Henry: The point you keep trying to make regarding elements is unclear. You need to simplify.
Me: How so?
Henry: For starters, make it purely mathematical. Take away all the character surrounding each element -- the names, the histories, their special properties -- take all that out. Take out everything but its essential core and its surroundings -- like this:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15....
Me: Isn't that a bit reductionist? Matter isn't like a number line sequence.
Henry: You can always add the essential character back in. Do you think a person is defined by their DNA sequence? Describing the elements as a number line emphasizes their sameness and brings out their essential differences. Each element is like a point...a densely charged kernel suffused with opposite charge.
Me: I get it.