05 March, 2013

Closer to God?

Marcus du Sautoy in Chartres Cathedral
Marcus du Sautoy - The Code

It just had to happen!

Picture mathematics professor Marcus du Sautoy staring up in wonder at the soaring structures of Chartres Cathedral, while extolling the ethereal wonders of Number in its design and construction.

He does it, of course, to reveal the essence of The Code (his version of the determining World of Pure Form alone, usually called Mathematics). For, his standpoint has the World bowing to such majestic Form as the Cause of All Things. And, clearly, such a position makes him an idealist, and most certainly no kind of scientist, and hence is related, at least philosophically, to The Designer and Cause of All Things” as also celebrated in that towering edifice at Chartres.

His theme in this episode of his series - The Code, was Number, and he delivered a veritable aria on the wealth of content hidden in this deceptively simple category.

Except that many of his examples were not in that category at all. For he dallied (with positive delight) over the wonders of i ,“the square root of –1”, and showed its many uses. But i certainly is not a number at all, but an Operator.

In its most basic form it is the spatial operator “Turn anticlockwise through 90 degrees”. Yet, he blithely defines i followed by i as i squared , which means “Turn anticlockwise through 180 degrees”, (or alternatively “Turn into its opposite” – the operator –1 ). His lyric to the virtues of Number is full if such ambiguous poetry, and yet he wants us too to worship this man-made set of abstractions which deals only in Pure Form and absolutely nothing else!

No Thanks!

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