Man Turns Complex Idea Into A Satisfying Binary Opposition
John Man, raconteur and equestrian, has pioneered a new theory that claims to revolutionise the very foundation of mathematics. He calls it the “General Theory.”
“The basic problem with numbers is that there’s so many of them,” he said while mounting his horse. “I only just get used to the idea of ‘nine’ and then BAM there’s a number with two digits to comprehend! It’s confusing.”
Man’s theory offers a much more simple and clear view of the world, dispensing with all numbers that aren’t four or nine.
“With just a four and a nine, I only have to deal with one number or the other, and that makes everything easier.”
Man is aware that his theory will be controversial and divisive, but he hopes that once standardised it will no longer be possible for anything to be divided, thus eliminating that problem for ever.
He explained the theory to us in more detail as he rode his horse around, smashing into every obstacle he could see. “Eventually, everything will look like a four or nine, and then I will always be right when I try to imagine what people mean when they refer to numbers. Did he say four thousand, five hundred and sixty-eight? Nope. it was just a nine again.”
We asked Man how his system would work, given the current existence and widespread use of numbers that aren’t four or nine. “Well, take the so-called “three”. It is quite close to four, so it is basically four. In my system it would be replaced by four. I mean, it’s obviously not nine, is it? Even a child can see that.”
Though his theory will render most mathematical operations meaningless and will prevent any further development in the field, Man is confident that the feeling of comfort and safety gained by the adoption of only two possible numbers will be far more satisfying than the chaos of trying to use endlessly different numbers. “Don’t get me wrong, I have tried forming satisfying generalisations within the current system but it’s just too difficult.”
Man was sadly unable to control his horse because he was too busy talking to us. He rapidly dismounted and let it run off in the same direction, probably forever.
“At the moment, it is still possible for people to say the wrong number,” he said. “I hate being wrong.”