Numbers Quotes

Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Categories: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Do you know what the foundation of mathematics is?" I ask. "The foundation of mathematics is numbers. If anyone asked me what makes me truly happy, I would say: numbers. Snow and ice and numbers. And do you know why?" He splits the claws with a nutcracker and pulls out the meat with curved tweezers. "Because the number system is like human life. First you have the natural numbers. The ones that are whole and positive. The numbers of a small child. But human consciousness expands. The child discovers a sense of longing, and do you know what the mathematical expression is for longing?" He adds cream and several drops of orange juice to the soup. "The negative numbers. The formalization of the feeling that you are missing something. And human consciousness expands and grows even more, and the child discovers the in between spaces. Between stones, between pieces of moss on the stones, between people. And between numbers. And do you know what that leads to? It leads to fractions. Whole numbers plus fractions produce rational numbers. And human consciousness doesn't stop there. It wants to go beyond reason. It adds an operation as absurd as the extraction of roots. And produces irrational numbers." He warms French bread in the oven and fills the pepper mill. "It's a form of madness.' Because the irrational numbers are infinite. They can't be written down. They force human consciousness out beyond the limits. And by adding irrational numbers to rational numbers, you get real numbers.

Peter He¸eg