
represented a term in the sequence 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, ... Mysterioso ... Seems they knew that if you extend  this sequence and sum it ‘to infiniity’ you get a total of ONE.
Stan Kelly-Bootle

On 11/10/2008 19:41, "jansymello" <jansy@AETERN.US> wrote:

VN and his readers should not use the word “infinite” without due care & attention. The gap between a finite set (however large) and even the smallest infinite set (aleph-0) is ... beyond belief We logicians read V as “OR”; tipped over to ^ it becomes “AND”; on its side we get > (greater than) and < (less than), where the direction of “vanishing” (getting smaller) IS SELF-EVIDENT[...] And we still haven’t plumbed the depths of Pythagorean numerology where V = 5, the number of regular Platonic polyhedra. These really are the comic-cosmic symmetrical building blocks of the whole spatial shebang.
[...] If I recall correctly without a-googling, our A evolved via the Phoenician from the Egyptian hieroglyph for an ox’s head which happened to have a name starting with an A sound.

Stan, I count myself among those who stop counting after number three and frantically move their fingers to signal infinities of "many- manies".
Without agoogling I dare bring up your fellow R.L.Gregory's  image of an "Horus-Eye" as the source for the representation of numbers and fractions. Egyptian-goddess Isis must have collected a de-finite set of scattred pieces of Osiris before the couple could produce Horus...

Logicians are great inspirers of "thoughticons" ( V> < , no W ) to see... a world in a grain of sand? Now what about holding "Infinity in the palm of your hand?"
Here is a sample of verbal transformations that testify to VN's pains concerning "an infinity of sensation and thought within a finite existence".
In Strong Opinions Nabokov describes "a boy and a girl, standing on a bridge above the reflected sunset, and there are swallows skimming by, and the boy turns to the girl and says to her, "Tell me, will you always remember that swallow? - not any kind of swallow, not those swallows, there, but that particular swallow that skimmed by?" And she says, "Of course I will," and they both burst into tears."  
There is a less pungent variant in TRLSK  - for  it isV's trivial imagination, not SK's, who addresses Clare Bishop:" I would have said: 'Let us not talk of Sebastian. Let us talk of Paris. Do you know it well? Do you remember those pigeons? Tell me what you have been reading lately.... And what about films? Do you still lose your gloves, parcels?'."
[ V had been present when SK and Clare saw a flock of smelly birds metamorphose into stone, wing and into a "fancily stylized" cold register:'Far too many pigeons,' she said, as we reached the kerb[...] The groan of a motor-lorry ...sent the birds wheeling across the sky[...]. They settled among the pearl-grey and black frieze of the Arc de Triomphe and when some of them fluttered off again it seemed as if bits of the carved entablature were turned into flaky life. A few years later I found that picture, 'that stone melting into wing', in Sebastian's third book.]
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