I've always been terribly fascinated with the unfathomable. Anything that can potentially be unfathomable, such as comprehending infinity or something darker, like peering into a pit of endless sorrow, has never failed to captivate me.
This is why H. P. Lovecraft's work, particularly the Cthulhu mythos franchise, continues to grip my mind. From Wikipedia: "Lovecraft's guiding literary principle was what he termed "cosmicism" or "cosmic horror", the idea that life is incomprehensible to human minds and that the universe is fundamentally alien. Those who genuinely reason, like his protagonists, gamble with sanity. ... Lovecraft's protagonists usually achieve the antithesis of traditional gnosis and mysticism by momentarily glimpsing the horror of ultimate reality and the abyss."
I think one aspect of my fixation with the unfathomable is that perhaps unfathomable things are not meant to be clearly understood by humans. So this raises curious questions, like what if a person did catch a glimpse of something unfathomable? Is it rosy, like what some people will consider to be divine, such as Truth? Or will it be that because we are not meant to fathom the unfathomable, its sheer power will destroy those who come within its range? Is the unfathomable the indication of the existence of a realm that we might come to describe as Infinite, Perfect, Ideal, Omnipotent, Pure or Godly?
Absolute power also falls into this train of consideration, as does notions of eternity and infinite regress.
I felt that Inception explored this notion to an extent when it broached the issue of death during a dream. The story asserts that people wake up when they die in a dream because it is a means of escape back to 'reality' (in inverted commas here because the movie deliberately leaves us questioning reality itself). But if the dreamer is unable to wake up and dies in the dream, he will remain in limbo and lose his mind.
To me, that sounds like what it possibly means to experience infinite torment and anguish in a short span of time. Is that what it does - derail the mind?
Is insanity also likenable to a computer hanging up? A computer (or program) can hang because it encounters a programming paradox. In one kind of paradox which is relevant to what I'm talking about, the computer encounters a circular (or catch-22) instruction in which the question and answer loops infinitely. For a silly example, I execute a function which asks the computer to create a list of emails if the executable file A.exe is open. However, what if there is a catch, or programming flaw, such that A.exe can open only if the email list is already created and thus needs to create the list of emails prior to the execution of the function? But, as can be logically seen, the creation of the email list requires file A.exe to be open. It's a silly example and I'm not sure if this is really a programming problem, but it's one I've thought of off the top of my head to illustrate the point.
The computer thus gets trapped in an endless loop of contingent requests that can never be fulfilled within the programming instruction.
What happens when a person's mind gets trapped in a loop like that? Given that there are many important things in life that are inherently paradoxical because humans are unable to reconcile them, does the attempt to genuinely reason and reconcile lead to Lovecraft's belief that sanity will be compromised? Does this suggest that perhaps sanity is a specific human trait that is meant (or simply happens) to keep us from actually perceiving what is absolutely and objectively true? Is God the ultimate paradox, which is why we can only reconcile it via faith and not science and reason?
Also, what happens when an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object? Is the question really moot, as many people often like to dismiss it since it is simply inconceivable? That precisely brings me back to the fact that this is an unfathomable idea, and I'm all the more fascinated by it.
As long as I feel like I'm not compromising on my sanity pursuing these mental obsessions, I guess I'll keep at it for a long while. And maybe only in death will I know the answer.