Underlinings (#52)

Florian Cramer:

The Pythagorean project consists of the extraction and application of a universal numerical code that organizes both nature and art. This code allows the creation of a correspondence between macrocosm and microcosm and describes harmony, in the sense of beautiful numerical proportions, as the guiding principle of the world. And for the first time, it allows the computation of nature and art. Any natural and symbolic system can be broken up into numerical proportions and values which in turn may be compared to the numerical proportions and values of another observed system. It is this principle of universal similarity and correspondence which Eco calls the “hermetic paradigm” and sums it up under the maxim “sicut superius sic inferius,” “as above, so below” to describe a correspondence of macro- and microcosm. In Pythagorean and later hermetic thinking, numerical proportions can be universally equated to geometrical proportions and musical intervals. Letters, likewise, can be computed as numbers and set into relation to the numerical intervals which are thought to be the foundations of the cosmos. Pythagorean thought therefore first coined and systematically expressed the idea that a symbolic-mathematical source code underlies the universe and describes nature and culture alike.


Zero Stroke

Hyperinflation on the brain, in Weimar Germany:

There was no way to keep up with the rising cost of living, but people were forced to try. That meant that they had to multiply millions to pay for the basics of a meal. It meant that, even when they weren’t actively calculating, they had to plan – figuring out the value of what they had, and extrapolating what it would buy them tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. This frantic mental activity that never ended left many people with a condition called “zero stroke.” […] Sufferers of “zero stroke,” dreamt of calculating numbers. When they were awake they would constantly write strings of zeros, or strings of numbers, or try to make complex calculations. The inflation made it into their head and they couldn’t stop thinking in large numbers, telling people that they had millions of children or were billions of years old. Mentally, they were trying to work their way out of a tough situation with obsessive calculation …