## Wednesday, August 29, 2012

### What is mathematics to animals?

In a playfully serious volume of verses by Eugene Ostashevsky we meet his alter ego, the "new philosopher" DJ Spinoza.  With the intelligence and bravery of the other philosopher-Spinoza (Baruch / Benedict, 1632 - 1677), Ostachevsky's Spinoza pokes a bit of fun at things that might be taken too seriously -- such as logic or mathematics or . . .

The Undecidability of DJ Spinoza     by Eugene Ostashevsky

The formula for the existence of DJ Spinoza
cannot be demonstrated within the bounds of this calculus.

Luckily, the formula for the non-existence of DJ Spinoza
cannot be demonstrated within this calculus either.

Whew! That was a close call,
thinks DJ Spinoza.

from Epithalamion            for Dario

The mathematician says to the auto mechanic:
"Aristotle in an uncharacteristic moment
Calls mathematics the study of beauty.
Of series divergent and convergent, only the convergent can
serve as the foundation of number.

from Act One  of  Infinite Recursor or the Bride of DJ Spinoza

The bride of DJ Spinoza
has an absolute cleavage
like that between natural numbers and Aleph-null

from P or not P

4.

What is mathematics to animals?  Is P or ~P true
for all animals? Does 1+1=2
for all animals?  Is there a me and you
for all animals?  What is

mathematics to animals?  What are animals
to mathematics?  Take away mathematics
and there are no animals.  Take away animals
and there is no mathematics.

The animals gather for a concert of mathematics.  We sail past them.
They are capable of love.  We sail past them.

from Alphabet for Tamar

A is for Axiom
that proved arbitrary.

B is for Binomial
whose terms never vary.

C is for Circumference
that goes around and around.

D is for Derivative
left to lie on the ground.
. . .

These stanzas have been selected from Eugene Ostashevsky's collection, The Life and Opinions of DJ Spinoza, with drawings by Eugene Timerman (Ugly Duckling Presse, Eastern European Poets Series #23, 2008)Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) was a lens grinder and a private scholar.  He was expelled from the Jewish community for his views.