lyef & thymes

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Aforementioned series on important Math

Sarah Gazaneo is an awesome person, and this series on important mathematical Theories is in no way a slight on her comment on how math never helped anyone.

In this, the first post of Mathematics, I thought we would start in INDIA with the advent of the Zero. Here is a clipping from an article about ZERO:

In Sanskrit (the scholarly language of the Hindus), the word for the zero is "sunya", meaning "void", and there is little doubt that the zero concept originated as the written symbol for the empty column of the abacus. The abacus had been used around the world since antiquity to provide a facile means of accumulating progressive products of multiplication by moving those products ever further leftward, column by column, as the operator filled the available bead spaces one by one and moved the excess over ten into the successive right-to-left-ward columns.

Number products in even tens (such as the number 20 or 30) leave the first right hand column empty (void). When expert abacus users had no abacus available to them, they could remember and visualize the operation of the abacus so clearly that all they needed to know was the content of each column in order to develop any multiplication or division.

They then invented symbols for the content of each column to replace drawing a picture of the number of beads. Having developed symbols to express the content of each column, they had to invent a symbol for the numberless content of the empty column -- that symbol came to be known to the Hindus as "sunya", and sunya later became "sifr" in Arabic; "cifra" in Roman; and finally "cipher" in English.

Why would this cipher be so important, you may ask? Well, try to solve this addition problem, will you:


Were you able to come up with the answer? It's pretty tough, in fact almost impossible to perform addition. Imagine multiplication without first converting it into Hindu-Arabic Numerals.


The answer is MMMDCCCV, or 3805

This is almost impossible for the human mind to do, in the system of Roman Numerals, represented by letters. Only the supremely academic elete could perform mathematical functions, and they liked it that way. The Roman socio-political atmosphere protected those in power, so it was advantageous to keep knowledge down. I am not making this up, the number Zero, perceived by Aristotle, distributed to the masses first in India by any merchant who owned an abacus (there were lots), was responsible for the advance of Eastern thought, Science, and progress. The idea of Zero, the numerical understanding of nothing, and the position on the Abacus column with no beads, changed the world, and made possible the advance of civilization as we know it.

In fact, this knowledge was long supressed. Imagine the power you would hold if ONLY YOU could perform mathematical functions in your town. Only you could tell the workers how much money they had earned that day, or how much things should cost.

Zero changed the world.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

In the loop?!?

I was discussing Reincarnation with a friend. Don't ask. And we got onto an interesting point. I have heard it said that there are more human beings alive today than have every lived before. I don't know for sure that this is so, but mathematically, if everyone born had two children, and that is how the world was populated, then the 7 billion people alive today equal more than the sum total of all people every before. This arguement doesn't work, for a number of reasons, not least among them the fact that this would mean that there had only been 32 generations of people.

But aside from that, I was making the arguement that if there were more people alive today than had ever lived before, then there wouldn't be enough previous lives to make up for today's people. I meant this as an arguement debunking the idea of Karma and Reincarnation, but he saw right through it. "No No No, that's not what it means at all. What it really means is that we're doing quite well." He said that even if this mathematical fact were true, it could be used as a defense of re-incarnation, proving that more and more lives were coming back as humans. I had no response.

Maybe you do? Help me out on this one, will ya?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Taking heed to the call "Come out a little deeper"

In relating, one to another, it is rare to attain relationships of depth. Some have no one in their lives who can speak into the deep places in their heart, psyche, fears, joys, etc. I have a lot of friends like these, and feel blessed for the glut of relationships I have in my life. But I know it isn't always easy to see into me. I am a somewhat reserved fellow who uses stories and well articulated thoughts and metaphors to generate the appearance of vulnerability. The thing about relating, one to another, is that it must be mutual. I have a lot of friends who can see into me, but only so many that I have taken the time and effort to look into them.

I guess that means that there is some selfishness left over in my way of doing friendship that is still self-seeking and concerned more with how I feel about things than I am about how those around me are doing.

If this is so, and if I recognize it, then there is no longer any excuse for carrying on this way. So what do I do to end this trend? Who are those people into whom I want to look? Whom is there in my life who needs a person like me to come along side them and actively seek out this level of relationship? I mean obviously one does not barge in to this type of thing, forcing relationship on one another. Instead there is an obviously connection, an attraction at a soul level, like two magnets, drawn together from the inside. Not like an attraction on a carnal level, like two dogs who want to sniff each other's butts, drawn only to sensual things.

Lately I have been noticing this type of concern, on my part, and on the part of my friends. Our relationships are beginning to go deeper than the surface, our conversations of greater and greater honesty and vulnerability. My friend Andrew and I, for example have recently found common ground in talking about the opposite sex, and have plumbed greater depths of ourselves by not limitting the conversation to the superficial, obvious things, instead hitting some of the deeper issues within ourselves. And that's only one example.

Another friend and I were discussing life, the universe, time, annointing, and I found within myself a deep concern for their state of being. I didn't know for sure, but I felt in my spirit maybe, that they were having a bit of a tough time continuing their upward ascent into the things of God.

I got this picture, and I sure hope they don't mind me sharing it here, of a deep sea diver rising from the ocean's floor toward the surface of the water. After rising a great distance the diver stopped at about 10 feet beneath the surface. I felt as though this was a moment in which the diver had to choose to keep looking up. To look down could be a distraction (gosh, I sure have come a long way) but all of that means nothing if the diver does not break the plane of the surface, persist for that last few feet.

I think this works in a Kingdom of God way, where it is no good to come most of the way, then become complacent, as in the Kingdom of God, one never runs out of new heights to attain to, if they keep their eyes upward. Imagine breaking the plane of the ocean, swimming in the natural all that way, reaching the surface, taking a deep breath of salt air, and then looking up into the clouds. Then the voice of God calls you higher still, saying, why not keep coming up? Come see what it's like on the other side of these clouds! Then you begin to rise even higher, even though it is imposisible on your own.

Maybe in a way the opposite metaphor is true, in that you must not stop at having your ankles covered, but must persist, even if the water feels cold, or the river is rushing a little faster than you are prepared for. Submerged, that's the place to be, all His. It's the place to be, and it's the thing to do. Even now, as I type I can hear Him calling me "Won't you be all mine? Come out a little deeper."

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Mommy...What's a hiatus?

So...without trying to, I have missed the entire month of April, as regards the Blogosphere. I didn't decide to forego writing, or anything, I simply never got around to it. As such, I would just like to welcome Spring, and May, and announce my intention to write again with a new vigour. So keep watching for more high quality blogging, coming soon!