In my question Are infinitesimals equal to zero? I think I learned how infinitesimals in non-standard analysis are numbers whose absolute value is smaller than any positive real number, and hence most of them are not real numbers themselves. I say most because, as an integer and thus a real number, zero is smaller than any positive real number and it can therefore be considered an infinitesimal, although not exactly equal to other infinitesimals because adding it to itself always yields itself, whereas adding non-zero infinitesimals to themselves appears to yield results that are not equal to the values being added.
If I am not mistaken, infinitesimals seem to be the reciprocal notion of infinity when thinking of the latter as a number whose absolute value is greater than any positive real number, hence not real itself. If I divide one by any real number, the result I get becomes smaller and smaller as I choose larger and larger dividers; I think it then follows that if I divide one by a number greater than any positive real value, what I get is a result smaller than any positive real number. That is why it seems to me that infinitesimals and infinities are complementary notions at both "ends" of the positive or negative real lines. Although I may be mistaken.
But if I have understood the subject correctly, then my question is regarding the number of times I would be able to fit an infinitesimally long line segment (one with a length shorter than any other expressed with a positive real number) inside another line segment one unit long. From my previous paragraph I think that if I could divide one by an infinitely small number, I would get an infinitely large result, suggesting that I would be able to fit an arbitrarily large number of infinitesimally long line segments inside a unit length; a number greater than any positive real number. Would that be correct? And if not, why not?
And assuming that the reasoning so far is valid, then I am intrigued by the seemingly special case of zero, which itself appears to be smaller than any positive infinitesimal (in other words, every positive infinitesimal except for zero appears to be greater than zero). I think I can see how, if I add zero-length "segments" to a "growing" line, I can add as many as I want before reaching one unit of length because I will never be any closer to one than I was to begin with; I will never reach one unit of length.
That seems to be in contrast to non-zero infinitesimals, which may also take an infinite number of additions but at least they seem to arrive to the unit length. Even though both procedures (dividing one by zero and dividing it by a number smaller than any real number but greater than zero) appear to yield an infinitely large result, one seems more infinite than the other, if that makes sense. When I add non-zero infinitesimals, it may take me an infinite number of steps to produce some change, but when I add zero I get no change at all even after an infinite number of iterations. Is that true? Is that a difference between zero and other infinitesimals?
EDIT: It has been pointed out how division by zero cannot be performed in the set of hyperreals just like it cannot in the set of real numbers and, while the subject might deserve a new question, I have indeed attempted to divide 1/0 in my original question so I will add an edit here.
I know next to nothing about hyperreals, but I think I can see why dividing by zero would yield an indeterminate result when I consider the division operation, in the context of natural numbers, as counting the number of times I can successively subtract one number from another while obtaining a remainder that is greater than or equal to zero. For example, from the starting number of 12, I can subtract 1 twelve times leaving no remainder (12 / 1 = 12), I can subtract 2 six times (12 / 2 = 6), 3 four times (12 / 3 = 4), 4 three times (12 / 4 = 3), 5 twice leaving a remainder of two and so on. How many times can I subtract 0 from 12 before yielding a remainder smaller than zero? As many as I want, because subtracting zero from a number does not change the number. So I can see how the question cannot be answered with any specific natural number. Even after a billion times I could still go on subtracting zero for as long as I lived.
It is not difficult for me to extend the idea to all integers, to rational numbers and even to real numbers if I don't mind getting approximate values from my subtractions (I don't know exactly how many times I can subtract π from 100 because I don't know what is the exact value for π). But when it comes to hyperreals, I am not sure if I can use the same logic because I don't know the properties of hyperreal numbers. Many people suggest that I must extend the notion of real numbers to hyperreals, but they never describe how that extension occurs. For example, I understand how I can extend the set of real numbers to the set of complex numbers by adding to each one a multiple of the square root of -1, and then keeping in mind that addition of terms, as well as the fact that the square root of -1 times itself is -1, when I perform operations between complex numbers. I am sure there are many other implications about complex numbers, but the point here is that at least I understand how to subtract A - B when A and B are complex numbers.
However, in hyperreals? If A is a positive real number and B a positive infinitesimal quantity, is A - B < A? I suspect it would but, by how much?
I guess my question could be reprhased as "How many times can I subtract an infinitesimal from the real number 1 before arriving to a remainder of 0?"