| [Freeing the Mind][Self Development Contents]
Ken Ward's Astrology Pages
Astrology: the Origin of Numbers.
|Mathematics is a way of thinking and not a science. It is
based upon assumptions or axioms (self evident truths) and proceeds using logic.
The great unsolved mystery is how mathematics works because it originates in the mind rather than in empirical world. The deeper mystery is why logic works, even though it is similarly a thing of the mind rather than of pragmatics.
One mystery is the origin of numbers and how they come about. Animals seem to be limited in how they can use numbers. For example, it is said of birds, that they can count up to three, but no beyond. More than three is "many" or a "group". Therefore, a group of four hunters might approach a bird's nest. One hides and the others leave. The bird sees a "group" arrive and a "group" leave, so it returns to its nest to be shot by the fourth man.
Primitive people are similarly limited in their use of numbers and it is only with the growth of civilisation that our power with numbers increases.
The point is that to some degree numbers exist throughout the animal kingdom, but from where do they originate?
Von Neumann, the mathematical genius and protege proposed a theory of numbers in 1923. The consideration of emptiness results in the appearance of the empty set, which contains one member "emptiness". We therefore have the number one, and "emptiness". This makes two items. By having two items, we immediately create the idea of three items - "emptiness", one and two. In turn, this gives the idea of four - "emptiness", "one", "two", and "three". In this way all the numbers are generated from the conception of emptiness.
One property of numbers is that for every number, there is a greater number. The above paragraph shows that for every conception of a number, say "one", there is immediately the conception of a greater number, for example, "two".
In this way, through the conception of "nothing", the whole raft of everything appears like a big bang, producing infinity.
Infinity is a number that is greater than any other number. For a bird, infinity is greater than 3, but for human mathematicians, who can in principle conceive of any number, the process of number generation always creates another greater number. So for human mathematicians, infinity cannot be stated as a number, but it probably can be so stated for birds, other animals, and primitive societies.
The above stuff contains some interesting ideas which teach us not only about numbers but also about the origin of consciousness, the universe, and all that J