I’m reading a book for Math Club called “number: the language of science” by tobias dantzig (lower cased intentionally- that’s how it is on the cover). As I’m reading I am learning about how mathematics became what mathematics is today. However, something vexes me about the origins of algebra, the inability of ancient mathematicians to see fractions and decimals within the number system. Here’s why:

If you have one basket of grain and you trade half of your basket of grain for one third of a basket of lotus flower pedals then a measurement system for fractions already existed and went unnoticed. Why? If I can divide a basket into fifths or halves why not tenths of hundredths? If this is possible why not the equation 2x = 5 since it deals with fractions (x = 2.5 in this case or 2 1/2 x 2 = 5).

I see where this knowledge had to derive from some place that even the author acknowledges that we take for granted in modernity. I must admit I am having trouble grasping the concept that at one point certain concepts went undiscovered. I have taken it for granted and this article is proof of this. I get it.

It is also proof that what is “obvious” is not so obvious. Some things are only obvious because someone else put in the work to make them “obvious” and that I can appreciate. I need people smarter than I to make difficult concepts simple because I don’t know everything (shocker, I know). I am highly adept at some bodies of knowledge and can explain complexities within said bodies of knowledge in simpler terms for easier comprehension. In short, I can explain some things in simpler terms while some things I need explained to me in simpler terms.

I would like to point out an undertone of community being spoken of here. While you are a very Human you I am a very HumanMe.

With Love
Ruth