HowTo:Divide by One

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Dividing by One is the simplest way to prove that mathematics is wrong. Most proofs depend upon division by zero, or imaginary numbers. As such, controversy shrouds these "proofs." But Division by One is well-defined. And while One may be the loneliest number, it is certainly not imaginary.

Analogy[edit]

Before attempting even the simplest arithmetic, it is important to have a good analogy. In our case, we shall think of division as being like slicing a cake. If you were ever a child, and ever went to school, and didn't suffer from some congenital brain malady, you should have the picture by now. But just in case...

If we want to divide by two, we simply slice the cake into two equal pieces. If we want to divide by three, we slice it into three equal pieces (or "in thirds," as it were).

At this point, the question arises, "Why can't we use a pie for our analogy?" To this I say, "For the love of God, man, be rational!"

Tools[edit]

Obviously, the only tool we need is a sharp knife. This knife will represent the "slash" in fractions such as 1/2 or 2/3. In other words, the knife shall represent the operation of division itself.

First Attempt[edit]

Since x/1 = x, we can choose any number for x, try to divide by one, and see if the result is the number we chose.

Let's choose x=1 since he still looks lonely. Returning to our analogy (where all good mathematics is done), we have one single cake which we wish to cut into one equal piece. We raise our knife, and lo, the result is before us before we even begin!

Contradiction[edit]

At a glance we see that 1/1 = 1. The result is indeed correct. However, we have not used our knife yet! So we see that it is impossible to divide by one. The contradiction lies not in the answer, but in the fact that no division was performed. Hence the difficulty resides in Math itself. Math is wrong. QED.

Guidelines regarding Knives[edit]

  • For blind people reading this article, please use a chainsaw; you will get better action
  • For anyone belonging to the Knights of Ni, please use a herring
  • For any shrubbers by the name of John, who deal in shrubberies, not neglecting the art of shrubbing, please remember the nice level effect with a path down the middle.
  • If you do not speak proper English use a stethoscope
  • Avoid round knives (those are for Physics ONLY!)
  • Neo: There is no knife.

See Also[edit]