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Happy (Belated) Pi Day

3/14 – Pi day, Einstein’s birthday, and Isaac’s first birthday this year. While many may choose to think of the digital representation which inspires the date (This year, the Exploratorium had a celebration starting at 1:59 PM), I find it more spiritually satisfying to go back to the Pythagorean definition of the circumference divided by the diameter of a circle (also defined by the ratio of the area of a circle to its bounding square). 22/7 is one famous ratio which gives rise to an approximate of Pi, and yet the number is in truth irrational — that is, it cannot be rationalized, or written as the ratio of two integers. The formula for the area of a circle depends on Pi, but Pi itself is transcendental cannot be constructed (there is no number for which Pi is the root), and therefore you cannot create a square that has the same area as a circle with straight-edge and compass alone. Also, there is no closed expression for the number in terms of algebraic numbers and functions. All numeric calculations of Pi depend on approximations. Of course, all of this can be found, and more, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pi.
But of course, I choose to look at the esoteric, personal meaning of the concept of the circumference divided by the diameter. One way to internalize the concept is to consider all that which surrounds us, envelopes us, in juxtaposition with that which goes through us or spans us. When we try to look at our essence in entirety, our being, that which is us, in a complete sense, it is difficult at best to try to describe it, but we know that if we could exhaustively describe all of our qualities, all of our internal moments, everything we perceive, or do, eventually, we might be able to say — “there, that is me. That’s me in my entirety.” We can for argument’s sake, just imply that there is such a full and complete description that exists in the realm of the possible. We will call that complete description, the inclusive ‘I’ or ‘Me’. Now, in light of that full and complete description, we make the attempt to find that one singular dimension which crosses the sum total and in a very sharp and definite way, explains the essence of who we are — the ‘Us’ness of ‘Us’. To define that which spans us and summarizes us, one might argue that is a task magnitudes greater in difficulty, and perhaps outside of the realm of the possible. What is for certain, is that the answer would never be something we could draw a neat box around and say ‘this is the essence of me.’ There is always more to strive for, more to reach for, it is irrational to believe we could summarize our existence in a single quality, and yet we and those in our lives are accustomed to making constant approximations of who we are, and for what we stand. We are used to telling our ‘story’. When someone asks us who we are, it is this singular slice that we attempt to show, like the plane of a movie screen or the page of a book. And so, we approximate, we proclaim and project an incomplete and often inaccurate picture of ourselves to others, in an attempt to hint at the real us, the totality, that which cannot be described, only circumscribed.
And so, on a day such as this, with the birth of my second son high on the horizon of my consciousness, who do I say that ‘I’ am? What is my ‘story’? Am I a father? Am I a Software engineer, husband, slacker, cook, spiritual seeker, skeptic, philosopher, human soul lost in the wilderness of existence? What is the one slice I can pick out for you that approximates who I am? All I can do is say, I am today. I am now. Take a look at me, talk with me, and only through that can you see the clearest possible value of my own personal Pi. Anything else is algorithmic sophistry.

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