Pre-sleep thoughts (#1) – Non-decimal system world
This is another “series” that I have no plan updating anytime in the near future: Pre-sleep thoughts. Basically this is me blogging late at night about some random topic my mind brought up 3.2 FUCKING SECONDS BEFORE FALLING ASLEEP.
Imagine a world where base 10 isn’t the standard. Throw the decimal number system away. Think of the base as some other random number – like 7, perhaps. We would all be counting up to only 6, e.g.
0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, … and so forth.
Personally, I couldn’t imagine a parallel universe with the number system being base 7. Or anything that isn’t base 10, really. Or base 2 (binary), 8 (octal), and 16 (hexadecimal) for computer science stuff.
Anyhow, why? Why base 10? Who decided that there would only be 10 unique numbers (0-9)? What if we knew/learned something else? What if humans or other mammals evolved to have 13 fingers? Should we be counting to 13, then? Is this because we had 10 fingers to begin with so we just stuck with that? Or is it something much more complicated like our genetic code telling us that base 10 is the shit? Or is there really a superior being out there (I am NOT an atheist, just to be clear) that decided we should base our numerical system to 10?
Would I know the answers to these questions if I traveled back to prehistoric times?
Or should I just go to sleep?
I’d go with the latter for now.