blake songs of experience
William Blake – Songs of Experience frontspiece

Sanskrit matra, like the Greek, meter, meant both “Mother” and “measurement.” Mathematics is, by derivation, “mother-wisdom.” Root words for motherhood produced many words for calculation; metric, mensuration, mete, mens, mark, mentality; geo-metry, tri-gono-metry, hydro-metry, etc. Women did temporal and spatial calculations for so long that, according to the Vāyu Purana, men once thought women were able to give birth because they had superior skill in measuring and figuring. Men imagined if they could master these feminine skills, they could give birth too, “male ancestor” told one another that if they could only learn to measure the earth, they would “happily create progeny.”

47 ~ O’ Flaherty, Wendy Doiger, Hindu Myths, Harmondsworth, England Penguin Books, Ltd. 1975


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