Time is inhumane. I understand that time is essentially a man-made concept and that we only have ourselves to blame for our suffering in this regard.

At its base, time is a natural phenomenon. Each day is counted in accordance with the natural rotation of the earth. Each year (basically) is calculated by the earth's relationship to the sun. But once we depart from these solid foundations and move into the more ethereal, abstract notions of time, the more we do a great disservice to ourselves.

Danish author Peter Hoeg has made a point of incorporating this theme in most of his novels. In his first novel, The History of Danish Dreams , he tells the story of a count who tries to stop time in its tracks, and how futile and ultimately destructive it is. But at the same time Hoeg, like his insane character, longs for the ability to live outside of his time, to throw off the shackles of time that are restricting him.

In another book, Borderliners , Hoeg finally (in my opinion) argues that time is unhealthy, and to a large extent, that mathematics is inhumane as well. He argues in his novel about abused children and the Danish educational system, that mathematics is inhumane precisely because it has no limits.

"Under duress, psychology and biology have admitted that there is a limit to the conditions to which living creatures may be subjected. That there is a limit to the amount of discipline, hard work, and firm structure that children can bear.

"But mathematics is limitless. Because there are no lower and upper limits, there is only infinity. Maybe this, as they say, is in itself neither bad nor good. But there, where we met it-as a manifestation of time, as figures measuring achievement and improvement, as an argument for the feasibility of the absolute-it was not human. It was unnatural."

He also points out, that in his opinion, math is the language of God. And therefore, we always want to understand it and appreciate it for its maddening beauty, yet are always doomed to failure and pain because, we lowly humans cannot understand it. (Does the movie Pi, come to mind?)

On a personal level, I really like this idea. I am a more language-oriented person who has always had a difficult time with math. Yet I'm fascinated by mathematics in an abstract way; I can listen to people discuss it - but can't do the actual computation very well.

So I guess we are damned by our own curiosity.

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