One is Not the Loneliest Number

golden-ratio-fibonacci-sequenceAccording to Three Dog Night

One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do
Two can be as bad as one
It’s the loneliest number since the number one

I couldn’t disagree more.

You see, one also has zero. The two of them make a potent combination for the two, in varying sequences, can produce an infinite array of results.

One and zero. On and off. Yes or no. True or false. Yin and Yang. Light and dark. Good and evil. Boolean ~ a data type with only two possible values.

On the surface, this may seem obvious. It may also seem like an essay designed for the computer geeks. Au contraire. This binary concept is of immense value to most anyone faced with a daunting task, a difficult decision, in an intractable dispute, or engaged in a barroom bet.

We are all often faced with difficult decisions or complicated tasks. I have found it useful to consider that most anything can be deconstructed to very basic components. For instance:

Turn on the light;

  1. approach switch – are you close enough to reach it with your outstretched arm?
  2. extend the arm – can you touch the switch?
  3. extend finger – do you have enough contact to move the switch?
  4. flip switch (irony) – did it move?
  5. assess light status – did the light change its status (on or off)?

Each of these simple steps can be further broken down to assess status at each phase of its execution. Status checks should always be evaluated as binary decisions – yes/no, on/off, 1/0, true/false.

In this manner, virtually everything we do can be broken down into a series of binary decisions – the value of which will dictate our next action or decision.

One with its buddy, zero, is the shit.

Leave a Reply