Arithmetic Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 59 quotes )
That second man has his own way of looking at things; asks himself which debt must I pay first, the debt to the rich, or the debt to the poor? the debt of money, or the debt of thought to mankind, of genius to nature? For you, O broker! there is no other principle but arithmetic. For me, commerce is of trivial import; love, faith, truth of character, the aspiration of man, these are sacred; nor can I detach one duty, like you, from all other duties, and concentrate my forces mechanically on the payment of moneys. Let me live onward; you shall find that, though slower, the progress of my character will liquidate all these debts without injustice to higher claims. If a man should dedicate himself to the payment of notes, would not this be injustice? Does he owe no debt but money? And are all claims on him to be postponed to a landlord's or a banker's?
Whenever a state or an individual cited 'insufficient funds' as an excuse for neglecting this important thing or that, it was indicative of the extent to which reality had been distorted by the abstract lens of wealth. During periods of so-called economic depression, for example, societies suffered for want of all manner of essential goods, yet investigation almost invariably disclosed that there were plenty of goods available. Plenty of coal in the ground, corn in the fields, wool on the sheep. What was missing was not materials but an abstract unit of measurement called 'money.' It was akin to a starving woman with a sweet tooth lamenting that she couldn't bake a cake because she didn't have any ounces. She had butter, flour, eggs, milk, and sugar, she just didn't have any ounces, any pinches, any pints. The loony legacy of money was that the arithmetic by which things were measured had become more valuable than the things themselves.
I have been taking stock of my 50 years since I left Wichita in 1922 at the age of 15 to become a dancer with Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn. How I have existed fills me with horror. For I have failed in everything -- spelling, arithmetic, riding, tennis, golf; dancing, singing, acting; wife, mistress, whore, friend. Even cooking. And I do not excuse myself with the usual escape of 'not trying.' I tried with all my heart.
I don't approve of mixing ideologies," Ivanov continued. "There are only two conceptions of human ethics, and they are at opposite poles. One of them is Christian and humane, declares the individual to be sacrosanct, and asserts that the rules of arithmetic are not to be applied to human units. The other starts from the basic principle that a collective aim justifies all means, and not only allows, but demands, that the individual should in every way be subordinated and sacrificed to the community--which may dispose of it as an experimentation rabbit or a sacrificial lamb. The first conception could be called anti-vivisection morality, the second, vivisection morality. Humbugs and dilettantes have always tried to mix the two conceptions; in practice, it is impossible.
Wherever I'm going, I'll be there to apply the formula. I'll keep the secret intact. It's simple arithmetic. It's a story problem. If a new car built by my company leaves Chicago traveling west at 60 miles per hour, and the rear differential locks up, and the car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside, does my company initiate a recall? You take the population of vehicles in the field (A) and multiple it by the probable rate of failure (B), then multiply the result by the average cost of an out-of-court settlement (C). A times B times C equals X. This is what it will cost if we don't initiate a recall. If X is greater than the cost of a recall, we recall the cars and no one gets hurt. If X is less than the cost of a recall, then we don't recall.
Certainly, the terror of a deserted house swells in geometrical rather than arithmetical progression as houses multiply to form a city of stark desolation. The sight of such endless avenues of fishy-eyed vacancy and death, and the thought of such linked infinities of black, brooding compartments given over to cob-webs and memories and the conqueror worm, start up vestigial fears and aversions that not even the stoutest philosophy can disperse.
A trickle of blood came out under the door, crossed the living room, went out into the street, continued on in a straight line across the uneven terraces, went down steps and climbed over curbs, passed along the Street of the Turks, turned a corner to the right and another to the left, made a right angle at the Buenda house, went in under the closed door, crossed through the parlor, hugging the walls so as not to stain the rugs, went on to the other living room, made a wide curve to avoid the dining-room table, went along the porch with the begonias, and passed without being seen under Amaranta's chair as she gave an arithmetic lesson to Aureliano Jos, and went through the pantry and came out in the kitchen, where rsula was getting ready to crack thirty-six eggs to make bread."Holy Mother of God!" rsula shouted.
It's completely logical," explained the Dodecahedron. "The more you want, the less you get, and the less you get, the more you have. Simple arithmetic, that's all. Suppose you had something and added something to it. What would that make?"More," said Milo quickly."Quite correct," he nodded. "Now suppose you had something and added nothing to it. What would you have?"The same," he answered again, without much conviction. "Splendid," cried the Dodecahedron. "And suppose you had something and added less than nothing to it. What would you have then?"FAMINE!" roared the anguished Humbug, who suddenly realized that that was exactly what he'd eaten twenty-three bowls of.
In a library we are surrounded by many hundreds of dear friends, but they are imprisoned by an enchanter in these paper and leathern boxes; and though they know us, and have been waiting two, ten, or twenty centuries for us,—some of them,—and are eager to give us a sign and unbosom themselves, it is the law of their limbo that they must not speak until spoken to; and as the enchanter has dressed them, like battalions of infantry, in coat and jacket of one cut, by the thousand and ten thousand, your chance of hitting on the right one is to be computed by the arithmetical rule of Permutation and Combination,—not a choice out of three caskets, but out of half a million caskets, all alike.
