Monday, April 07, 2003

A rough night amidst dreams of spirals. I tell very few people that I dream of spirals so this is an admission of sorts. I think in spirals. I do calculations in my head with spirals.

I have tried a few times to put on paper the shape and dimensions of my dreams. But, in my head, I can zoom in and out at will and so I have no sense of scale, no fixed reference for these things, these mathematical organisms.

They do have an orientation. I associate numbers with points on the spiral. The number 10 is at about what I'd consider 9 o'clock on a clockface. The number 1000 is also at that orientation, on the next trip around the curve. Then, surprisingly, the next number is about 1 decillion - 10^33. I can not be sure that that is where these numbers stand. As I zoom in to discover them, the larger spiral loses its focus, I am in too close, and I am left looking at the local topography.

Sometimes, in my head, I will quickly zoom in, hoping to discern the local shape of the curve. It's not smooth, I have gathered that much. There are bumpy sections on its spine, some bumpier than others.

The number 13, for example, has given me a lot of trouble. It seems somehow to have an odd place among the folds of the curve, as if it is not always there or as if the curve takes an unexpected twist. This has, for me, practical implications since I do even simple addition like this, by climbing along the curve.

Ask me what 8+5 is and, half the time i will tell you it is 12.

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