The Interview

The Place: Channel 9.5
The Time: 6:30 A.M. Thursday Morning
Cast of Characters: Sally James, Glamorous Anchorwoman of the B.B.S
Prof. D., Coauthor of best-selling The Mathematical Experience

S.J. Well, Professor, since I never could do math myself, why don't you begin by telling us what mathematics is.
P.D. Mathematics is a state of mind
S.J. Oh, I see. Just like Washington,eh?
P.D. If you like. But I should think that Washington is a state of nerves. Never mind.
S.J. Let's get down to the heart of the matter. Just what is the mathematical experience?
P.D. Well, Sally, I would say that basically the math experience is addition and subtraction. Occasionally a little multiplication.
S.J. What about division? When I was in the fifth grade, we drilled in long division.
P.D. Long division is out. Definitely. It's no longer experiential.
      "The birds don't do it.
      The bees don't do it.   ♯ ♪ ♪
      Some educated fleas don't do it.
      That's what computers are for
      Grocers don't do it.
      Bankers don't do ...
S.J. Hmmm. Shall we skip the soft shoe, Professor?
It says here that your book has made waves in philosophy. Math and philosophy? Isn't that like mixing chocolate and sardines?
P.D. You've put it very well indeed. After all, philosophy was invented by the Mediterraneans.
But they do mix. Math is the most philosophical of all the states of mind. Math is true facts about imaginary objects.
S.J. Imaginary objects? Like flying saucers, or the Monster of Loch Ness?
P.D. Precisely. After all, what true and indubitable facs do you know about the Monster?
But if the Monster were a Mathematical Monster, we should have it tabbed and axiomatized down to its buttonholes and spats. We could then catch it.
S.J. How?
P.D. In a mathematical structure.
S.J. (Spontaneously to the cameramen: The professor himself seems slightly axiomatized this A.M.)
Thank you, Professor. And God speed your little book. And now for The Weather. Or, as the Professor just put it, let's hear some imaginary facts about true objects.