Copyright © SSJ 1981
Author’s Note: Writing in Numbers and Equations
The above numbered sections are excerpted from the short story ‘Pages’ which I wrote in 1980. It was first published in the FOCUS Philippines Magazine issue of 17 January 1981 and got included in an anthology of short stories in 2008. ‘Pages’ is a fictional diary of sorts, presented in numbered pages, and mixing traditional literary writing with numerical and mathematical formulations.
It is now the year 2016, almost 2017, and I am still at pains typing in these mathematical equations into a hi-tech hypermedia page such as WordPress (thus the use of the images instead of the usual HTML texts to present three pages of the short story here), just as it was a pain to get the mathematical writing into the pages of a manuscript by means of the typewriter back in the 1980’s. Considering that this is actually a task that could be handily done in longhand by any writer writing on mathematical and scientific equations since way back centuries, one would think that by now, it would be second nature for our familiar keyboard and word processing applications to enable us to also conveniently key in mathematical language alongside the grammatical language, whenever desired or required.
But such is not the case presently. While there are indeed already computerized tools to type and edit math equations, and set them into printable documents, they are niche tools meant only for the purposeful professional, academic and/or scientist, requiring a higher degree of understanding of the math and sciences behind the notations, symbols and representations of the math language to properly operate the tools.
Most of us will regard this deficiency as trivial, since we are anyway used to separating the mathematics of the physical and natural sciences from the humanities of literature and philosophy, and are therefore wont to accept that we need only delve in either one or the other at one time or another, but not too engaged in both at the same time. Most of the time, we find comfort zones staying only in one or the other, with minimal excursions outside of these comfort zones. And in the case of the majority of literary writers, we keep mostly to the humanities, and do not make demands to get more comfortable with the math and sciences, nor exert extraordinary effort to bring the two together into a heightened harmony.
Considering that mathematical formulations are statements of the theories and realities of wide aspects of our universe from the sub-micro to the mega-macro, the language of mathematics, just like any natural language, can expressly reveal, validate or dispel notions of the world around us. Perhaps more authoritatively than the natural languages. We are therefore missing out on a more wholistic appreciation of our experiences when we remain content within the familiar worlds of literary language and neglect the equally absorbing worlds of a mathematical language that articulates the rules by which the universe works.
– Sand Stars Journal, 11 Nov. 2016. All rights reserved.
WordPress Discover Challenge: Numbers