The year is rolling right along Happy Pi Day once again!
This year is just another year of Pi approximated. 3.14.1592 has already passed and although I’m sure someone will make a big deal of the double-digit year version coming up of 3.14.15 the next fun one won’t be fore a while when a Pi moment 3.14.15 9.26.5359 occurs (H:M:S D:M:Y).
Do you think e ever gets jealous of pi? Nerds the world over get excited on March 14th but no one ever says much every February 7th. Maybe I should start a new trend.
We may brave human laws, but we cannot resist natural ones – jules verne
Anyway, I’ve argued in the past, Pi is like people and I do believe that still to be true. Let’s “scientifically” look at the evidence for a moment, shall we?
π is an irrational. People are irrational. Sure, the definition of “irrational” varies by usage in this case, but the actual parallel is there. Irrational numbers can not be fully expressed as a ratio and following that logic cannot be exactly determined (or reverse the logic, if you will, whatever is easier for you). No matter what statistical probability tells us about the approximation of social group dynamics as individuals we are irrational beings and our own behavior cannot be exactly determined. We can make estimations, we can evaluate endlessly but the definition only exists after the execution, not before.
Thus People are Pi.
π is transcendental. People are transcendental. Again, the definition of “transcendental” varies by use but can still be applicable here with some imagination (thus perhaps transcendentalism). Loosely speaking in mathematics this a not algebraic number. Algebraic numbers are computable and therefore definable, enumerable and linearly ordered. Humans are not linear in nature, we’re abstract and we seem to prefer a level of undefinability in our acceptance of say emotions, or the existence of god. Transcendentalism as a philosophy translates to climbing or going beyond. It is a point of reaching for the unknown which we can demonstrate is quite the opposite of the definable. One cannot absolutely define emotions as we all experience them with individuality despite perceived commonality. Similarly seeking an understanding of god (or no god) places human intellect outside of computable, definable logic making the emotional attachment to (or not to) a higher being transcendental and thus the opposite of algebraic.
Again, People are Pi.
The quizical nature of pi drives mathametitioins to define it, calculate it, reevaluate it and expand upon it since it’s first inception probably within archetecture. It has touched trigonometry and geometry, cosmology, number theory, statistics, fractals, thermodynamics, mechanics, acoustics, electromagnetism, oh and of course, popular culture.
Humans strive to do the same with themselves and the best of us constantly are looking at our own individual identity defining it, calculating it, reevaluating it and expanding upon it since the day in our youth when we first recognized it.
And, in that it’s the most important reason why people are like Pi. We cannot stagnate, we are constantly adding to ourselves in our life experiences gaining physical, psychological, intellectual, social and other traits in infinite ways beyond the scope of complete calculation despite a (very) large number of us who are not willing (or intelligent) enough to realize this. They may want to be a plain-jane algebriac interger but almost all real and complex numbers are transcendental and irrational, just like people.
But because people are each a unique example, pi is most like people.