Wednesday, February 28, 2007

letting go of Pythagoras

a found poem

It is hard to let go of Pythagoras.

He has meant so much
to so many
for so long.

Most of what you believe
or think you know
about Pythagoras
is fiction.

Much of it deliberately contrived.

Did he discover the geometrical theorem
that bears his name?

Did he ponder the harmony of the spheres?

Does he deserve credit
for analysing the mathematical ratios
that structure musical concordances?

No.
Certainly not.
Possibly.


Found in M.F. Burnyeat's cover piece Other Lives in this week's London Review of Books

(Sorry to be the one to break the bad news.)

1 comment:

Lolabola said...

do you mean he may not be responsible for the "theoreme de Pythagore"? (french accent neccessary) what will I do with my stories of not understanding english math terms in high school?

It's like my entire education is one big joke.

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