Take my identity . . . please! by Guy Yasko

— Let me tell you about e. Now, all the other numbers say e is lucky;
they admire her natural-yet-transcendental qualities. But she herself
will tell you that having been raised by i and π, she can be a negative
one. She thinks “hey, when i was in a relationship with some one with a
multiplicative identity, it all ended in a big zero.”

— It’s like a Niagara attraction. You take a koan, something that should
be approached circumspectly, meditated upon and turn it into a dumb
joke. Euler’s identity is a thing of beauty. Why should those numbers
relate, and relate so elegantly? And yet they do: e + 1 = 0.

— That is the dominant aesthetic, yes. Numbers are the servants of the
state apparatus, the lackeys of engineers and of capital. And what is
not bourgeois banality is sublime genius, utterly apart from the
workaday world, the product of an intellectual asceticism. It’s a kind
of piety. I want laughs. I want drama, mud-wrestling, eating
contests…

— If i can’t enjoy Euler’s identity, i don’t want a part in your
mathematics.

— Who’s not enjoying it? I am. Just in a different way.

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7 Comments

Filed under Guy Yasko

7 responses to “Take my identity . . . please! by Guy Yasko

  1. Brilliant! Loved how you took the equation and transformed it into ‘sublime genius’. Peace…

  2. Kelly Grotke

    very funny, even if a touch of sadness might, just might, enter in as the equation is resolved, hehe

  3. guy

    I’m not sure what to make of it, Kelly, but it’s interesting that our pieces this week take inspiration from Voltaire & Euler. Voltaire is said to have driven Euler out of the court of Frederick the Great.

    Many mathematicians do consider Euler’s Identity to be a thing of great beauty, the greatest formula in mathematics, and so on. I remember being amazed at the seemingly fortuitous and mystical connection between the numbers.

    • Kelly Grotke

      yes, that is funny – well, my sympathies are with Euler, since it is a nice formula and who cares if he was not so adept a conversationalist? I’m curious now – there’s a recent biography of Euler that I’ll probably pick up soon. Thanks for the happy convergence!

  4. Interesting, but I think it’s a bit above my head… :)

  5. stephen

    this is funny. i like the piece alot. even the emma goldman paraphrase. well played.

  6. Pingback: Week #18 – Lucky Number « 52|250 A Year of Flash

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