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  • Writer's pictureelenaburan

Apollinaria and negative numbers


Apollinaria heard a boy's question: "How can one understand that numbers are negative, they are just numbers? If I have two apples, how can I make them negative?"

Apollinaria pondered. Indeed, to understand the nature of negative numbers, one needs to understand how they differ from positive ones. What kinds of numbers are there? Probably, numbers are such as we make them. And we make them through addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Hmm... What lies between them - between plus and minus, multiplication and division? The center.


Actually, one can find many models consisting of four poles that act like arithmetic actions. For example, the North Pole is like the complete negation of life, it's so cold there that nothing alive exists, there is only an icy desert.


Alright, let's assume that the East could represent the action of addition, because the day starts in the east and adds hour by hour, the sun circles the sky, starting from the east.

Then one could say that the west represents... which action? If the west is the opposite of the east, then the west is the action of subtracting one hour after another and the arrival of night because the sun sets in the west.


Then, the north and the south are the poles of multiplication and division. Incidentally, one of them has a continent and an ice cap, which freezes and freezes, making water reserves. By the way, the Arctic connects America and Eurasia at the very north, they almost touch each other.


And in the south - it's just water, also icy, but it divides between the currents of the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean. And it turns out to be the axis along which all the earth's water rotates - accumulates in the north and distributes in the south.


Ok, so the point of equilibrium is the center, zero, in which there is neither positive nor negative, neither increasing nor disappearing, but everything is in balance. And relative to this center only, one can say that something is added, subtracted, multiplied, and divided.


But this can represent many things in the same scheme. For example, take my good qualities, as strength, my negative qualities, as weaknesses, my hopes, multiplying my energy, and my tiredness from having to share with everyone surrounding my thoughts - it indeed makes me tired by the end of the day.


Alright, what other example can be given? Take the resting temperature of water - it's zero degrees Celsius, when water is ice but on the verge of melting. It cannot move, but it can no longer remain solid. It is ready to run and carry everything that comes its way until it turns into a torrential stream, which will then divide into many streams, nourishing plants. And having nourished plants, water will evaporate into the air, rising as a cloud. If you draw the earth's surface, above it - the sky, below it - a stream, from top to bottom - rain, from bottom to top - trees - we will see the four actions again.


The world lives by the same principles. Everything in the world happens according to the same universal principles, in which there are pluses, minuses, multiplications, and divisions, and the main thing - the center of overall balance.

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