'Empire's Terrence Howard Invented His Own Weirdo Version Of Math
Aside from playing the lead in the Fox show Empire, Terrence Howard is also known for delivering the single funniest line in the Marvel Cinematic Universe when he said "Next time, baby" to the War Machine suit in Iron Man, only for his character to be recast with Don Cheadle in the next movie. (Please imagine Billy Dee Williams/Harvey Dent looking at a vial of acid in Batman Returns and saying the same thing.) But what Howard would rather be known for is ... reinventing math.
According to Howard, he was studying chemical engineering at New York's Pratt Institute when he had a disagreement with a professor over a complex mathematical problem: 1 x 1. We are not joking. Howard strongly believes that one times one equals two, and the media is lying to you about it equaling one. As he put it on a Rolling Stone profile on him:
"How can it equal one?" he said. "If one times one equals one that means that two is of no value because one times itself has no effect. One times one equals two because the square root of four is two, so what's the square root of two? Should be one, but we're told it's two, and that cannot be." This did not go over well, he says, and he soon left school. "I mean, you can't conform when you know innately that something is wrong."
Yes, he dropped out over the 1 x 1 = 2 controversy, and he's still passionate about educating people about their mathematical misconceptions. In the same article, he said:
"This is the last century that our children will ever have been taught that one times one is one," he says. “They won't have to grow up in ignorance. Twenty years from now, they'll know that one times one equals two. We're about to show a new truth. The true universal math. And the proof is in these pieces (of plastic that he builds with his wife). I have created the pieces that make up the motion of the universe. We work on them about 17 hours a day. She cuts and puts on the crystals."
It's unclear which crystals he's talking about, but we have some theories. As for the plastic, Howard felt that the clearest way to demonstrate his theory was by building plastic objects based on a "new geometry" he invented, which he now seems to be trying to turn into drones (presumably to be able to fly back to his home planet).
In order to protect his scientific findings, Howard created his own language called Terryology, which he writes "forward and backward, with both his right and left hands, sometimes using symbols he made up that look foreign, if not alien, to keep his ideas secret until they could be patented." Despite going through all that trouble to encode his ideas, in 2017 he went and dropped mathematical proof that one times one is two via his Twitter account:
Others were quick to nitpick certain details on Howard's theory, like the small fact that it's complete nonsense, and tried to discard it altogether, no doubt having been paid off by Big Math. At the start of a 162-page PDF doc on the subject that Howard posted on his site, he says that he knows "there are many institutions that this truth will be viewed as disruptive to their system of profit and gains" but "if my life has to face certain challenges so that this planet can be saved, please do not let these trials that I may have to face be in vain." The guy from Hustle & Flow has reinvented himself as Math Jesus (is a sentence we never thought we'd type).
In fact, at the 2019 Emmy red carpet, Howard explained to some very awkward reporters that he was quitting acting forever because, "I was able to open up the flower of life properly and find the real wave conjugations we've been looking for for 10,000 years. Why would I continue walking on water for tips when I've got an entire generation to teach a whole new world?" Yeah, man, that'd make no sense.
While at it, he also announced that upon receiving his own star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame the following week, he would "prove that gravity is only an effect and not a force" and then "build the planet Saturn without gravity and build the Milky Way galaxy without gravity." Unfortunately, it looks like there isn't a lot of money in reinventing math and building galaxies, because he has recorded at least six movies since his "retirement."
It's been a few years since Howard's initial announcement and, to our knowledge, schools are, somehow, still teaching that one times one is one. Next time, baby.
Top image: 20th Century Television