Sunday, October 25, 2009
Say the word Pythagoras and buried memories of secondary school mathematics come flooding back, perhaps causing our chests to contract in fear. In our minds, Pythagoras means triangles.
But for Pythagoras, a Greek living in the 6th century BC, life was about much more than triangles, or indeed maths. His teachings deeply entwined religious thoughts with mathematics. Pythagoras believed that mathematical proofs - powerful, timeless, concrete truths about the world - were sacred.
In the fourth century BC, Plato - who was influenced by Pythagoras' philosophical ideas - claimed that Pythagoras left a way of life. In fact, to some, Pythagoras was such a great, life-changing teacher that they thought he could be divine, a gift from the gods.
All of which makes me think of Jesus.
See the thing is, 2000 years on, billions actually devote their lives to Jesus, trying to follow his way of life. They worship him as divine.
Yet billions just link Pythagoras' name to a property of triangles.
Now that massive difference intrigues me.
It makes me curious.
It makes me wonder why.