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There are, in fact, as I began to say above, not a few principles which are the special property of mathematics, such principles as are discovered by the common light of nature, require no demonstration, and which concern quantities primarily; then they are applied to other things, so far as the latter have something in common with quantities. Now there are more of these principles in mathematics than in the other theoretical sciences because of that very characteristic of the human understanding which seems to be such from the law of creation, that nothing can be known completely except quantities or by quantities. And so it happens that the conclusions of mathematics are most certain and indubitable.
Of all the intellectual faculties, judgment is the last to mature. A child under the age of fifteen should confine its attention either to subjects like mathematics, in which errors of judgment are impossible, or to subjects in which they are not very dangerous, like languages, natural science, history, etc.
But we have higher mathematics, haven't we? This gives me freedom from my senses. The language of mathematics is even more inborn and universal than the language of music; a mathematical formula is crystal clear and independent of all sense organs. I therefore built a mathematical laboratory, set myself in it as if I were sitting in a car, and moved along with a beam of light.
Standard mathematics has recently been rendered obsolete by the discovery that for years we have been writing the numeral five backward. This has led to reevaluation of counting as a method of getting from one to ten. Students are taught advanced concepts of Boolean algebra, and formerly unsolvable equations are dealt with by threats of reprisals.
The only progress I can see is progress in organization. The ordinary human being does not live long enough to draw any substantial benefit from his own experience. And no one, it seems, can benefit by the experiences of others. Being both a father and teacher, I know we can teach our children nothing. We can transmit to them neither our knowledge of life nor of mathematics. Each must learn its lesson anew.