Maybe it’s because of all those Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales ads. Or Cyber-Monday e-mails for 70% off all my purchases. Maybe it’s just my long commute and plenty of time to let my mind wander. Maybe my friend Bob is right, I have a mind stuck in beta wave mode. Anyways, I’ve been pondering zero lately. Yes, zero, as in 0, nothing, zed, nil, nada, zilch. Without zero, our lives would be sooo different. No 70% discount for one thing.
Counting seems natural. We must keep track of things: children, sheep, shoes, pennies, friends, enemies… If I have none of those, well, life is simple; nothing to keep track of, nothing to count. Counting starts with 1, not 0. We take zero for granted, but it wasn’t always so, especially in the western world. Stop and think a moment about trying to calculate that 70% sale using Roman numerals. Next to impossible. Wait, not next to. Impossible.
Zero, nil, evil by ancient Greeks and Romans considered the void evil.