# Pi Of Life: Chapters

*Each of the chapter titles is clearly linked to the asterisked quality that is paramount in lifelong happiness. The explanation of the relationship will be in the first few paragraphs in each chapter. Below is just a overall tenor that each chapter will have.*

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**ZERO**

**Humility**

*The only wisdom is the knowledge that you know nothing.*

*Socrates*

Every wonderful journey we take in this life starts from a beginning — knowing and understanding nothing. But, how do you *feel* about that? Intimidated? Anxious? Depressed? Or…should you be *excited*? Your attitude about your empty state makes a critical difference in either you seizing the world or letting the world seize you.

Patience is not your ability to wait. It is your attitude while you wait.

As such, being in a constant state of happiness of knowing nothing about mathematics is our first step in this journey of lifelong wisdom. Zero was not only an important discovery made by Indians over a thousand years ago, but it has a large symbolic power of teaching us humility when discovering mathematics. Relinquishing any understanding — however permanent — for more emptiness is what creates a boundless thirst for the oldest and most important language in the universe. Sharing your understanding will only have currency if you are willing to share your misunderstanding as well — enthusiastically!

**QED**

**Courage**

*The enchanting charms of this sublime science reveal only to those who have the courage to go deeply into it.*

*Carl Frederich Gauss*

QED is Latin for *quod erat demonstrandum. *It is found at the very end of many mathematical proofs and philosophical arguments. It signals in no uncertain terms that whatever was needed to be proven, has been done so. Often found in many academic writings during the Renaissance era, the notation has always carried some intellectual swagger. It is with no surprise then that marinading in the soup of social media that the phrase is now punctuated with profanity — to underscore some kind of the personal verbal jousting victory.

Whether it is a mathematical proof or some form of airtight reasoning, QED is the checkmate of the clearest thinking — that you are correct, the game is over, and the prize of irrefutable argumentation belongs to you.

Proof is the lifeblood of mathematics. The casual phrase “prove it” wields a powerful and even mythological force in numbers. It is not sufficient to cite one million cases where your idea works. No. It has to work in the infinite arena of every case. Bridging that gap, however, is not for the weak, as failure is what will most often greet you — over, and over and over again.

It takes enormous will, sacrifice and courage. There is much to be learned from the people that devote and have devoted their entire lives to something that will/has take them along poorly lit trespasses filled with obstacles and sometimes, *real *danger.

**ONE PLUS TWO**

**Simplicity**

*Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication*.

*Leonardo da Vinci*

1,2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

We all learned to count to ten at a very early age. This is the conventional and well-worn path for many to start learning mathematics. It is supposed to take you to the Promised Land of mathematical clarity. Sadly, millions of pilgrims never reach this destination, abandoning the journey early on — at least, spiritually.

The tragedy is that a happier ending could have happened if we simply inserted “plus signs” between the numbers.

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10.

Contained therein are more than just sums. This is the mathematical *rabbit hole. *Falling through occurs with the most innocent inclusion of very familiar addition symbols. We now tumble through rich math history, religious symbolism, triangles, and the birth of a mathematical genius. Mathematics is filled with ever so subtle moments of dazzling twists and turns.

They are found in the softer gaze of simplicity; not in the steely stare of complexity. Seeing mathematics through its most natural lens of simplicity is a comfort that will be explored in this chapter.

**INFINITY**

**Curiosity**

*Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try and make sense of what you see, and wonder what makes the universe exist. Be curious*.

*Stephen Hawking*

Why are humans curious? What drives us to ask questions? To wonder? Why are some people more curious than others? Are there different kinds of curiosity? Are we more, or less, curious now than in the past? How important is curiosity to our future? These questions and more are asked and answered in Ian Leslie’s *Curious*, a wonderful compilation of scholarly inquiry and personal insight that is sure to pique your (dare I say it again?) curious.

