Try again, says Optionality!
Abstract: How valid
is the statement that 1 + 1 = 2? What if maths is
just another language like English, Spanish or
Chinese? Can maths claim any higher status than
any of the other languages? How valid is it to
teach maths as the cornerstone to decipher
natural laws or as an instrument to discover
A. Is Maths
just another Language?
Many will accept that 1
+ 1 = 2, without ever questioning this. But think
again! What if maths just another language?
Mathemathicans often claim that maths is more
than just another language. But one can argue
that maths is not even a separate language. One
can argue that maths is merely derived from
spoken language, at best a jargon for those who
specialize in a specific area. Let's look at how
One explanation is that
maths is a creation of accountants and teachers
who had to work within the limitations of the
physical dimensions of the blackboard. As they
wrote down their rhetoric on the blackboard they
quickly ran out of space. So, they started to use
abbreviations and symbols. Instead of "two
cows and another two cows taken together makes
four cows", they wrote: "2 cows + 2
cows = 4 cows". Further symbols, such as p, $, l, ! and W,
were introduced to describe other things that
would otherwise require lengthy and complex
sentences. Put such symbols together and one can
construct complex formulas. But does that make
maths any different from the jargon used by, say,
lawyers or doctors?
people often point at maths as the justification
of their scientific orientation, as the evidence
that there is "order in the Universe".
But if maths is nothing but a method to shorten
sentences, then it is nothing more than rhetoric.
The question is whether there is more logic
behind maths than there is substance behind
B. The Essence
numbers, as if all such manipulations are part of
one uniform, logical framework that makes up the
building blocks of reality. The logic of numbers
is linear and singular. The essence of maths is a
line with an infinite amount of points, each
point on this line having a different name and
each point positioned on this line at an equal
distance to their neighbours. Addition is moving
up on this line, while the opposite - subtraction
- is going down. The line may be imaginary, but
for scientifically oriented people, the logic
regarded as real. Central in the logic of
counting and in logic of adding and subtracting
numbers is the concept of zero, the absence of
anything as the balance of it all. The zero is
the perfect center of this line. The philosophy
of the zero is accepted like the gospel, it is
the holy truth of science.
Maths combines processes
such as counting, adding and multiplying into a
single system, as if all such processes are
manipulations of numbers that are all lined up
and named in a uniform way. Maths takes things
that are clearly separate things to start with,
and then unifies them in some magical way. It is
a trick, the great unifying trick. The worst part
is that maths has no philosophical scruples about
this. Maths simply presents this as the truth,
the one and only truth. Maths does not even
accept any alternative model of approaching
things. Order is what children are taught at
school, not as a choice, but as the truth.
C. How valid
Most languages are
modest regarding concepts such as truth. People
use words to describe something, in the hope that
what one person describes will roughly
approximate what somebody else imagines when
using the same words. As long as people have
roughly similar interpretations of the words they
are using, they can successfully communicate.
Language allows for a degree of flexibility - if
there are doubts about what one tries to say, one
uses other words, synonyms, further elaborations
and descriptions, etc, to clarify areas where
there may be confusion. In essence, language is
an instrument to allow people to communicate.
By contrast, maths
regards itself as an instrument to find
scientific truth. Maths insist on total agreement
regarding the meaning of its abbreviations and
symbols. Maths does not tolerate any alternative
interpretations. This is where maths and science
go hand in hand. Both claim to represent the
exclusive road to the truth. They back up their
claim by referring to nature - to reality as they
like to call it.
But nature clearly works
differently. In nature, one object, say A, may
relate to another object, say B. Similarly,
object B may relate to yet another object, say C.
But that does not imply that A therefore relates
to C. The relation between A and C is an indirect
one that is construed by people who resort to
mathematical logic. But in nature, such a
relationship does not exist.
In nature, if one
manipulates matter and subsequently does an
opposite manipulation, one does not get back to
the initial situation. Nature is dynamic, things
will have changed, no two situations are ever
identical. Nowhere in nature are units lined up
in identical dimensions, in a linear way that
starts with zero. Take a close look at any two
objects and there will be differences, no matter
how similar they looked at first glance. Nature
does not back up the validity of maths, in fact
nature indicates that maths is a system
fabricated by people who are out of step with
Moreover, the concept of
zero does not exist anywhere in nature. Nature
itself provides the very evidence against maths
as a system. Mathematicians envisage reality as a
framework where everything is in absolute
balance, where everything adds up to zero. Maths
is a static system with nothing at its center.
Indeed, maths is a system that has nothing in
common with nature. In reality, everything
changes all the time. Panta rei is what Heraclitus said in
ancient times with a wisdom that has yet to be
matched by modern scientists.
The problem with maths
is that it expresses the philosophy of
uniformity, of universal truth, of singularity,
etc. Some people may agree to use a symbol or
abbreviation to refer to a specific process. This
may be useful in whatever they are doing. But
what maths does is to elevate such an
abbreviation or symbol to a uniform system that
everyone has to use, as if it is the one and only
true reflection of universal reality. Of course,
this is nothing but dictatorship, which may seem
an easy way for the dictator to deal with
society, but which clearly is detrimental for all
involved, including that very dictator.
So, is it true that 1+1=2?
In earlier articles in Optionality Magazine, DonParagon
argues that maths is part of an ideology that enforces
one single truth in order to deny us freedom of choice.
DonParagon states that in nature, there are no numbers,
no fixed distances, no laws - the more one looks into reality,
science turns out to be a fraudulent philosophy! The article Vision of the Future goes beyond science and explains
why DonParagon instead believes in optionality.