Too Deep for Me

“Klara, do you want more milk?”

“Shh, mommy, I’m thinking.”

“What are you thinking about?”

“I’m thinking that zero is the first number but maybe it’s also the very last number. I need to think more about this.”

9 thoughts on “Too Deep for Me”

  1. OK, this is the age where you form your dissertation proposal, or your Ph.D. field. I know it. My question was whether thought preceded language or were informed by it. Right about exactly at her age.

    OT I have found a theorist you should know: Pnina Werbner. She has a good critique of these transnational hybrid subjects / their idealization. Lots written but here is one of her pieces. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/026327640602300291

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    1. That’s actually true. I was destined to be a literary critic from an early age. Her dad is a mathematician, her grandmother and aunt are, as well. There’s definitely a genetic predisposition towards this kind of stuff.

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  2. Oh man, I would actually love to know her reasoning behind this.

    My received view was that 1 is the ‘first’ number, since you can use it to compose any other number, but that never really sat well with me – conceptually, thinking of the world in term of 1s has you thinking in terms of total unity, which feels like bullshit, or composed entirely of entirely unique, non-comparable entities, which may be true but doesn’t feel like how mathematics works.

    For me, the first number is 2, since that’s a number that comes about from being able to conceptualize two entities as different but equivalent (which is super odd! – no two objects are actually completely identical, after all). It’s even more lovely because 2 is immediately conceptualized as 1+1… And while it may seem like the realm of mathematics is numbers or geometry or whatever else, but I’m pretty sure it’s mostly operations and shorthand, and 2 is both.

    This is a weird sort of thing to do, I guess, trying to think of numbers in terms of the worldview necessary to conceptualize them, but then what is there better to do?

    Which is why I’m super interested in what Klara was thinking about as she laid forth these considerations. You’re very lucky to have her around, Clarissa!

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    1. I have to look up again all the things about numbers and counting in this poet, César Vallejo. He is afraid of 2 because it leads to 3, and has a lot to say about 0 and 1 as preferable, yet still unpleasant. You’re giving me some ideas.

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