Letters or Numbers?

Which would you hold forth as the most important for modern civilisation, numeric or literal systems? (Imagining for a moment we have the ear of  a Divinity who is about to click its fingers and annihilate one form or the other)

Surely it must be numerals. Without them the hard sciences; engineering, physics, IT, and others would not function. Numbering predates written language, counting days was a first duty of religion and one which could be taught by mouth without written reference. In fact, counting was a much more common skill for most of history, whereas reading was restricted to an small intellectual class for the early and middle history of humanity.

Literacy communicates of distance and time in a way numbers cannot. Without it, there would be very little historical or cultural study, for what that is worth. Long distance communication would be slowed to the pace of the pedestrian and many types of warnings would need a person in place of a signpost. Written language is used to augment numerals, as shown by university textbooks with descriptions alongside calculation demonstrations. Poetry and literature are a much more appreciated form of beauty than mathematical forms, and our community would be the worse for the loss.

Number is a fixed data form, 1 is always 1. Words are an unfixed data form, Wednesday once meant Wodan / Odins day. The inconsistency of language allows inconsistency essential to being human to take exist; youth can use a slang to independent from adults, minorities can speak in a patois unknown to the majority. Consistent data has served humanity better than inconsistent data, and attempts to take language as consistent have been harmful. A moral code has never been expressed by number and expressions of morality by letter which have been taken to be consistent have harmed humanity. Inability to relinquish the first interpretation of earth is having a foundation (in the sense a building does) passage of the Bible lead to the well-known debacle between the Catholic Church and Galileo.


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