People are quick to tell you that money makes the world go round. While that may be true, there’s something even more important behind money and just about everything else you interact with on a daily basis…numbers. And we’re not talking about bank account numbers or phone numbers.
Here are eight tiny numbers that secretly rule the universe.
Pi, perhaps better known by its mark π, is that little bugger worshipped since antiquity and dreaded by Darren Aronofsky that makes for a perfect circle, pupil or nipple.
We actually have supercomputers locked in nothing short of an arms race—or, more specifically, a math race—to figure out what its last digits are, and guess what: It has been well over 2,000 years and we are still searching. The number has driven mathematicians mad for millennia in their futile attempt to square the circle, which was ultimately deemed impossible in 1882 due to pi being both irrational and transcendental. In other words, the number has more control over man than the other way around.
As demonstrated here.
So be warned… pi can and has driven people to do worse than take a power drill to their heads, and is probably the most dangerous number in the world that isn’t illegal.
Oh pi, why couldn’t you just equal 3?
In the religion of mathematics, your gods are your constants. Constants are simply realities: facts about how the universe ticks. One of them is called the natural logarithm, and the only way for it to answer your prayers is to memorize a little hymn called Euler’s number, aka, e.
The number e is like one of those programs from the Matrix sequels, only without the bad acting and latex fetishes. The number e’s job is to make sure everything that exists, both matter and space, has a frequency much like a bouncer making sure that everyone has ID. For example, you ever rub your finger around the rim a glass? That sound is its frequency.
Harry Potter in e.
If you don’t have a frequency, then you don’t exist. If you do, then it’s because e was kind enough to give you one. In short, don’t question e. Just follow its one rule: it equals 2.71828…
1.618 is an important number, arguably the most important number in the universe. Why? Because, for some crazy reason, 1 and 1.618 are the ones and zeros that God programmed the universe with. Had he instead used twos and zeroes, everything in existance would probably look a lot taller and thinner.
It is all due to two little somethings called the golden ratio and the Fibonacci sequence. Yes, they may sound like cheesy Italian techno-groups, but they are actually the sexy sisters of Φ, the number phi. You see, at some point in between their buggery, the Ancient Greeks were able to crack the code of a little pattern found throughout nature. In an astonishing coincidence, it turned out that we as humans are programmed to like it. You may have heard of it. It is called beauty.
So, what is this secret they uncovered? You should know, it is all around you: doors, windows, spiral-staircases, sunflower seeds, water when it goes down a drain. It is a series of increasing spirals where the space between each spiral is exactly 1.618-times the length of the space that preceded it. Yeah, we don’t understand what that means either, but it makes sense if you draw it.
However, ancient architecture is just scratching the surface of this little number’s power. If you study it long enough, you’ll start seeing the world like Neo. This “ratio” is found everywhere in the human body, nature, fashion, furniture, art, music and even economics. Even natural selection may be nothing more than a slave to its signature. In short, we are living in the Matrix, except everything is coded in spirals.
So, be happy with your small penis as long as it’s proportionate to your height. Just make sure that it’s circumcised.
Da Vinci’s biggest secret: he was Jewish.
If numbers were people, 1 would be God. It is the unit-length that all other numbers hinge on. It is essential for binary, which essentially encodes the entire universe in the form of “information”: 1s, and “different information”: 0s. However, 1 is important simply because we humans inhabit this galaxy, and we need “1″ to help keep our everyday lives in order. Without 1, there is chaos. As a result, man created 1.
6.626068 × 10-34
Planck’s constant: another one of those “constants” that mathematicians worship in fear. Apparently, “energy” (the E in Einstein’s E=mc2) runs on a measurable rate no different than your Ford’s shitty mileage. Energy in its smallest form is measured in “joules”, and Planck’s constant, 6.626068 × 10-34 joules per second is the absolute smallest amount of energy that can exist. The only thing that comes after it is no energy at all.
In short, Planck’s constant is like having an atom of energy: it is the smallest bit of energy there can be, and thus a building-block for all larger forms of energy. And since Planck’s constant is the closest we will ever come to understanding what the hell energy is, it will continue ruling our lives as long as energy is what the universe continues to run on.
The most important number that does not exist. It took thousands of years just to invent, and its absence was probably the only thing keeping the Romans from developing hydrogen bombs. Worship this number, because just about everything you have: your cellphone, your computer, your car; just about everything technical would not be possible without a number to designate ‘nothing.’
i is a tricky number because, well… technically, it does not exist. However, while zero is a very useful number for nothing, i is a number that mathematicians are kinda stuck with. This is because the entire realm of human thought requires imagination, such as debts, credits, and plenty of other stuff that hasn’t happened yet, but just might. i is the granddaddy of all these pesky possibilities, which is why i is the granddaddy of all imaginary numbers.
There is an entire realm of mathematics that humanity is simply too dumb to understand, which requires us to add bumpers to our mathematical bowling. i equaling the square root of -1 is perhaps the biggest bumper of all. All our math says that a negative square root can not exist because if you multiply two numbers together, positive or negative, the answer is always going to be positive. However, since lots of crazy mathematical concepts run on negative square-roots, such as electromagnetics, control theory, and quantum theory, mankind has kinda waved a white flag of surrender to this paradox. As a result, we have the number i: the square-root of -1. We know it doesn’t exist, but we choose to believe it does anyway because it is the number responsible for Zeus’ thunderbolts.
We have described many important numbers here: pi, e, 0, i, and 1. However, -1 is the number that rules them all not unlike the One Ring, or somehow even nerdier. This is because -1 is the only number that serves as sultan to an entire harem of the most important numbers we know of, as demonstrated in Euler’s identity:
What is Euler’s identity?
“Greatest… equation… ever.” – Physics World
“The gold standard for mathematical beauty.” – Dr. Euler’s Fabulous Formula
“The most famous formula in all mathematics.” – Constance Reid
“It is absolutely paradoxical; we cannot understand it, and we don’t know what it means, but we have proved it, and therefore we know it must be the truth.” – Prof. Benjamin Peirce, Harvard
“Like a Shakespearean sonnet that captures the very essence of love, or a painting that brings out the beauty of the human form that is far more than just skin deep, Euler’s equation reaches down into the very depths of existence.” – Prof. Keith Devlin, Stanford
“It appeals equally to the mystic, the scientist, the philosopher, the mathematician.” – Edward Kasner and James Newman
Respondents called it “the most profound mathematical statement ever written”; “uncanny and sublime”; “filled with cosmic beauty”; and “mind-blowing”. Another asked: “What could be more mystical than an imaginary number interacting with real numbers to produce nothing?” The equation contains nine basic concepts of mathematics — once and only once — in a single expression. These are: e (the base of natural logarithms); the exponent operation; π; plus (or minus, depending on how you write it); multiplication; imaginary numbers; equals; one; and zero. – “The greatest equations ever” by Robert P. Crease
In short, e^πi should not equal -1, but somehow it does. It relies on too many crazy characters, and each one of them as impossible to get along with as Axl Rose, yet -1 unites them in together, and they harmonize perfectly. It’s the number that proves that the impossible is possible.