Saturday, May 2, 2009


I was reading some stuff on Blaise Pascal and John Locke this morning. It shot me in quite a lovely trajectory. Here we go.

Who came up with the idea that 2+2=4? Not you. Definitely not me. I'm going to roll the dice here. It probably wasn't Descartes. What about Euclid? Pythagoras? The ancient Egyptians? The point is that 2+2=4 is true outside of us. It is an external reality from you and me. There are branches of philosophy that would wrangle with what I mean, but the broad point is simple: Math is not of human manufacturing. It's existence was here before you and will be here after you. This, of course, leads to

In first grade you learn to count to 100. Maybe around third grade you learn to count to 1,000. This guy knows 22,000 decimal points of Pi [3.14]. You know, the unending number that can't be a real fraction. He said them on Pi Day a couple years ago. C'mon... For real... Pi Day? Yep. It's March 14. Get it? Anywho. Those 22,000 decimal points are not even getting him warmed up to the eternality of Pi. He hasn't even started to break a sweat. He's not even in the arithmetic on-deck circle. Numbers have no end. That is the nature, beauty, and confusion about math.

Numbers call out to you for a relationship. Meaning, if you don't know numbers, how will you pay bills? How will you grocery shop? How will you sustain a job? You have to relate to math to make life happen. It even tells us the time of day, which in turn, organizes our whole schedule. And strangely enough, the more we give our self to precision in our dealings with numbers, the higher chance there is that we will be better a this thing called life.

Now that last sentence is almost ridiculous, but you get the point. The most important thing in all this is that math can't relate to you, but only you to it. It has no emotions, feelings, sentiments, or relational capacities.

But what if there was an external from us, eternally incomprehensible, and relational "thing" with which we could be involved? That would sure change how I went about life. It would even make all this numbers talk make more sense.

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