What is a Negative Number?

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Negative Number. Image by Author.Maybe a negative number is simply a number headed in a different direction. After all, an imaginary number is real. Opposite charges don’t cancel. Antimatter isn’t the opposite of matter. Male and female compliment each other.

Instead of three dimensions, maybe there are six dimensions. Or if you include time, maybe there are seven dimensions.

Coordinate Systems

If there truly is no such thing as a negative number, then both halves of the x-axis, at 180º with respect to each other are positives headed in different directions.

What would stand in the way of there being an infinite number of positive directions in between what was formerly negative x and positive x, each rotated a miniscule amount?


Even waves that cancel one another at various points may sing a similar tune. Have they disappeared, or did they simply agree to travel different paths?


Atomic orbitals steer clear of each other. They view things orthogonally. “You take care of your part of the bargain and I’ll take care of mine,” they proclaim one to the other.

Negative Number?

So what is a negative number? Perhaps it’s just another way of looking at life. Or perhaps it is just there to cause us to look twice and not be too quick to “buy into” the obvious.

The author, although not altogether a cynic or one who delights in controversy, has learned not to accept the obvious thrown at him by his early instructors and the educational system. Instead, he asks himself, “Do I believe this?”

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One thought on “What is a Negative Number?

  • Here’s another thought: If you combine an apple with a negative apple, you have no apples. Now I can hand you an apple, but can I hand you a negative apple? Only with regard to a specific reference point.

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