kaen joyler: Quadratic Equation

Spring '09 TOC

Mathematics fascinates because it posits some abstract, underlying principle or structure on reality. Math is closure. I love this continual tension between closure and anarchy / nihilism. So in keeping with the da Vinci Code ethic of formalism, I tried to work out a syntactic form based on the quadratic equation:

x = \frac{-b \pm \sqrt {b^2-4ac}}{2a},

Ignoring the x, there are three terms in the quadratic equation: a, b, and c; in addition there are three binary functions: squared / square root, addition / subtraction and multiplication / division; finally there are two modifiers: plus or minus. Depending on how minimal you are inclined to be, the three terms could represent a single word [ the lower limit ] or a simple sentence [ the upper limit ]. I’ll treat the functions a little later on. Bear with me.

Let’s start with a simple example. I think it has been established that however you choose the words or sentences makes no difference. I will use something I saw on a tote bag at lunch today.

a = alcohol is my soulmate.
b = stop drinking around.
c = i fuck on the first date.

Okay, I didn’t see c on a tote bag at lunch. It was on a hooded sweatshirt I saw walking home the other night. Anyway, let’s square b. What might that mean, to square a sentence? Well, if squaring a number is multiplying that number by itself, then how does one go about multiplying a sentence by itself. This I will leave open to various interpretations, but my interpretation might look something like this: a simple sentence becomes a compound sentence.

b² = stop drinking around and drink around stopping.

To carry on with this logic [ sic ]:

4ac = 4 * ( alcohol is my soulmate i fuck on the first date. )
4ac = alcohol on the first date.  i fuck my soulmate.  soulmate on the first date.  alcohol fucks me.

b² - 4ac = ( stop drinking around and drink around stopping ) – (alcohol on the first date.  i fuck my soulmate. soulmate on the first date. alcohol fucks me. )
b² - 4ac = stop drinking around and drink around stopping: no alcohol on the first date.  fuck my soulmate. on the first date, alcohol fucks my soul.

The square root of this might look like:

“stop drinking, dating, fucking around, mate. no soul.”

Now we have –b ± (stop drinking, dating, fucking around. no soul. ) which becomes the dividend:

“don’t stop drinking around. don’t stop drinking, dating, fucking around. don’t have no soul.”

2a = 2 * ( alcohol is my soulmate. )
2a = i’ll say it again: alcohol is my soulmate.

this divisor then, divided into the dividend, gives us the resulting quotient:

“take a drink and repeat after me: stop fucking around with my soul.”

This quotient then is the ‘meaning’ that the process distills from the language, something that literary theorists of all creeds can accept on the basis on it being so empirical. If I were a more serious linguist, and not such a dilettante, I might actually devise very precise grammatical constructions to go with the functions. As it is, I found it more pleasing to just intuit what such correlations or differentials might be. The poem would be the process itself, and looks a little something like this:

twelve steps

alcohol is my soulmate. stop drinking around. i fuck on the first date. stop drinking around and drink around stopping. alcohol on the first date. i fuck my soulmate. soulmate on the first date. alcohol fucks me. stop drinking around and drink around stopping: no alcohol on the first date. fuck my soulmate. on the first date, alcohol fucks my soul. stop drinking, dating, fucking around, mate. no soul. don’t stop drinking around. don’t stop drinking, dating, fucking around. don’t have no soul. i’ll say it again: alcohol is my soulmate. take a drink and repeat after me: stop fucking around with my soul.

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Not Enough Night
Not Enough Night
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