Pi’s That Bind!

Pi’s that Bind
Lent 25

Today is Pi Day. It is also the birthday of an excellent student who once worked in a patent office when he could not find work as a professor. One of the things that those two facts have in common is that the worker could have used Pi, the celebrated mathematical number used in so many things to determine some facts about his birthday cake… or pie.

The interesting thing about cakes and pies is that they combine a variety of things together into one. Whether it is a savory or sweet pie, there are a number of ingredients that combine to produce one pleasing bite. The same is true for cakes. Often these things have oppositional characteristics. A cake is a combination of dry smooth flour, grainy sugar, solid fats, liquids and egg which are both hard in their outer covering yet delicate and liquid inside with the intact solid yolk surrounded by fluid. Pies are even more complex with their crust made of different things as well as the filling, also made up of a variety of food items. Yet, they are all tasted in one single bite, having worked together to produce one single delectable taste.

In case you don’t already know or haven’t figured it out today is the birthday of Albert Einstein. If living, he would have been one hundred and thirty-six years old. Visiting in the United States in 1933 with his second wife who would die three years later from illness, Einstein did not return home to Europe due to the activity of Adolf Hitler. From the evil perpetrated by one’s man’s greed, the United States of America became home to a great mind, a mind that was allowed to flourish within the freedoms guaranteed by the US Constitution.

William Miller quoted Einstein in a May, 1955 issue of “Life Magazine” as saying: “The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” Such curiosity is tragically not available to all as certain regimes stifle it. Obviously capable of doing well in school, Einstein did although he did not particularly enjoy school. His quarrel was not in what was being taught but in how it was taught. In his later years he remarked “It is almost a miracle that modern teaching methods have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for what this delicate little plant needs more than anything, besides stimulation, is freedom.”

In a world where a young girl suffered an attempt on her life simply for going to school and where hundreds of young girls have been kidnapped for simply going to school and their whereabouts remain unknown, education should never be taken for granted not devalued. The great thing about education is that it brings us together. What helps one helps all; what teaches one, benefits all. The relativity illustrated by the numerical expression we call Pi is but one example. A simple play on numbers with the date of today being the same as the beginning five digits of a never-ending number is really a day to celebrate the relativity of mankind.

Something called the collective action theory was first discussed by a man named Maurice Olson in the mid 1960’s. His theory was the result of a discussion about people trying to do something good for the general public and the difficulties involved. Olson maintained that any group of people trying to provide a public good or service would not be able to do so efficiently. Because the main purpose of a group is to further the common interests of those within the group, the group must focus on those common interests. Olson felt people would be more interested in their own personal and individual interests rather than their common interests. Olson believed the negative aspects of man would inhibit the group of mankind from providing for all, for even caring about all, electing instead to care only for themselves. Olson would definitely consider my efforts to write a blog daily about the universality of man a waste of time!

In the previously mentioned “life Magazine” article from 1955, Albert Einstein also said: “I never worry about the future. It comes soon enough.” One of the great things about Pi is its infiniteness. The numerical expression never repeats its pattern even though it is made up of all numbers which are in base ten and therefore all simply numbers from 1 to 9, repeated in different ways. Much can be said of mankind. We are all human, with the same basic numbers of chromosomes, head per body, hands per body, etc. Our facial characteristics change just as the numbers within Pi change in their order. When we work together, as the number within Pi do, we illustrate our relationship to…well, everything. By not working together, we illustrate the lack of collective action discussed by Olson.

Pi represent that which we know and that which we do not know. It is a numerical expression of our relativity and hope for the future. We are all connected. In spite of our many differences, at our core we are the same. If we could but see only our skeletons, we would realize that our outer covering is but an expression of little value when compared to what is inside. We find the sacred in living when we recognize that all life is indeed sacred.