Leslie examines the nature of curiosity from cinema to cognitive science, from history to economics, from education to art, from literature to data processing. In each the author illustrates the importance of curiosity and the character of the curious. Not surprisingly, some of humanity’s greatest minds — Ben Franklin, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Henry James to name only a few — share one defining characteristic, an insatiable need to know. And according to Leslie, the path to any success or happiness lies in becoming (and remaining) curiouser and curiouser by never forgetting to ask why.

Why? Unfortunately, *why *— an absolute necessity in appreciating every facet of mathematics — rarely takes center stage in our mathematical journey. Too often, *what* is the boring tour guide on this ill-fated 500 hour tour through our progression in school.

Something as innocuous as pi, 3.14 — which is completely immersed in our culture as this famous number that goes on and on and on… — rarely piqued the interest of any of us to ask “how do we know this?” A sad footnote to this would not have been that very few teachers know why,(as that is absolutely fine and will have been discussed in ZERO). The sad reality is that very few would care — which is why mathematics has done so poorly in captivating the interest in so many of us. If our teachers do not seem curious about mathematics, why should we?

This chapter reignites that question with the answer of *why*?

**NEGATIVE SQUARE ROOT**

**Gratitude**

*The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.*

*Henry Miller*

Being present and fully aware is being happy for simply for what is around you in abundance. It heightens our intimacy with the world — even in the smallest nooks and crannies. Look at the branching of a tree. It is identical to the anatomical branching of our lungs. This is not a coincidence. This is the grand design laid out by mathematics. Yet, in spite of trees being over 200 million years old, the true understanding of this kind of geometry — fractals — has only been really fleshed out in the last 50 years. In spite of this delay in comprehending the logical intricacies in creating such beautiful and functional structures like trees, lungs, cloud formations, etc, all of us continue to reap the benefit of this mathematical infant everyday.

The most pronounced one is the most important technological device of the late 20th century. The cellphone. Without the understanding of how fractal geometry has powerful applications to so many aspects of our lives, we would have no cellphones. Our ability to communicate globally with ease and comfort is directly linked to the greatest communicator — mathematics.

**17**

*Tis the sharpness of our mind that gives the edge to our pains and pleasures.*

*Michel de Montague*

All deaths, regardless of circumstances, end with the lack of oxygen to the brain. And so, while cardiovascular health is crucial in staying physically fit, the lifelong sharpening of the mind may not only extend our lives, it might just make it happier. And, no puzzle has intrigued the world more in the last ten years than Sudoku.

The word phenomenon is arguably over-used, but it certainly does apply when talking about Sudoku.

For many years, the puzzle world was dominated by word puzzles such as the crossword and word search puzzle.

Then suddenly in 2004 and early 2005, Sudoku hit the newspapers in the UK, first being published in the Times, and soon took the country by storm, with newspapers following suit and many other publications also clamoring to procure Sudoku for their publication.

The first few Sudoku books on the market sold in huge quantities, and now that the Sudoku market is mature several years on, the puzzle is still extremely popular and a mainstay of the puzzle page in the vast majority of newspapers and magazines.

So what is it that made this puzzle so popular compared to other non-word puzzles that have tried and failed in the past?

I believe it is our intrinsic and innate desire to perhaps reconnect back with mathematics through play and problem-solving. But, wait…there is no math with Sudoku? You simply put numbers 1 to 9 in a box with the basic rule of not having numbers repeat in certain ways like horizontally and vertically. Right?

It’s time to go to the *kitchen* of mathematics…to see how everything is prepared!

**ME**

**Power**

*Mathematics expresses values that reflect the cosmos, including orderliness, balance, harmony, logic, and abstract beauty.**Deepak Chopra*

What does it mean to have power? Are we truly harnessing the power of mathematics to improve the quality of our lives — financially, emotionally and even spiritually? Calculating change, doing taxes and measure the area of a living room are dry applications that have become sad benchmarks of mathematical usefulness. That is because we have treated mathematics like a bounded subject and not a boundless art form. Soon as you make anything a “subject”, it will be doomed to suffocating restrictions.

