Limited vs Unlimited

The other day I realized that my website can only hold ~1 million files. I’ve hit the limit several times, and had to go back and delete old files to free up new space.

But came the question to me:

Do I feel OK with having “only” 1 million files as an upper-limit?

Which made me think more about the philosophical notion of limits vs unlimited.

Some thoughts:

The upside of limited digital space

server limits web space

I had a realization a while back:

Why is it that we have all unanimously decided to “hoard” physical goods is bad and shameful, yet we “hoard” all of our digital files and things, with no feelings of shame?

My daily practice

I treat my “Downloads” folder as my “scratch drive”, which means:

All the files I have ‘in progress’, I keep in my “Downloads” folder.

At the end of the day, I try to clear out this downloads folder. Furthermore, at the end of the day, I try to close all the open tabs in my browser.

For me, this is what I consider “digital digestion“. The basic notion is this:

Constipation is bad. We must digest well in order to have maximal strength and health.

When we hoard too many files, are we digitally constipated?

Creative constraints

I think intuitively, nobody likes the notion of constraints. We all want to be maximally free, and to live ‘unlimited’.

We desire unlimited data plans, and some of us even desire unlimited life.

But is unlimited better or worse?

The upside of death

memento mori

My thought:

If we lived FOREVER and never died, I don’t think we can truly appreciate the sweet nectar of life.

For example, without cold, we could not appreciate warmth. Without depression, we cannot appreciate joy. Without weakness, we cannot appreciate strength. Without sickness, we cannot appreciate health.

There is this “dualistic” nature to almost everything in life– akin to the ‘yin and yang‘ philosophy.

Every downside needs an upside, and vice versa

Another thought:

Perhaps limits are what allow us to become unlimited.

For example, when we perceive a certain limit in our strength, abilities, or life, we strive for “super-abundance”, or to overshoot our limits, which actually allows us to go beyond our limits.

For example in powerlifting, the primary joy is to test your stent and courage, and to ATTEMPT to go beyond your (perceived) limit.

Are there limits?

Tree split

One of the things I love are trees. Trees can theoretically grow unlimited.

Consider the redwood tree. It can grow to be hundreds of feet tall, and many have lived for thousands of years. Their roots burrow infinitely deep, and they also grow extremely thick.

Of course there are genetic limits to everything. A tree could not grow to the limits of outer space. There are genetic limits to human growth as well — a human cannot weight 100,000 pounds, nor could a human deadlift 100 tons.

Thus, biology and Mother Nature has put a limit to all life. The Earth might exist for 1 trillion years, but eventually the Earth must die. Our human lives can theoretically exist for maybe 140 years, but thus far the oldest recorded human has been around 122 years old. So there is obviously limits on human life. And perhaps this is what makes life fun—

Because of death, we must be highly selective on how to use our lives. We must not squander our human metabolism, as it is limited.

Limits to life are good.

Once again, our lives are limited.

Then to take it back to my server space, perhaps I should embrace this limit, and figure out clever ways to best maximize my limited space?

When is unlimited good?

The mind and human spirit is infinite. Perhaps with our artwork, we can defy limits.

This is where technology is interesting. With digital photography, I can theoretically make 100 billion photos. Of course there is an theoretical upper limit to the amount of photos I can make, but in practical terms, digital photography is unlimited.