Advent of “House” Numbers

The oral world of early numeracy was rather like number theory, where numbers can be observed as being related to the geometries of square, triangle and hexagon. The Islamic world of the Sufis appears to have continued this form of numeracy.

A recent book about possible Platonic numeracy in the Quran, Plato and the Quran, suggests the numbers 3 to 9 were stated as a puzzle inviting both the addition and multiplication for seven consecutive numbers, to generate two significant numbers, 33 and 20160, where 33 reminds us of the solar hero period of 33 years and 20160 is twice 10080, the diameter of the equal perimeter model of the Earth and the Moon.

Many centuries later, an early poem of Sufi master Ahmad Yasavi, in present day Khazakhstan, expressed a similar additive formula; that one should add the numbers 4 to 8 together and, when done, this generates the number 22. Twenty two was important in the ancient world and was seen to form the geometry of the equal perimeter square side 11 and circle diameter 14, which, can represent the relative sizes of the Earth and Moon. The geometry is a manifestation of a useful approximation to pi, as 22/7 = 3 + 1/7 or 3.142857, instead of the transcendent number 3.14159 … .

If one looks at the sequence, there are four numbers starting with four and so part of 22 is here 4 x 4 = 16, a square number. In addition there are the added ones of enumeration.: 4 + 1 = 5 + 1 = 6 + 1 = 7. These add up to 1 + 2 +3 = 6, a triangular number which one famously sees in the Tetractys of 1 + 2 + 3 + 4, then usually expanding downwards from 1, and this then adding to 6 + 4 = 10.

The lesser triangle of 6 can sit on top of the square of 16 to equal 22 while looking like a house roof for the square. The whole structure is seven units tall and I am looking at calling this a house number, but perhaps it is known somewhere in the literature – please let me know.

  1. The first house number must be 5, a single 1 above 4 = 2 x 2.
  2. The second house must be 12, a triangle of 3 above 9 = 3 x 3.
  3. The fourth is 22.
  4. The fifth is 35, a triangle of 10 above the square of 25 = 5 x 5.
  5. The sixth is 51 , a triangle of 15 above the square of 36 = 6 x 6.

In each case, the triangle’s bottom row can be seen to share the top row of the house’s square and the triangular roof is most simply equilateral.

I wish happy celebration to my worldwide visitors, between the solstice and new calendar year; inviting you to see this “house number” as a “room” with a celestial “roof”.

Introduction to my book Harmonic Origins of the World

Over the last seven thousand years, hunter-gathering humans have been transformed into the “modern” norms of citizens (city dwellers) through a series of metamorphoses during which the intellect developed ever-larger descriptions of the world. Past civilizations and even some tribal groups have left wonders in their wake, a result of uncanny skills – mental and physical – which, being hard to repeat today, cannot be considered primitive. Buildings such as Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid of Giza are felt anomalous, because of the mathematics implied by their construction. Our notational mathematics only arose much later and so, a different maths must have preceded ours.

We have also inherited texts from ancient times. Spoken language evolved before there was any writing with which to create texts. Writing developed in three main ways: (1) Pictographic writing evolved into hieroglyphs, like those of Egyptian texts, carved on stone or inked onto papyrus, (2) the Sumerians used cross-hatched lines on clay tablets, to make symbols representing the syllables within speech. Cuneiform allowed the many languages of the ancient Near East to be recorded, since all spoken language is made of syllables, (3) the Phoenicians developed the alphabet, which was perfected in Iron Age Greece through identifying more phonemes, including the vowels. The Greek language enabled individual writers to think new thoughts through writing down their ideas; a new habit that competed with information passed down through the oral tradition. Ironically though, writing down oral stories allowed their survival, as the oral tradition became more-or-less extinct. And surviving oral texts give otherwise missing insights into the intellectual life behind prehistoric monuments.

Continue reading “Introduction to my book Harmonic Origins of the World”