The mythologising equation of Ideas with numbers in Plato’s last writings expresses the longing of all demythologisation: number became the canon of the Enlightenment. The same equations dominate bourgeois justice and commodity exchange. “Is not the rule, ‘Si inaequalibus aequalia addas, omnia erunt inaequalia,’ [if to unequals you add equals, all will be unequal] an axiom of justice as well as of the mathematics? And is there not a true coincidence between commutative and distributive justice, and arithmetical and geometrical proportion?”* Bourgeois society is ruled by equivalence. It makes dissimilar comparable by reducing it to abstract quantities. To the Enlightenment, that which does not reduce to numbers, and ultimately to the one, becomes illusion; modern positivism writes it off as literature. Unity is the slogan from Parmenides to Russel.
Dialectic of Enlightenment – Adorno & Horkheimer
* – Advancement of Learning, Works, Vol II – Francis Bacon