I read about the super-rich constantly building new yachts: massive, bigger than the Normandie. You need a new one, because your neighbour has a new one: bigger swimming pools, in-house submarines, helipads onboard. You need a new one with better features.
Biggerness and betterness are often conflated. How big? How good? Is magnitude always relative? Do we know when things begin to be large?
Big trouble is usually easy to find. But if one of the, say, top 100 wealthy feels suddenly poor as the neighbours increase, what does it say about the order of magnitude? Is smaller than the Normandie still big?
Anselm says God is that which nothing greater can be imagined. We’ll have to define ‘God’, ‘great’, and ‘thought’. Mathematics isn’t my world, but it seems to me the numbers involved must be either very large or very small. So small they become great?
Aquinas doesn’t buy this argument, because God is a mystery. What, then does magnitude say about the human condition? Comparison with those above (richer, smarter, happier) rather than those below (poorer, and so on) is natural, but unenlightening.John the Baptist understood magnitude. “He must increase; I must decrease,” he said.