Socrates in the Land of Numbers (2)

Posted by: Maria Atalanti

Published on: 19/01/2024

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Second Part

As soon as they were left alone, they began to observe their surroundings, trying to understand the environment and the space they were in. Everywhere were glass walls, there was no furniture, and although they saw distant shadows moving and disappearing, they couldn’t locate any person.

“What do you think?” Nicholas asked Socrates. “Should we try to pass through the wall and leave?”

“I don’t know,” Socrates replied. “I think I want to stay, to meet the wise ones who exist here. Maybe I can even meet the ancient Socrates, whose name I bear. He was a great philosopher, my parents told me.”

“I’m not staying any longer! I’m leaving!” Nicholas replied and attempted to pass through the wall. However, the wall had become solid, and he couldn’t pass through. He tried two or three times, and after failing, he sat down disappointed.

“Maybe that girl can help us,” Socrates said. “Where did she go, and how did she disappear?”

As soon as he said this, the girl appeared in front of them.

“You called me,” she asked them, not uttering words from her mouth but numbers.

The two children, however, understood what she said. They could now hear her words in their minds.

“What will happen to us now?” Nicholas asked. “Will you keep us here? I want to leave.”

“First of all, I’m glad that you can now understand what I’m saying. That is significant progress. It means you can grasp the vibrations of our dimension. Don’t worry, Nicholas, you will leave soon. But you are among the few lucky ones who have found themselves in the Land of Numbers. Here, you can learn great things that will help you become better in your own world and important individuals.”

“Will we meet the wise Socrates?” Socrates asked.

“Not exactly because you are now in the Land of Numbers. Here, those wise ones who studied numbers and understood that the entire world and universe are numbers and equations, exist. The ancient philosopher Socrates is in the Land of Words and Ideas. He is in another dimension.”

“Oh, these dimensions again. I don’t understand what they are!” Nicholas exclaimed.

“I will try to explain,” the girl said. “Imagine that the entire universe is divided by curtains. You live on Earth. All the people on Earth know only what exists in their own dimension, i.e., the space enclosed between the two curtains they live in. They don’t know that there are other worlds behind their curtain. Only the wise ones who studied numbers know this. And you, the fortunate ones who found yourselves here, are in the Land of Numbers. You can learn important things that will help you understand and travel through space. In your world, to make your ball move, you either must kick it or throw it. But someone who knows the language of numbers can make it move on its own. Your beloved ball has led you to this place. This must mean something.

“And Vasilis? Why is Vasilis here? Does he know the language of numbers?”

“No, he doesn’t know it. He is trying to learn it. And because his mind works with numbers and equations, you can see his shadow entering our dimension.”

“Weird things! I don’t really understand them,” Nicholas said.

“It’s okay, my dear Nicholas. These things are too difficult for you to understand at your age. What matters is to discover how important numbers are. Everything else will come gradually. It’s so great that you understand what I’m saying without uttering a word! It’s a significant progress.”

“And what do we do now?”

“Do you remember that man with the blue beard you met earlier?”

“Yes, we remember.”

“He speaks your language. I will take you to him, and with him, you will meet a wise person from your own world.”

Before the two children could comprehend what was happening, the girl started moving, and both followed her. They passed through walls as if made of jelly and found themselves again outside, in that strange landscape from which they had entered.

“How did we manage to pass through the walls of the building as if they were made of jelly, and when I tried to pass, they were as hard as stone?” asked Nicholas.

“These walls open when someone says the right equation. If you don’t know the equation, they won’t open. That’s how everything works here”, replied the little girl.

“Tell us”, Socrates asked, “do you have a name?”

“Yes, I am number 662”, the girl’s answer echoed in their heads.

In the distance, they could see children holding their balls, playing. They simply opened their mouths, uttered equations, and the ball spun, here and there. However, their attention was drawn to the man with blue beards sitting on a rock next to a lake with gel-like water. With him was another man who seemed very peculiar, with white hair falling untidily on his face, a white mustache, and a generally unkempt appearance. Occasionally, he stuck out his tongue in a funny expression while talking to the man with blue beards.

Socrates and Nicholas began to laugh as soon as they saw him. He seemed very amusing to them.

“Do you know who that man is?” the girl with number 662 asked.

“No, we don’t know”.

“Don’t laugh then. He is one of the smartest, if not the smartest person your world has produced. He is Albert Einstein. He is the one who found the equation: E=mc^2”.