Cards and boards, [Johnny] thought. And the dead. That's not dark forces. Making a fuss about cards and heavy metal and going on about Dungeons and Dragons stuff because it's got demon gods in it is like guarding to door when it is really coming up through the floorboards. Real dark forces... aren't dark. They're sort of gray, like Mr. Grimm. They take all the color out of life; they take a town like Blackbury and turn it into frightened streets and plastic signs and Bright New Futures and towers where no one wants to live and no one really does live. The dead seem more alive than us. And everyone becomes gray and turns into numbers and then, somewhere, someone starts to do arithmetic...
FEMALE VOICE: 'The truth is people are pushed around by two men who move all the bodies on earth into patterns that please them.' MALE VOICE: 'I love my mind when it is fucking the cracks of events.' MALE VOICE: 'What I give to all the people who do not want to live with me is arithmetic.' FEMALE VOICE: 'Everyday, I do nothing important because I am scared blank and lazy. But then the men come. I put my mouth on them. I spit and write with the wet.' MALE VOICE: 'I was not born live. This body grew but I did not feel cells split.
Our behavior is different. How often have you seen a headline like this?--TWO DIE ATTEMPTING RESCUE OF DROWNING CHILD. If a man gets lost in the mountains, hundreds will search and often two or three searchers are killed. But the next time somebody gets lost just as many volunteers turn out. Poor arithmetic, but very human. It runs through all our folklore, all human religions, all our literature--a racial conviction that when one human needs rescue, others should not count the price.
I cannot count the pebbles in the brook. Well hath He spoken: "Swear not by thy head. Thou knowest not the hairs," though He, we read, writes that wild number in His own strange book. I cannot count the sands or search the seas, death cometh, and I leave so much untrod. Grant my immortal aureole, O my God, and I will name the leaves upon the trees, In heaven I shall stand on gold and glass, still brooding earth's arithmetic to spell; or see the fading of the fires of hellere I have thanked my God for all the grass.
that man is a reality, mankind an abstraction; that men cannot be treated as units in operations of political arithmetic because they behave like the symbols for zero and the infinite, which dislocate all mathematical operations; that the end justifies the means only within very narrow limits; that ethics is not a function of social utility, and charity not a petty bourgeois sentiment but the gravitational force which keeps civilization in its orbit.
Sir Richard sighed. "Rid yourself of the notion that I cherish any villainous designs upon you person," he said. "I imagine I might well be your father. How old are you?"I am turned seventeen."Well, I am nearly thirty," said Sir Richard. Miss Creed worked this out. "You couldn't possibly be my father!"I am far too drunk to solve arithmetical problems. Let is suffice that I have not the slightest intention of making love to you.
I examined my Liberalism and found it like an addiction to roulette. Here, though the odds are plain, and the certainty of loss apparent to anyone with a knowledge of arithmetic, the addict, failing time and again, is convinced he yet is graced with the power to contravene natural laws. The roulette addict, when he invariably comes to grief, does not examine either the nature of roulette, or of his delusion, but retires to develop a new system, and to scheme for more funds.
Logic, n. The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding. The basic of logic is the syllogism, consisting of a major and a minor premise and a conclusion - thus: Major Premise: Sixty men can do a piece of work sixty times as quickly as one man. Minor Premise: One man can dig a post-hole in sixty seconds; Therefore-Conclusion: Sixty men can dig a post-hole in one second. This may be called syllogism arithmetical, in which, by combining logic and mathematics, we obtain a double certainty and are twice blessed.
We say to the confused, Know thyself, as if knowing yourself was not the fifth and most difficult of human arithmetical operations, we say to the apathetic, Where there's a will, there's a way, as if the brute realities of the world did not amuse themselves each day by turning that phrase on its head, we say to the indecisive, Begin at the beginning, as if beginning were the clearly visible point of a loosely wound thread and all we had to do was to keep pulling until we reached the other end, and as if, between the former and the latter, we had held in our hands a smooth, continuous thread with no knots to untie, no snarls to untangle, a complete impossibility in the life of a skein, or indeed, if we may be permitted one more stock phrase, in the skein of life.
Here is the essence of mankind's creative genius: not the edifices of civilization nor the bang-flash weapons which can end it, but the words which fertilize new concepts like spermatoza attacking an ovum. It might be argued that the Siamese-twin infants of word/idea are the only contribution the human species can, will, or should make to the reveling cosmos. (Yes, our DNA is unique, but so is a salamander's. Yes, we construct artifacts, but so have species ranging from beavers to the architecture ants... Yes, we weave real fabric things from the dreamstuff of mathematics, but the universe is hardwired with arithmetic. Scratch a circle and pi peeps out. Enter a new solar system and Tycho Brahe's formulae lie waiting under the black velvet cloak of space/time. But where has the universe hidden a word under its outer layer of biology, geometry, or insensate rock?)