News And Views
The Philosophy of Math
Timothy: Much to my surprise, I find that I like hummus. My doctor recently told me to stop eating like an NFL lineman and to start eating more like a quarterback. So, among other things, I “bagged” the potato chips.
Donna: Uh, I’m rolling my eyes here.
Timothy: Anyway, now I snack on a few pita chips dipped in red pepper hummus – when we have hummus, that is.
I tend to shop as if the store and its contents will no longer be there tomorrow. I believe God gave us basements to stock up on cases of paper products and canned goods in the event of a zombie apocalypse!
My wife, however, is an advocate of the just-in-time inventory system. I must admit that she is very good at implementing it. I can count on her walking into the house with a new pack of paper towels just as I am peeling off the remaining glued-on fragments from our last roll.
Sometimes the system fails, however, and the unthinkable occurs. We run out of mouth-wateringly delicious red pepper hummus. This usually results in my stating the abstract mathematical theorem: Two is one and one is none.
Granted, this theorem, implying that more is better, has more in common with philosophy than mathematics. However, mathematics may be one means God uses to communicate His philosophy to us. For instance, we are told in Genesis to be fruitful and multiply.
Donna: Uh, this isn’t another pun is it?
Timothy: No, just a happy coincidence! As I was saying, God used the mathematical operation of multiplication to tell us something. A man and a woman are to multiply themselves. There is something more here than just reproduction and child rearing. We are being given a clue as to the conditions of a healthy marriage.
We often hear people refer to their “better half” when speaking of a spouse. But, are men and women each just half of a whole?
Let’s do the math and “go forth and multiply”: ½ x ½ = ¼. Hmmm, it seems two halves result in less than what each started with. So, how do we end up with a whole marriage?
Let’s try that math thing again: 1 x 1 = 1. It takes two whole people to make one whole union. And if we observe the Multiplicative Identity Property to factor in the One who told us to multiply in the beginning: 1 God x 1 man x 1 woman = 1 Happy, Healthy, Holy Marriage.
Donna: Multiplicative . . . what? There won’t be any more math in this post, will there?
Timothy: No, I think I’ll stop there. I’m running out of fingers. Though like all good mathematical formulas and Divine teachings, this formula holds true in every case. Single people, married couples, everyone can find wholeness in their lives by understanding that each of us is called to be a whole creation. We are not partial people looking to be completed by another partial person.
We must be wholly formed by the Holy One so we can live out our vocations, no matter how many others factor into our lives. Of course, in the case of hummus, the more the merrier.
Donna: The grocery store is right down the road, Dear.