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Note: this is page one of our Vortex Math analysis. Click here if you were looking for the interactive Vortex-N-k app.

Vortex Based Math - Ask Professor Puzzler

Dear Professor Puzzler,

I've been hearing people talk about "Vortex Math," and I want to understand what it is. Can you help?

Mystified in Maine

Dear Mystified,

I would be happy to help you out. This is going to get a bit technical at times, but, to make things interesting, my good friend Marko-11 of Wunfishia has offered to do a guest post. Marko-11 is a bit odd (literally) - he has eleven fingers instead of ten, and that gives him a whole new perspective on mathematics. If you stick with him to the end of his explanation, I guarantee you'll enjoy the ride! Marko?


Thank you, Professor Puzzler. I need to warn your readers that I'm going to do a bit of light number theory here, but if math isn't their strong suit, they can let their eyes glaze over during the math stuff, and just look at my commentary on the pretty pictures.

 I'd like to begin by making sure that all your friends understand that not everyone counts like they do.  Most of your friends probably count in a number system called base ten, which has the following digits: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.  Not unusual, since they all have ten fingers.  I, on the other hand (so to speak), do math in base eleven (you can probably guess why).  My counting system has an extra digit, just like I have an extra digit.  My digits are 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and A.  "A?" You might say, "That's a letter, not a number!"  True, true, but whenever you work in a base larger than ten, you need extra digits, and rather than invent new symbols, we just grab symbols that aren't being used for anything else (with apologies to my friends the English teachers!)

Now, because I do arithmetic in base eleven, I write numbers very differently.  For example, when I want to write the number 34, I write "31."  Why? Because it means "3 elevens, plus 1 more."  The number 87, I write "7A," because 7 elevens plus A (that's your number 10) is 87.

So I'm going to be doing some fancy arithmetic, and it's all going to be in base eleven, so you'll have to pay close attention to follow me.

First, I'm going to draw a circle, and mark all my digits around the circumference.  Well, actually, not all of them; I'm going to skip zero.  Don't ask me why; I'm not sure I actually have a good reason, but it'll make everything come out right.  So just trust me.  I have eleven fingers, so how could I possibly be wrong?

Okay now that I've drawn my circle, I'm going to start connecting the numbers, in the following pattern.  I start with 2 and double it.  The result is 4.  So I connect 2 and 4.  Now I double 4.  That's 8, so I connect 4 and 8.  Now I double 8, and that's...uh oh...that's 15. (I know what you're thinking - it's 16.  But that's in base ten.  In base eleven, 16 is written 15, because 1 eleven plus 5 more is 16). 

Fine, but I don't have a digit 15.  That's okay...I'll just add the 1 and the 5 to make 6, and then I'll connect the 8 and 6.  Now I double 15 (base eleven) and I get 2A (that's 32 to you!).  Now I add the digits 2 + A = 11 (base eleven).  Since I don't have a digit 11, I'll add the digits: 1 + 1 = 2, and so I'll draw a line connecting 6 and 2.  

Wow!  That looks really cool!  It's like a beautiful infinity symbol, which is the universe's way of telling me I'm on to something extra special that'll result in infinite everything for everyone!

To make it even more interesting, if I double 2A, and do my mapping process, it maps to 4, and the next doubling maps to 8, then 6, and it repeats over and over and over again, which, of course, is a symbol of the unending wealth that awaits me once I sell this idea to other Wunfishians!

But what about poor little 3, 5, 7, 9, and A?  What do they map to?  This is where it gets REALLY cool; 1 maps to 2, 3 to 6, 5 to A, 7 to 4, and 9 to 8.  In other words, except for 5, they all feed right into the cycle of infinity, giving me even more of the infinite energy, wealth, and cancer-fighting potential I've already discovered.  What?  I didn't tell you about fighting cancer?  Oh yeah.  That's a given.

And what does A map to?  That's the amazing thing; A maps to ITSELF.  No matter how many times you double it, A just keeps mapping to itself.  That tells me that A (your number 10) is the magical constant that rules the universe and ties together the divine language of mathematics.

