The magic of Π

Π. Pi is a transcendental number. To quote: Hyperdictionary:

Definition (Transcendental):

1. [adj] existing outside of or not in accordance with nature; “find transcendental motives for sublunary action”-Aldous Huxley
2. [adj] of or characteristic of a system of philosophy emphasizing the intuitive and spiritual about the empirical and material
Synonyms: nonnatural, otherworldly, preternatural, supernatural

What’s so damn special about Pi that Carl Sagan wrote a book about it? What’s so special about it that numerous thinkers all over the round round world first became fascinated by this enigmatic number that is so close to 3, but not quite…? Why not attribute the same importance to other such numbers? Say a sedentary root of 10, or something approaching the same level of magickness – the exponential constant, e?

The answer, quite simply lies in the almost universal appreciation for the circle as a symbol of perfection. Maybe, it’s because that’s the figure the heavens have been crafted on – the sun, the moons, the planets are all circular. Perhaps if we lived in a trapezoidal universe, we would be extolling the virtues of linear trignometry. But, we’re not, and let’s leave that at that. What makes pi special today is insignificant when you compare it to what could make pi special in the future.

Simply said, pi is as universal a constant as we could imagine. Any civilization, in any corner of the universe can (and will, it can be reliably said) calculate the value of pi. It’s almost a mark of intelligence, the basic step that drives sentience towards a quest for perfection. If we are to communicate with extraterrestrial intelligence, perhaps a good way would be to transmit the value of pi along with all our history and our message. Similarly, any message that we receive could have references to pi.

The book that I mentioned before explores this a bit further: what if, if we delve into the immense irregularity of the number pi itself, and find a pattern in there? What would that imply? The question is fascinating. The answer, if such a situation comes to be, should be even more beautiful.

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