Ancient knowledge of the sciences was often wrong and wholly
unsatisfactory by modern standards. However not all of the knowledge of the
more learned peoples of the past was false. In fact without people like Euclid
or Plato we may not have been as advanced in this age as we are. Mathematics is
an adventure in ideas. Within the history of mathematics, one finds the ideas
and lives of some of the most brilliant people in the history of mankind's'
populace upon Earth.
First man created a number system of base 10. Certainly, it is not just
coincidence that man just so happens to have ten fingers or ten toes, for when
our primitive ancestors first discovered the need to count they definitely would
have used their fingers to help them along just like a child today. When
primitive man learned to count up to ten he somehow differentiated himself from
other animals. As an object of a higher thinking, man invented ten number-
sounds. The needs and possessions of primitive man were not many. When the
need to count over ten aroused, he simply combined the number-sounds related
with his fingers. So, if he wished to define one more than ten, he simply said
one-ten. Thus our word eleven is simply a modern form of the Teutonic ein-lifon.
Since those first sounds were created, man has only added five new basic
number-sounds to the ten primary ones. They are "hundred," "thousand," "
million," "billion" (a thousand millions in America, a million millions in
England), "trillion" (a million millions in America, a million-million millions
in England). Because primitive man invented the same number of number-sounds as
he had fingers, our number system is a decimal one, or a scale based on ten,
consisting of limitless repetitions of the first ten number sounds.
Undoubtedly, if nature had given man thirteen fingers instead of ten,
our number system would be much changed. For instance, with a base thirteen
number system we would call... [continues]
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