Sunday, 4 December 2011

Numbers


Numbers. The entire world is a number. The entire universe, all infinity of it, it is all a number. Even as you read this, in words that try to approximate reality but fail, there are numbers describing you. There is a number for how fast you read this, a number for how long before you stop, a number that is your smile and a number that is your eyes. They are all numbers, and they are true.
 
Your reality is a number, and your imagination is a number. Even as you try to conceive an idea that cannot be expressed through the medium of numbers, you have failed, for numbers rule all, even your own mind.

The world is numbers. A number describes the length of your arm. It describes how long it’s been since you last had sex. There is a number for Obama’s popularity, for the area of the moon, for the whiteness of your teeth. Numbers are everything.

Ask Euler, not that he’s alive, but bring him back from the dead and then ask him, what is the most beautiful thing in the world? Ask Erdos, or Gauss, or Ramanujan. They will tell you the truth: that it is a number. Beauty is described by numbers, so is truth, so is sorrow and so is joy.

Music is numbers. Numbers describe sound; they express frequency, wavelength, velocity. But they also tell us beat, rhythm, melody and harmony. Lyrics are numbers, for words are numbers. Musical notation is merely numbers, and the sight we use to see it is numbers, and the hearing we use to listen to it is numbers too.

Consider, then. Words are numbers. Take agoraphobia, or decentralisation. Take geography, or creationism. They are all numbers, regardless of what they mean. They are numbers, and they refer to numbers. All else is semantics, and semantics is also numbers.

Numbers rule our world; it is they who are our gods. π determines our life spans, e decides our fates. i is the ruler of our mad right brain, and 1 is the expression of our logical left brain. They are all numbers. Gravity and light are numbers. Protons and electrons are not merely governed by numbers, which are ironclad and refuse to change. They are numbers, quantum and weird as all hell, which change all the time with a rhyme and a reason known only to them.

So too are the gods numbers. Brahma is ∞; the entire universe is created by him and from him. Shiva is 0, who destroys all that pass into him without a care. And Vishnu is Unity, 1, the preserver who does not change, but keeps the balance between the two who battle forever. And so they number three, no more, no less.

We are not in some tedious matrix world. Ours is too true and complex for that. The numbers that dictate this world do not just tell us likelihood and probabilities, they tell us our genes and our characters. Your unique being is a specific expression of a specific number in a specific fashion, without it you are nothing. And nothing is also a number. The entirety of numbers that describe the whole universe could sit comfortably in the gap between 0.0050 and 0.0051. It is a tiny abyss,  a universe in miniature.

Numbers are the world.

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