Cultural References Other Explanations MBT B1S2C33
Too Big for One's Britches!
"You're getting too big for your britches, young man!" is a phrase that the concept comes from. Something that an elder might say to a child, referring to a boy child or literally to a young man as a way to emphasized this age differential and position of relative moral superiority, who is making too much of himself as bragging or overspending or otherwise going to excess and likely to experience a 'come down' or fall, a relative disaster of some kind. Here is a link to a web site that often has good explanations of this kind of thing for your future reference.  Note that britches is a later version, more American, of breeches as in pants. As they say on that site, it basically comes down to being conceited, having too high an opinion of oneself. In English, this phrase is saying that Infinity is a concept of something that is over stated by using the term Infinity. It makes something which is unreal, a mathematical infinite value, out of something that is real and therefore cannot be Infinite. Infinity is 'over blown' as a right term for what is being referred to as Infinity. To call something real which is actually just very, very large as being Infinity is an over statement, a conceit, a 'puffing up' to too large a proportion. Tom makes it into a 'folksy' term as in a term used by 'common folk' rather than using more words to state a philosophical concept.
That does not mean that Infinity is not a word commonly used for concepts like this as a metaphor. Tom is just pointing out that it is unrealistic to state Infinity, a mathematical concept and an impossibility, for describing something that is "real". He emphasizes that what he is discussing is to be understood as perfectly real, and not any kind of conception from past thinking that would refer perhaps to God as the Infinite as perhaps infinite love or infinite power. As a physicist, Tom does not deal in Infinity but in real things, a way to describe the ultimate basis of reality which he wishes to emphasize is very real and not at all just a metaphor although we can with words, only refer to it metaphorically.
You have been introduced here to a lot of other metaphors in trying to explain this original 'mixed metaphor' of the title that you are translating. But that is what language comes down to, words as metaphors for complete concepts and thus how to string the right words together to put across the same concept as Tom's phrase into a particular language. If you can piece all this together within your mind, it should point you to how to translate this into your chosen language in terms of giving the right concepts with some 'feel' of the original. There is however no way to tell you exactly how to do this other than to be knowledgeable in both that language and in MBT 'speak'.
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