Sunday, February 19, 2012
Confluence of Number and Language
The ancients, I would guess, first put their minds to record keeping as a means to make memory concrete. A shepherd with his fifteen Goats out there on the savannah returned one day with ten Goats. Fierce debate followed. Some might even have claimed the shepherd had been given sixteen Goats to care for. Others, probably including the young shepherd's mother, insisted that there only ever had been ten Goats. The more observant, perhaps might have wondered what had happened to their memory of a Red Goat who also had a missing ear.
An apparently wiser mind, decided upon a mechanical system for determining Goat numbers. Each Goat was in the future to be represented by a pebble, and again fierce debate followed. Some Goats were more appreciated and well loved than other Goats, each Goat needed its qualities represented more purely. A task which after much tribulation, trials and errors, resulted in the written word. Many thousands of years later, this confluence of number and language was given the title Economics, and remains despite rumor, primarily an art form.