1 +1 = ?

The Common Vein explores life, biology and medicine from three very basic equations which provide three different perspectives of the world around and within us.  These equations extend from the notion that all matter is made of parts, which organize and bond with other parts to form a new whole.

All three equations start off as 1 + 1 , but have three very different results in our day to day lives, and in the world of biology.

Beyond the Logic of Numbers - 1 + 1 = 1

1 + 1 = 1 is the equation that states that when two parts bond, the result has a unpredictable and sometimes unexpected result. 1 + 1 = 1  reflects the mysteries that hold us in awe of day to day life.  For example the manner in which the letters of the alphabet combine to form a poem, or the way the brushstrokes of a painting combine to create a piece of art, or the components of a recipe combining to create a delicious meal. (See  1 + 1 = 1 for more detail)

equation of life, arithmetic, science, the common vein, Ashley Davidoff MD
The Logic of Arithmetic- 1 + 1 = 2

1 + 1 = 2 is the arithmetical equation that allows for accurate quantification.  The result is consistent, and usually not debatable.  This equation is fundamental arithmetic known to everybody and includes addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division at  the most basic level, and the mathematics of astrophysics at the complex level. The component numbers are numeric, measurable, logical, and usually accurate.  At a basic level this equation may be used to count how many apples in a basket. It is applicable in common day to day life in the measurement of a pound of potatoes or the height of a person.  At a basic scientific level, matter, temperature, forces, and PH are measured with instruments usually providing an accurate representation of the world around us. Radar, parallax, cepheids, supernovae, and Hubble’s law are methods used to measure distances in the solar system and beyond.  (See 1 + 1 = 2 for more detail)

The Practical Estimate 1 + 1 ~ 2

1 + 1 ~2  is the equation of practical day to day living where estimates are used in the details.  Thus for example if somebody asks about the size of a tree outside the window in the garden, the “1 + 1 ~2” or practical  answer would be that it is about 10 feet.  If a more accurate measurement is necessary (the 1 + 1 = 2 evaluation) the answer would require the observer to get a tape measure and a ladder and a helper to measure the height of the tree.  This of course would be totally impractical and unnecessary to answer the question.  If on the other hand  an exact measurement of the height is needed because the  lumberjack charges by the height in feet to cut the tree down, it would be necessary to measure the exact height of the tree in order to enable  the transaction.

Thus for the sake of time and practicality we apply the concept in day to day living.

(See 1 + 1 ~2 for more detail)

In Biology and Medicine

The Common Vein also explores biology and medicine  from these three 3 perspectives in order to facilitate understanding.

1+1 = 1 reflects the mysteries that hold us in awe of biology.  For example the manner in which the organelles combine to form the living cell is simply miraculous.  Equally miraculous is way the body bonds to form a mind, and the mind with the body to form the person.

1 + 1 = 2 in this realm may perceived in the mere counting of the heart rate.  The need to delve beyond our immediate scope in the sciences has innovated tools which have advanced our senses to a new level of measurement and consequently of  understanding.   Some examples include the microscope, stethoscope, beaumonometer, EKG, EEG, X-ray, ultrasound, and MRI machines. The number of white or red cells in the urine, the concentration of the blood sugar, or the serum potassium are other examples. 

1 + 1 ~2 reflects the day to day practical and subjective observations in diagnosis and treatment.  Feeling for  margin of the liver or the spleen allows the examiner to decide if these organs are enlarged, and if so reflect an abnormality.

In Summary

In summary, this essay attempts to express the complexity of the world in three basic and simple equations.  The result of  first equation, 1+1 = 1 is often is unexpected, beyond human reason, and it provides a perspective for humanity that we have been provided with a gift. This equation makes us pause to “smell the roses”  – to observe and appreciate the enriching and fulfilling parts of life.

The second equation, 1 + 1 = 2 is the essential bean counting that is required for accurate quantification in arithmetic, science,  and research for example. 

The third equation 1 + 1 ~2 reflects the practical world of day to day living where we absolute accuracy is not necessary and where approximation helps us move more smoothly through life.