Did we learn English to be able to fill out job applications meticulously? Did we learn History to spit out places and times of conflict and victory? No. We learn — or hopefully learned — to embolden our lives with ideas and actions that are rooted in our own humanity.

What if I told you that you could learn one of the simplest formulas in mathematics in the time it takes to teach a child to tie their shoelaces that would save you thousands of dollars — the same formula that makes billions for the insurance and casino industry! Warren Buffet was clever enough to use this formula and offer a million dollars to anyone who filled out a perfect NCAA March Tournament Bracket — essentially free marketing.

Confused about voting? Looking for love? The power of mathematics reaches into places that you never would have imagined. And, once harnessed, a wider vista of the universal order and beauty an be seen.

**28**

**Resilience**

*Those moments of immersion, of engagement, of clear focus — moments that can last for hours, occasionally days — are some of the best times of our lives.*

*Eric Grietens*

Much like curiosity, resilience has had its integral part in our happiness fleshed out in a whole book. Resilience, as Grietens cites, is an ancient form of wisdom that goes unheeded today. It is a virtue that enables one to lead a fuller and happier life — especially when we must go through some dark and difficult times.

Mathematics has been filled with men and women who demonstrated much resilience in trying to unravel the mysteries of the universe. To dedicate almost their entire lives to pondering a single question — with no guarantee of success and to usually suffer in isolated margins — is resilience of the mind, body and soul. Andrew Wiles, who cracked the 350 year-old problem called Fermat’s Last Theorem in 1993, was lauded by the global mathematical community for his remarkable breakthrough. What many did not know is the amount of despair he went through the problem that had captivated him since childhood— bordering on a nervous breakdown.

The stories of mathematical resilience are worth telling for the sole reason of making mathematics a human endeavor that crosses all lines of race, culture, gender, and class.

**Phi**

**Purpose**

*The teleology of the universe was for the production of beauty*

*Alfred North Whitehead*

Beyond the daily routine of our lives, there has to be a purpose to at least contemplate about our existence. In the end, it comes to down to being connected with each other and to the world we live in. Mathematics has unfairly been stereotyped to be the practical workhorse in society. That is not what its most ardent admirers had in mind when they gazed long hours into its deepest parts. It is a beautiful art form which has tremendous power to bind us to a more fulfilling purpose in our lives.

Numbers like 1.618 and 2.718 might seem like a cold distillate of hours of benign computations, but they are far from that. They are colorful and whimsical numbers that are fillled with beauty and mystery. The entire universe is written in the code of mathematics. And, underneath the tarp of numbers, formulas, and necessary notation lies its breath — it’s life.

Our lives.

**37**

***Laughter***

*Mathematics is the only place you can buy 64 watermelons and no one wonders why?*

*Unknown*

Mathematics is not above getting a good and well-deserved roast for inflicting millions with unnecessary boredom and pain. This chapter looks at real math questions found in so many textbooks, turns them inside out, and skewers their banality and ridiculousness with sharp wit.

Heights of kites. Mary’s age in 7 years. Angles of declination from flying planes. Marbles being pulled out of urns. These are just some of the questions that we endured in school. Making matters worse was that a human narrative was attached to these questions to make them “practical”.

Not sure why Amber and Xian went for a walk and then stood 34 feet apart to look up at a cliff and measures their angles of viewing inclination. Perhaps it was to alienate people from ever pursuing any interest in mathematics.

There is lots of cool applications to mathematics. Just don’t go looking for them in hilarious textbooks!

**Pi**

**Hope**

*Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow them.*

*Louise May Alcott*

By now the reader truly believes that there is measurable happiness in mathematics. But, as is embedded in the subtitle, almost all of the true bounty of mathematics remains hidden.

There are, however, strong signs of hope that we are beginning to unveil all this cloaked wonder and amazement of mathematics for the *first* time in the entire history of education. The predominant reason for this is the maturation of social media and the creation of communities outside traditional institutions of learning.

*The Force Awakens* is the title of the new* Star Wars *film. It is also an apt title to describe mathematics for this new millennium.

May the force be with…all of us!