it is very important to remember [1] as Jasper Johns so well demonstrated with his numbers [2] that numbers can only refer to themselves [3] numbers alone have no story [4] no story to tell [5] only when they are added subtracted multiplied divided do numbers tell a story [6] then they have a plot [7] they mean something [8] they mean having more or less of whatever one has [9] more or less of whatever the numbers now refer to [8] but numbers standing alone refer only to themselves [7] that is why the number 9 is so perfect [6] it cancels all the other numbers when they are added subtracted multiplied divided one with the other and the result is 9 [5] 0 is okay too [4] but its particular visual quality makes certain people confuse it with the letter O or with the symbol of a hole [3] this is not so with the other numbers [2] their visual quality brings nothing to the mind [1] concretely or abstractly [2] numbers standing alone cannot become symbols [3] they cannot mean [4] they are nothing [5] they mean nothing [6] they are nothing but scratches on the paper [7] but numbers when added subtracted multiplied divided become dangerous because they mark the difference between those who have much & those who have little [8] between wealth and poverty [9] between all or nothing [0]


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