Foolery… like the sun… shines everywhere

If the universe is finite, what would beyond the edge of the universe be like?

Deck: The Shakespeare Tarot

Card: 2 of Crowns Feste

2 coins Feste.jpg

Answer: If a finite universe had an edge, that edge and what lay beyond it would look, and in fact be, all that was behind it. That is: there would be no edge and any point one inhabited, looked out from, and called an “edge”, would be as one point on a Moebius strip – a universal Moebius strip outside of which nothing else existed.

Here, the character Feste is completely surrounded by matter – miscellaneous paraphernalia of the natural world. The rather humorless clown holds a lute, and his image is reflected in a mirror such that the lute he holds echoes visually the RWS 2 of Pentacles where a jester juggles a lemniscate – the finite sign of infinity. This mirror and echo suggest the above Answer, as does Twelfth Night‘s celebration of misrule and character doubling, where the main character is a female who has a male identical twin – an impossibility. Feste himself impersonates a curate, suggesting religion and all its cosmologies are false. Looking closer, we see many of the images are in fact pictures within frames; indeed, Feste himself is actually a framed portrait and the entire image on the card is set out like a tableau, as for a painted still-life. There is an implication here that frames (“edges”) are contextual devices humans apply to things but which, given the nature of the Question, are as illusory as paint on canvas or characters on a stage.

As for the idea of infinity itself, the Question posed rather dictates the Answer, but there remain potentially other infinities aside from the spacial. The notion of Time for instance, which Twelfth Night‘s own temporal title suggests. With the play’s conceit of unknown lands and mistaken identity, another implication is a metaphysical infinity. The Question posits an infinity on the grand scale, yet looked at the other way, there may be an infinity downwards, toward the infinitesimal. In short, as the 2 of Crown’s frames imply, the finite may nonetheless contain the infinite.

Published by Chas Tringham

Chas Tringham wasn't so much born on February 26 1969, as he was raised in absentia. He is the son of J.J. Bieber and a discounted sack of millet. Chas' mother was 17 years old when she became 18. His parents would never marry, or merry, Queen of Scots, but maintained a close call and the common cold regarding their son's personal acne and professional malfeasance. Growing up, Chas taught those closest to him to resent the trumpet. On or about September 9/11, Chas' step-uncle's memoir, the eminently readable "Chaps", was publicly ignored. The book tells of his/her early dinners and reads it a story before bedtime. Looking back, Chas maintained contacts with his optometrist, who later married two women and an unemployed bird enthusiast. Interested in honkies, soccer, and ice-chests, Chas keeps his aspirations in a sweat sock.

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