Friday, March 1, 2013

Nothing lasts forever. Almost nothing.

This morning as +Andrea was dropping me off at work, I pointed out to Jacob and Reed the hotel that is being demolished to make way for one of Amazon's three new buildings:


Jacob asked a great question: Do buildings not last forever?

I explained to him why this particular building was being demolished. The company I work for bought the land and the hotel because they want the land so they can build a tall building for people to work in. In order to put the new building up, they had to take the old one down.

So no, buildings don't last forever. Cars don't. Nothing lasts forever. Not even people last forever. Then he had this amazing response that has me still beaming. He said, "Dad, I know something that lasts forever." 

"What?" I asked.

"Numbers."

Maybe to him, this was a random idea he threw out. Maybe he had a deep thought here. At least to me, this is an incredibly abstract, mature concept. In fact, I just read an interesting blog post a few days ago about the importance of numbers to emptiness in Buddhist philosophy and how John von Neumann - a "founder" of computer science - demonstrated that numbers can be bootstrapped in the absence of anything physical.

In other words, numbers exist in emptiness -- forever.