The number of places or digits in the numerical expression Pi is endless. Yet, it is constant. So is hope. So I leave you, today, with the digits of Pi…or at least, a million of them. Remember, for every number there lived a person, there lives a person, there will be a person born, there will be a person who passes. Each represents something sacred: 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592307816406286208998628034825342117067982148086513282306647093844609550582231725359408128481117450284102701938521105559644622948954930381964428810975665933446128475648233786783165271201909145648566923460348610454326648213393607260249141273724587006606315588174881520920962829254091715364367892590360011330530548820466521384146951941511609433057270365759591953092186117381932611793105118548074462379962749567351885752724891227938183011949129833673362440656643086021394946395224737190702179860943702770539217176293176752384674818467669405132000568127145263560827785771342757789609173637178721468440901224953430146549585371050792279689258923542019956112129021960864034418159813629774771309960518707211349999998372978049951059731732816096318595024459455346908302642522308253344685035261931188171010003137838752886587533208381420617177669147303598253490428755468731159562863882353787593751957781857780532171226806613001927876611195909216420198938095257201065485863278865936153381827968230301952035301852968995773622599413891249721775283479131515574857242454150695950829533116861727855889075098381754637464939319255060400927701671139009848824012858361603563707660104710181942955596198946767837449448255379774726847104047534646208046684259069491293313677028989152104752162056966024058038150193511253382430035587640247496473263914199272604269922796782354781636009341721641219924586315030286182974555706749838505494588586926995690927210797509302955321165344987202755960236480665499119881834797753566369807426542527862551818417574672890977772793800081647060016145249192173217214772350141441973568548161361157352552133475741849468438523323907394143334547762416862518983569485562099219222184272550254256887671790494601653466804988627232791786085784383827967976681454100953883786360950680064225125205117392984896084128488626945604241965285022210661186306744278622039194945047123713786960956364371917287467764657573962413890865832645995813390478027590099465764078951269468398352595709825822620522489407726719478268482601476990902640136394437455305068203496252451749399651431429809190659250937221696461515709858387410597885959772975498930161753928468138268683868942774155991855925245953959431049972524680845987273644695848653836736222626099124608051243884390451244136549762780797715691435997700129616089441694868555848406353422072225828488648158456028506016842739452267467678895252138522549954666727823986456596116354886230577456498035593634568174324112515076069479451096596094025228879710893145669136867228748940560101503308617928680920874760917824938589009714909675985261365549781893129784821682998948722658804857564014270477555132379641451523746234364542858444795265867821051141354735739523113427166102135969536231442952484937187110145765403590279934403742007310578539062198387447808478489683321445713868751943506430218453191048481005370614680674919278191197939952061419663428754440643745123718192179998391015919561814675142691239748940907186494231961567945208095146550225231603881930142093762137855956638937787083039069792077346722182562599661501421503068038447734549202605414665925201497442850732518666002132434088190710486331734649651453905796268561005508106658796998163574736384052571459102897064140110971206280439039759515677157700420337869936007230558763176359421873125147120532928191826186125867321579198414848829164470609575270695722091756711672291098169091528017350671274858322287183520935396572512108357915136988209144421006751033467110314126711136990865851639831501970165151168517143765761835155650884909989859982387345528331635507647918535893226185489632132933089857064204675259070915481416549859461637180270981994309924488957571282890592323326097299712084433573265489382391193259746366730583604142813883032038249037589852437441702913276561809377344403070746921120191302033038019762110110044929321516084244485963766983895228684783123552658213144957685726243344189303968642624341077322697802807318915441101044682325271620105265227211166039666557309254711055785376346682065310989652691862056476931257058635662018558100729360659876486117910453348850346113657686753249441668039626579787718556084552965412665408530614344431858676975145661406800700237877659134401712749470420562230538994561314071127000407854733269939081454664645880797270826683063432858785698305235808933065757406795457163775254202114955761581400250126228594130216471550979259230990796547376125517656751357517829666454779174501129961489030463994713296210734043751895735961458901938971311179042978285647503203198691514028708085990480109412147221317947647772622414254854540332157185306142288137585043063321751829798662237172159160771669254748738986654949450114654062843366393790039769265672146385306736096571209180763832716641627488880078692560290228472104031721186082041900042296617119637792133757511495950156604963186294726547364252308177036751590673502350728354056704038674351362222477158915049530984448933309634087807693259939780541934144737744184263129860809988868741326047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