The science of numbers is of remotest antiquity.
Among the Aryans and Greeks, the Assyrians and Egyptians, we find indications of a development which gave to numbers their real significance and employed them in a system of symbolism which had respect to something more than mere enumeration.
While it is true that a figure is a symbol denoting a quantity, it is also a fact that a quantity thus symbolised may denote much more than a mere number, as we may learn from chemical analysis, where two bodies consisting of an equal number of atoms of the same elements are of an entirely different chemical nature.
This is the case as between phenylisocyanide and benzonitrile. But here we have a difference in the arrangement of the atoms, the single atom of nitrogen being active in the one and passive in the other molecule.
The position serves, however, for a general thesis whichregards all bodies as compounded of elements drawn from a single base, their specific differences being due to the domination of one over another element in them… read more