Sticks & Stones – origin of numbers

ever wonder how and why numbers are shaped the way they are? i did. it started me on the path of trying to figure it out.

i started by noticing that the numbers were either completely straight, completely round or a combination of both. i drew the numbers as their simplest shapes (squares (1, 4); triangles (7); circles ((6? 9?) (8)); and the combinations of them (2, 3, 5, 10).

next, i tried to simplify them even further into circles and lines (see red blue drawing). from there, it dawned on me that numbers were probably originally made from the most abundant materials “cave women” had at hand – sticks and stones.

the concept of number is not so simple. it involves understanding that each written “number” is representing the addition of one. the easiest way to comprehend this would be to have each written number include in its body, the actual number of objects the written form was supposed to represent.

thus, looking at the third drawing, one is represented using one stick; two, by laying the stick on its side and adding a stone to it; three, by adding a stone to the other side of that stick; four, by adding another stick to the place where the one originally was; five, adding another stick above the top stone; six, removing the top stick and stone and surrounding the bottom stone with sticks, etc. i wonder if there was any special notice of 5 fingers on each hand, 10 fingers, 10 toes, etc. the romans seemed to have taken note of this in their V and X notations.

after coming up with this theory of the origin of numbers, i searched to see if anyone else had come up with it. i didn’t find and evidence of this. i did however find this article which i found illuminating: the history of numbers.

my cousin, a math teacher for many years, thought it was quite fascinating. i welcome other comments, questions, criticisms or … jokes.


Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 10.59.29 PM

playing w/shapes of #s

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 10.59.50 PM

seeing circles, triangles

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 10.58.20 PM

realizing sticks & stones

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 11.00.47 PM

simple adding made shapes

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 10.57.47 PM

numbers also reflect astronomical symbols, beginning with the visible lights furthest from planet earth’s view (1 -neptune, 2-uranus, 3-saturn, 4-jupiter, 5-mars, 6-the sun, 7-venus, 8-mercury, 9-the moon, 10-earth itself. thanks to michael berenzweig for illuminating this for me.


About blossomfire

I've walked this life path with sweet thoughts and burning wishes, a sound sense of purpose and an urgent need to express. Shy at first, I've overcome oceans of self doubt and self consciousness to seek an audience, ears like blossoms bending to the wondering wind. I am simple now. I am simple as a way to reach out. Worlds, galaxies, pivotal people, mushrooms, spiraling whilrlpools, i'm textured and wired for communication. Simply wired for fundamental transformation. A vision. A quest. A manifestation of divine Life, Light and Love. My name means Grace. A free gift, a talent, a value from the ultimate word maker, the Infinite Mind of the Infinite One. My mind to yours. Tree to limb, leaf to belief, falling and rising and knowing at the same time. Im Nancy (Grace) and grateful to know you.
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