Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Eleven

If God exists, prime numbers–among all numbers–are closest to Her. Or Him. If I’m not certain of God’s existence, I certainly can’t be certain of God’s gender.
Regardless, it is undoubtedly prime numbers, in all their purity, which please God the most. A prime number is untapped, and unaffected. A prime number answers only to that with which it is divisible. It answers only to itself and 1. Or the one.

In a prime number’s closeness to the one it retains a great deal of independence. After all it is a prime number that does not forget from where it has come, but also knows what it is like to blaze one’s own trail. A prime number comes out on the other end of that trail strong and full of confidence–knowing where it has been, and from where it has come.
A prime number’s independence, by some, has been viewed as little more than a defense mechanism. While a great deal of mutual respect permeates the prime number community, they are not terribly well liked among most numbers. One could even say they are shunned. Prime numbers think the contempt they feel from their peers is little more than jealousy. Prime numbers are especially hated by numbers like 51. 51 feels that it made it very close to “prime” status, but had its hopes dashed by not one–but two– primes numbers (17 and 3). 51's contemptuous jealousy of 17 and 3 is at least understandable.

Interestingly, this attitude is not shared with all numbers in the ilk of 51. I happen to know that 39 gets along famously with both 13 and 3. Weird, huh?
For a prime number, the world of being an even number is a dark place of compromise that is neither able to be understood, nor worth the time that it may take to do so. It’s hellish. You’ll never see a prime running with an even except in places where it is entirely unavoidable. Things like calendars and solutions to equations make it impossible for numbers to have total control over around whom they find themselves. But I assure you that when it is the 24th day during November, the 11 in that date yearns to once again be near 17, as it was just one sweet week ago.

48 is a whore and a heathen. It has too many partners. It is being pulled in too many directions. It is too willing to compromise it’s very makeup just to please the masses. But don’t be too hard on 48. It is surrounded by extremely intimidating company. 47 is a rock. A fucking rock! Not to be trifled with, not to trifle. 49 could certainly learn a thing or two from 47, but among “non-primes” (or just “nons” as they’re called in the number community, much to the nons’ chagrin) it’s not too bad. It is a square, and it may only be divided by prime numbers. Not bad, 49. 48 is still a whore and still a heathen.
Nons just don’t have the same look as primes. They’re just not as pretty, or as remarkable. From a mile away, one could tell there is something more confident and admirable about 29, as compared to 27. The dignity of 61 will never be matched by 63. And when 17 and 21 walk into a room together, at whom do you suppose the good-looking 11 is looking? I can assuredly, and confidently guarantee you that it will not be 21.

But as seems to happen in any society, there is definitely stratifying going on even in the community of primes. 2 has always had authenticity issues. It being the only prime number that is also an even number, this seems like little more than an occupational hazard–comes with the territory. But 2's issues don’t stop there. Oh no. Many of the other primes view 2 as the biggest traitor of all. After all it is 2 that can be seen as the essential building block for a prime number’s most loathsome company...an even. But don’t cry too hard for 2 either. It has an infinite number of friends to whom it is second in command.
Too, large prime numbers will occasionally cop an air of superiority toward smaller prime numbers. The seventies are known to be especially snotty. Anyone could be prime if they only had to get through nineteen numbers! That sums up the snobbery given off by the seventies. The nineteens of the world don’t buy it, but in this author’s opinion, the seventies have everything to be snobby about. I can’t imagine a tougher, more handsome looking group of numbers than 71, 73, and 79. They’re regal. One can hope only to subdue one’s gushing admiration when in the company of this trio; for that admiration will not be thwarted.
This is true with all of the lower prime numbers except for 11 and I don’t even feel that I need to explain. Can you imagine a more beautiful number than 11? Eleven. Even the word! Say it aloud to yourself at this moment! Eleven. What beauty!
Prime numbers and nons alike are probably much the same as anything, I suppose. If they were only looked at only once, there would hardly be a distinction to make. One might not notice the unshakeable strength with which some numbers carry themselves–full of solace. One might not notice the way some numbers have a closeness with the one–that from which all else is constructed. God. If that’s what you care to call it.

I don’t.

One also might not notice the way other numbers will give themselves out to any number that comes calling. One might not notice the way some numbers don’t care or recognize what they’re comprised of so long as they are popular, well-known, and are compatible– no matter how shallowly– with a large number of their peers.
Yep. Numbers are pretty much like anything, I suppose. Even us.
I believe there are prime numbers walking among us, friends. They are unmistakable. They are those people you see that are so full of life and inspiration that they can barely keep it inside themselves–and sometimes even they cannot! That is, I suppose, when an artist becomes an artist. When that one thing inside of them, for which they have great passion and respect, finds a channel through which it can communicate its appreciation for its awareness of existence.

Unfortunately, just as it is in numbers, there seems to be a lot more people that may be divided and divided into than these prime numbers who walk amongst us. I can personally attest to having met forty-eight 48s, ninety-six 96s, and a whole slue of 192s. They are everywhere. For sometime now the vast majority of people (and numbers) seem quite simple to divide. They can be divided by greed, borders, colors, words, hate, allegiance, possessions, fanaticism, down-right radicalism, and, of course, 2.
When it comes to 13, 31, 41, and all their friends it is only themselves and 1. You might even call them a phrase normally reserved for us human beings: at one. But of course I would say it is no accident that “at one” is a human’s phrase that means having great peace with one’s future, current, and past selves. Be at one.
Oh–and just one more thing. In the future, when you greatly approve of someone else’s accomplishments, or insights, or fortitude, do not insult them by “giving them a ten.” Give them an eleven.