Thinking In Numbers Quotes

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Thinking In Numbers: On Life, Love, Meaning, and Math Thinking In Numbers: On Life, Love, Meaning, and Math by Daniel Tammet
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Thinking In Numbers Quotes Showing 1-13 of 13
“A bell cannot tell time, but it can be moved in just such a way as to say twelve o’clock – similarly, a man cannot calculate infinite numbers, but he can be moved in just such a way as to say pi.”
Daniel Tammet, Thinking in Numbers: How Maths Illuminates Our Lives
“I thought of the infinitely many points that can divide the space between two human hearts.”
Daniel Tammet, Thinking In Numbers: On Life, Love, Meaning, and Math
“Things were changing; I was changing. All swelling limbs and sweating brain, suddenly I had more body than I knew what to do with. Arms and legs became the prey of low desktops and narrow corridors, were ambushed by sharp corners. Mr Baxter ignored my plight. Bodies were inimical to mathematics, or so we were led to believe. Bad hair, acrid breath, lumpy skin, all vanished for an hour every Tuesday and Thursday. Young minds in the buff soared into the sphere of pure reason. Pages turned to parallelograms; cities, circumferences; recipes, ratios. Shorn of our bearings, we groped our way around in this rarefied air.”
Daniel Tammet, Thinking in Numbers: How Maths Illuminates Our Lives
“like literary fiction, mathematical imagination entertains pure possibilities.”
Daniel Tammet, Thinking In Numbers: On Life, Love, Meaning, and Math
“What would it be like, a world without snow? I cannot imagine such a place. It would be like a world devoid of numbers. Every snowflake, unique as every number, tells us something about complexity. Perhaps that is why we will never tire of its wonder.”
Daniel Tammet, Thinking In Numbers: On Life, Love, Meaning, and Math
“We know next to nothing with any certainty about Pythagoras, except that he was not really called Pythagoras. The name by which he is known to us was probably a nickname bestowed by his followers. According to one source, it meant ‘He who spoke truth like an oracle’. Rather than entrust his mathematical and philosophical ideas to paper, Pythagoras is said to have expounded them before large crowds. The world’s most famous mathematician was also its first rhetorician.”
Daniel Tammet, Thinking in Numbers: How Maths Illuminates Our Lives
“One particular aspect of Siddhartha’s revelation of the outside world has always struck me. Quite possibly he lived his first thirty years without any knowledge of number. How must he have felt, then, to see crowds of people mingling in the streets? Before that day he would not have believed that so many people existed in all the world. And what wonder it must have been to discover flocks of birds, and piles of stones, leaves on trees and blades of grass! To suddenly realise that, his whole life long, he had been kept at arm’s length from multiplicity.”
Daniel Tammet, Thinking in Numbers: How Maths Illuminates Our Lives
“Clouds and buttercups exist in poetry, but they are there only because storms and flowers populate the world too.”
Daniel Tammet, Thinking In Numbers: On Life, Love, Meaning, and Math
tags: poetry
“Change appears to us mysterious because it is invisible. It is impossible to see a tree grow tall or a man grow old, except with the precarious imagination of hindsight. A tree is small, and later it is tall. A man is young, and later he is old. A people are at peace, and later they are at war. In each case, the intermediate states are at once infinitely many and infinitely complex, which is why they exceed our finite perceptions.”
Daniel Tammet, Thinking In Numbers: On Life, Love, Meaning, and Math
“Perhaps talk of counters turned the boy’s thoughts to his father’s glove shop. His father would have accounted for all his transactions using the tokens. They were hard and round and very thin, made of copper or brass. There were counters for one pair of gloves, and for two pairs, and three and four and five. But there was no counter for zero. No counters existed for all the sales that his father did not close.”
Daniel Tammet, Thinking in Numbers: How Maths Illuminates Our Lives
“[Tolstoy] denounced [many historians'] lamentable tendency to simplify. The experts stumble onto a battlefield, into a parliament or public square, and demand, "Where is he? Where is he?" "Where is who?" "The hero, of course! The leader, the creator, the great man!" And having found him, they promptly ignore all his peers and troops and advisors. They close their eyes and abstract their Napoleon from the mud and the smoke and the masses on either side, and marvel at how such a figure could possibly have prevailed in so many battles and commanded the destiny of an entire continent. "There was an eye to see in this man," wrote Thomas Carlyle about Napoleon in 1840, "a soul to dare and do. He rose naturally to be the King. All men saw that he was such."
But Tolstoy saw differently. "Kings are the slaves of history," he declared. "The unconscious swarmlike life of mankind uses every moment of a king's life as an instrument for its purposes." Kings and commanders and presidents did not interest Tolstoy. History, his history, looks elsewhere: it is the study of infinitely incremental, imperceptible change from one state of being (peace) to another (war).
The experts claimed that the decisions of exceptional men could explain all of history's great events. For the novelist, this belief was evidence of their failure to grasp the reality of an incremental change brought about by the multitude's infinitely small actions.”
Daniel Tammet, Thinking In Numbers: On Life, Love, Meaning, and Math
“I hate textbooks. I hate how they shoehorn even the most incongruous words – like 'cup' and 'bookcase,' or 'pencil' and 'ashtray' – onto the same page, and then call it 'vocabulary.' In a conversation, the language is always fluid, moving, and you have to move with it. You walk and talk and see where the words come from, and where they should go. It was in this way that I learned to count like a Viking.”
Daniel Tammet, Thinking In Numbers: On Life, Love, Meaning, and Math
“If a man receives thirteen coins, he will hanker after sixteen, and possessing them he considers life unbearable unless he now earns forty. Nature, it might be observed, imposes strict boundaries on a person's height and age span, so that in even the most extreme instances no one can rise or fall too far or too short from the rest, whereas no such boundary inhibits money.”
Daniel Tammet, Thinking In Numbers: On Life, Love, Meaning, and Math