Actually, you know, this whole thing would look way cooler if, instead of mapping 1, 3, 7, and 9 into the infinite loop, I map them into my magic number. Don't ask me why - I don't need a reason. It just looks cool, so I'm going to do it.

Now my vortex diagram looks like infinity underneath a Christmas tree, which is the universe's way of telling me that this is its gift to me.

"So," you're thinking, "that's Vortex Mathematics?"

Not at all.  You see, I didn't invent Vortex Math. It was invented by a poor fellow (I like to refer to him as Marko-10) who, unfortunately, only had 10 fingers.  And because he only had 10 fingers, he made the sad mistake of trying to do all of this in base ten.  

Of course, his vortex diagram wasn't as pretty as mine. Note that his infinity symbol is far less elegant than mine, and requires some extra doubling to loop back to the infinite goodness. Also note that he didn't really know what to do with poor little 3 and 6, which snobbishly just map back and forth to each other, and don't feed into his infinite energy supply.

And does his Christmas tree even have a trunk? No, it does not. And there's only one set of branches, so the universe can't fit many presents under that tree.

What's the funky arrow thing in the middle? Apparently that makes the whole thing the symbol of enlightenment. Well, as enlightened as you can be if you're a ten-fingered creature! If you are enlightened enough, this symbol will help you discover the secret name of God - at least, that's what Marko-10 says. But I suspect that may depend on whether or not God also has just ten fingers. (In case you haven't figured it out yet, Marko-10 isn't doing mathematics; he's doing Baha'i mysticism.)

Oh, yes, and since Marko has ten fingers, he thinks that NINE is the magical number which ties together the unifying blah-blah-blah of the universe, and will cure cancer, provide us with free energy, and maybe cure baldness as well.  Why?  Because, apparently, the universe actually cares that he has only ten fingers instead of eleven.

Thank you for that explanation, Marko-11.  I hope you have a wonderful trip back to Wunfishia (I know, it's a long trip from here to there, and there are funny things everywhere!). Oh, and thank you for introducing me to your cousin from Blufishia, Marko-12 (I'm sure everyone can figure out why he's named Marko-12). Marko-12 did his own magical analysis of numbers in base twelve.  He came up with a really cool vortex diagram that's like a combination of an eagle and a pentagram.  

Coincidence?  I'm sure it isn't.  I'm sure it's the universe's way of telling him that he will soar to great heights if he'll just reach for the stars.

Of course, not even Marko-12 holds a candle to the brilliance of the ancient Babylonians; if only today's Vortex Based "Mathematicians" were as advanced as those guys, their vortex diagram would have looked like this amazing piece of art! And yes, that really is one single loop that hits every digit in the circle except their base-sixty digit for 59. With all due virtually no respect for Marko-10, FIFTY-NINE is WAY cooler than NINE!


One final note: The VBM people (Vortex Based Math) people believe that their magical diagram is a "divine code," but whether or not you believe Galileo's statement "Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe," there is no denying that base ten is an entirely human construction. So if their diagram is "divine," then so also are all the uncountable (literally infinite!) beautiful diagrams (and associated magnificent patterns!) they are ignoring because they are tied to, and bogged down by, the number ten. 

It took me a grand total of 5 minutes to develop a rigorous mathematical proof that if you're working in base N, N-1 has their "magic number" behavior. If they were real mathematicians, that is the sort of work they might be doing, but they're Baha'i mystics instead of mathematicians, and they can't see the forest because of their own sad little Christmas tree...

Rather than wasting your time with them, have some real fun - learn to work in bases other than base ten, and then create your own vortex diagrams. Will they help you create free energy? Or cure acne? Obviously not, but they sure are pretty, and they also function as really nice Rorchach Tests that will tell you more about yourself than about the nature of the universe.

Professor Puzzler

P.S. Here's a visual aid to help you get a taste of "vortex diagrams" in other bases: Beyond Vortex Based Math


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