**Message-ID:** <Pine.NEB.4.64.0702080037330.15598@panix3.panix.com>

**From:** Alan Sondheim <sondheim@panix.com>

**To:** Cyb <cybermind@listserv.aol.com>, Wryting-L <WRYTING-L@listserv.wvu.edu>

**Subject:** modeling, division by zero

**Date:** Thu, 8 Feb 2007 00:37:50 -0500 (EST)

modeling, division by zero when i was very young i lived in a world of division by zero. the result was infinity with n <> 0, but this was modified. 20/0 = 10/0 of course but we might write I (for infinity) so that I(20) is distinct from I(10). generalize: x/0 becomes I(x) and f(x)/0 becomes I(f(x)). what develops is a sense of process and history; I(f(x)) is dependent on the operations that lead up to it for any specific I(f(x)); it's as if 2 + 2 = 3 + 1, but the operations remain different and distinction; 4(2,2) may be considered distinction from 4(3,1). and this is true, providing the intercession of an operator is implied; 2 might for example be manageable and 3 not. the modes become more interesting when other f(x)/0 are involved or when thinking through (x/0)*(0/y) - the temptation is to produce x/y or even f(x)/f(y), canceling the 0, and within our mathesis, this may be reason- able. but again the 0 must be kept visible, historic; we might writer "(f(x)/f(y)) qua 0/0" or some such; it's evident that indices, both sub- and super-, quickly develop, become unmanageable. history piles on history, the mathematics leaves a necessary trace on the result - neces- sary because (x/0)*(0/y) is strictly I*0, which is up for grabs. the history imposes exactitude, facticity, where none is; it is a mathematics of sand-grains, not continua, of course related to infinitesimals, non- standard analysis, and so forth. but here, and when i was young, i valued these equations which told stories, stories that not only where inherent, but integral to their value in both senses of the word. ... i was in revolt, against mathesis, against those equations excluded, beyond the Pale, for no apparent reason, against the simultaneous weaken- ing and strengthening of zero, of nothing at all ... ( the shy zero, adding nothing to anything; the murder zero, multiplying and forgetting; the burgeoning zero, dividing into the production of the world; the generous zero, taking nothing away )