Math Koans

Darwin worm stone

OK, not quite koans, but worth some time if you are so inclined:

Where were the 1 million digits of pi that we have calculated (or for that matter the unending string of numbers that are embedded in pi) before we invented numbers?

Same koan:

Where was the unending number we label “e” that is it’s own differential and integral before we invented calculus?

Similar koan:

For both pi and e, where are all those unending digits now?

Similar koan:

How can there be a square root of -1 when any two negative numbers multiplied is a positive number? We call this number “i” and it is essential in the mathematics of quantum physics that is at the heart of all scientific thinking.

I can go on and on, but maybe you get the point.



3 thoughts on “Math Koans

    • Thanks again. You might look at some of the earlier posts about math, about symmetry, circles and waves. I cleaned a couple up (I clearly could use a copy editor sometimes!) and put them a one article on the Hazy Moon Zen Center website. Anyway, I find it kind of meditative too. I hope to allay the math phobia of some (I am not sure I am successful) because math is like music. You don’t have to be an expert to appreciate the beauty, but you do have to be receptive. Many are fooled into thinking of math as very concrete and automatic and don’t see the elegant poetics of it. Another way math is meditative: it isn’t about you and your delusions and your fears. You can surrender to it!

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