By relieving the brain of all unnecessary work, a good notation sets it free to concentrate on more advanced problems, and in effect increases the mental power of the race. Before the introduction of the Arabic notation, multiplication was difficult, and the division even of integers called into play the highest mathematical faculties. Probably nothing in the modern world would have more astonished a Greek mathematician than to learn that, under the influence of compulsory education, a large proportion of the population of Western Europe could perform the operation of Â division for the largest numbers. This fact would have seemed to him a sheer impossibility. The consequential extension of the notation to decimal fractions was not accomplished till the seventeenth century. Our modern power of easy reckoning with decimal fractions is the almost miraculous result of the gradual discovery of a perfect notation.

— Alfred North Whitehead Â "An Introduction to Mathematics"ï»¿

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Plus, Whitehead's under-appreciated metaphysics is more compatible than any other philosophical system I know withÂ the main intellectual advances of the following centuries, including relativity, quantum mechanics, evolution, ecology, and information science.