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ZERZAN, John. "Number: Its Origin and Evolution"

"Number, like language, is always saying what it cannot say."

Article published on 19 July 2005
last modification on 27 April 2015

by r-c.
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The wrenching and demoralizing character of the crisis we find ourselves in, above all, the growing emptiness of spirit and arificiality of matter, lead us more and to question the most commonplace of "givens." Time and language begin to arouse suspicions; number, too, no longer seems "neutral." The glare of alienation in technological civilization is too painfully bright to hide its essence now, and mathematics is the schema of technology.

It is also the language of science—how deep we must go, how far back to reveal the "reason" for damaged life? The tangled skein of unnecessary suffering, the strands of domination, are unavoidably being unreeled, by the pressure of an unrelenting present.

When we ask, to what sorts of questions is the answer a number, and try to focus on the meaning or the reasons for the emergence of the quantitative, we are once again looking at a decisive moment of our estrangement from natural being.


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