“And what does this equation mean?”

“This equation interprets your entire world and the entire universe. However, it’s better for him to explain it to you himself. Here we are. Ask him”.

The man with the blue beards and Albert Einstein saw them approaching. Einstein stood up to welcome them.

“Well, children, how did you find yourselves here?” he asked.

“We lost our ball, and as we were looking for it, we ended up here, in this dimension”.

“How lucky you are! You will learn a lot in this world. Just keep your eyes open and your mind working. Here, all knowledge flows like water because this is the Land of Numbers, and numbers define the universe.”

“Mr. Einstein, what does the equation E=mc^2 mean? The girl with number 662 said you discovered it, and it explains the whole world. But we don’t understand anything.”

“It’s natural, my children, not to understand. Even entire scientists struggle to grasp it. You don’t need to understand it fully now. I’ll explain it in simple words, something you can comprehend. This equation says that let’s say, this piece of wood that you can touch with your hand, feel its weight, see its volume, can be transformed into energy, something we can neither touch nor see its weight and volume”.

“How does that happen?” Nicholas asked.

“Very simply. If I take this piece of wood and put it in a fireplace and light a fire, the wood will burn, and nothing will remain. However, I will have the fire that warms me and can cook my food. Fire is energy. Wood, or matter, has transformed into energy. Nothing is lost in this universe. This equation explains how this happens, but you don’t need to understand it fully now. The important thing is to know that this equation interprets the universe. Did you get it?

“Um, somewhat…” Socrates said.

“Try to find an example yourselves that shows matter transforming into energy. Think of anything, solid or liquid, that gives us energy, a force that moves us or objects.”

“Ah! I got it!” Socrates exclaimed. “The gasoline we put in the car. Gasoline becomes the energy that moves the car!”

“Exactly! And you, Nicholas, think of something. How do you move?”

“I am moving because I eat. If I stop eating, I’ll stop living! Food becomes the energy that moves me!”

“Well done, my children! You are very clever. Now that you are starting to learn how the world works, everything around you will seem marvelous. Enjoy the world and its mysteries. Let me ask you something else: Does any of you play music?”

“Yes, I play the ukulele”, Socrates said.

“Bravo, Socrates! I play the violin. You should know that music is how numbers express their beauty. All objects emit music, but most people don’t hear it. When you learn to listen carefully, the entire universe will speak to you. What do you say? Haven’t you learned enough for today? You need to digest what you’ve learned.”

“Yes, you are right, Mr. Einstein. We need to think about what you have told us.”

“I think it’s time for you to return to your own world now. You have gained a taste of how magical numbers and equations are. Now you can learn much more and conquer the world with your knowledge; just continue to explore and dream”.

“But how will we go back, Mr. Einstein? These kids are holding our ball, and we can’t catch it. The man with the blue beards told us that only our ball can lead us back.”

“By doing exactly what anyone who truly wants to learn something does: by observing. Watch these kids carefully, see the equations coming out of their mouths, and learn the correct equation that will bring your ball close to you.”

“That makes sense! Thank you, thank you very much, Mr. Einstein”.

So, Socrates and Nicholas ran towards the kids holding their ball and started observing them. It didn’t take them long to identify the equation that the kids were uttering, and the ball was approaching them. Immediately, both loudly recited the equation, and the ball changed its course, turning towards them. Before they could catch it, the ball continued flying in the air, showing them the way back.

Thus, the two friends quickly shouted their farewells to Mr. Einstein, the man with the blue beard, and their friend with the number 662:

“Goodbye, goodbye! We enjoyed meeting you very much! Thank you, Mr. Einstein, for what you taught us!

They didn’t take long to reach the roots of the olive tree and start climbing. They pondered whether they should tell their parents about what they experienced in the Land of Numbers.

“No one will believe us; they will think it was just a dream”, Nicholas said.

“Yes, but we learned very important things: that the world consists of numbers and equations, that matter is converted into energy, that everything emits music, and that through observation, one can learn whatever they desire.”

“Now, school will seem much easier. We know the secret of how to learn quickly and understand the purpose of what we learn”.

As soon as they emerged from the hollow of the olive tree, they saw Constantine, Socrates’ father, searching for them. They ran happily towards him. They were so joyful that he found it odd.

“The fresh air did you good,” he said.” You’re full of life”.

The two friends exchanged conspiratorial glances. Only they knew how much magic they had experienced and how many wonderful things they had learned.


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