Imaginary friends, imaginary foes

In Current reading, Drafts, Hautvoir, Music, Sanford Meisner, The Art of Peace on November 16, 2013 at 7:42 am

Zero, for instance. Zilch. Nothing. Down to the ground, as Joan Armatrading sang back in the seventies. A nobody. Thrown over, etc.

Zero, in another instance. A placeholder. Five-oh-three. Not the same as five plus three. An empty space to  mark the spot where something else could step in – a one or a two or a one two three four.

Zero, yet again. A symbol. In the seventh century, an Indian mathematician considered division by zero  to be a symbol of the Infinite.

I’m still reading Simon Singh on Fermat’s Final Theorem, as should be evident from the above. More to the point on this blog: a quiet young boy reads the book over my shoulder – or I, over his. The boy is imaginary, just as the zero is. Don’t leave home without one. Not everything can get said or computed with real numbers; you can’t even get by with the addition of their negative counterparts. Some equations require the use of imaginary numbers.

Don’t leave home without those, either.


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