Math, Socialism

Why Math Can Save Me From Having Babies

I liked how math was always a discovery and never an invention. I preferred when people say that Newton “discovered” Calculus as opposed to Newton “inventing” the mathematical system. Discovery implies that this system of numbers and operations was inherently true in our world, but had not yet been found until Newton started drawing graphs. Mathematicians were talked about like explorers – they were Magellans of the mind – and that seemed cool.

That’s what I wanted to do.

I wanted to be an old timey explorer with a couple brass’n’glass instruments that helped me draw maps of the new islands I discovered filled with animals and plants that I discovered, but the more school I went to, the more I felt like everything on the globe had been discovered. Our world was finite – even if we hadn’t discovered every island or every canyon or every tributary, soon we would. But in Math! In math the exploration was unending – numbers were infinite. They were the first thing that was ever infinite. But to me it wasn’t just numbers. It wasn’t just adding, subtracting, and super-exponenting. To me it was about ideas. Mathematicians were explorers discovering new ideas and then sharing them with the world. They found how numbers worked and then they told everybody without patenting or protecting because these ideas could be used bye everybody to further new ideas.

This is where my issue with intellectual property comes in.,. As a struggling, starving, strangely shaped artist, I obviously believe that I should be paid for what I do, and more importantly have a say in how my art is presented because, after all, it’s MY art. But the idea of art is that it is a way to inspire ideas – that it is ideas, and how can you claim ownership over ideas? Don’t they just exist in the ether and someone was smart enough to discover them? How can one hold back idea from the rest of the world? What right do I have as an artist to do that?

Maybe I don’t believe in invention. Maybe I think of invention as the literal creation of tangible objects – the assembly line worker is closer to the inventor than the idea man.  Discovery is still important, but we have this cultural fetish with inventing. Inventing is a more tangible thing to pay someone for. This is why capitalism fails. Ideas are not sellable because ideas are not created. They are found. It’s rude to discover something and then sell it.

Magicians buy tricks. They spend uncomfortably large sums of money on a trick at a magic shop that they then perform in front of people without telling them how they are doing it. This insures that people will keep coming back to them to see the trick. This insures that they can be the government that regulates their own economy.

We need to stop living like magicians. If we live like magicians, we’ll never get male birth control.

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