Thinking today about ZERO -- zero tolerance, zero fear!
These findings take me back to the 1980's and "affirmative action" at Pennsylvania's Bloomsburg University (where I was a member of the Mathematics Department). The University had an Affirmative Action Officer who worked to help faculty and staff develop behaviors and policies that endeavored to end discrimination against women and minorities. One important test of the appropriateness of an activity was a "symmetry test" -- if a remark or act did not seem proper when the roles of two participants were reversed, then the original was probably something to avoid. In those days, my male colleagues needed to reconsider some of their behaviors and I needed to overcome my fear of speaking up.
The concept of zero as "something" that signifies "nothing" is an ever-thought-provoking one. In support of ZERO TOLERANCE -- with a goal of NOTHING, I offer the following poem, "The Zero," by Israel Har.
The Zero by Israel Har, translated from the Hebrew by Gabriel Levin
for Masha, in lasting love
When nothing remains
trace a small circle
that the place
won't stay empty. So
man's thought. Creator of the universe,
my little circle craving emptiness,
our fathers told us:
won't bat a lash
without your gaze falling on it—
creator of the universe
your song and singer are shut in the valley of dejection.
Levin's translation of Har's poem may be found in the collection Strange Attractors: Poems of Love and Mathematics (AK Peters/CRC Press, 2008) .