This question reminded me of a possibly stupid idea that I had a while back.

On page 2 of this paper, while discussing Euclid's axioms of plane geometry and spatial geometry, Manin makes an extremely interesting comment:

Euclid misses a great opportunity here: if he stated the principle

“The extremity of an extremity is empty”,

he could be considered as the discoverer of the

BASIC EQUATION OF HOMOLOGICAL ALGEBRA: d^2 = 0.

Ever since I read this, I've had a suspicion that the equation "d^2 = 0" of homological algebra is somehow related to the equation "epsilon^2 = 0" of (first-order) calculus (as in Newton)*, since the latter equation can be interpreted as saying "a very very small quantity is zero" which at least superficially seems similar to "the extremity of an extremity is empty". I once explained my suspicion to Dan Erman over beers, and he responded by asking another question: Can we do some sort of homological algebra using the equation d^n = 0 rather than d^2 = 0? Perhaps if d^2 = 0 can be related to first-order calculus, then d^3 = 0 can be related to second-order calculus, and so on...

I don't really have a specific question to ask -- I just thought I might put this idea out there. Maybe someone can tell me why this idea is stupid, or why it is not stupid.

*or the ring of dual numbers k[epsilon]/(epsilon^2) if you're an algebraist or an algebraic geometer.