Updated at least twice a week! (best catchphrase EVER)


My last set of math classes

I muse often on these most auspicious of classes.  In my last years of college, only then am I shown the truth about mathematics and I cannot help but wonder why.  Why, I wonder, do we hide things so?  Why can we not be honest from the start?  As a teacher, I know this answer all too well.  If we simplify things at first, they are easier to grasp.  Give a student a complex physics problem, but to avoid complication, pretend it is a perfectly spherical cow with no wind resistance and they can figure out how much force necessary to trebuchet it unto its pen.  Even there though, the teacher is trying to be honest; trying to show them the true face of physics while simplifying it enough for their own hands to grasp.  With math, I feel it is like alchemy-- they teach you how to turn lead into gold without revealing the truth about lead, gold, and the nature behind all things. 

I use this simile lightly because the truth I have come to bear about mathematics is quite the opposite. I had been taught for so long this golden rule of algebra: What is done to one side must be done to the other to conserve equality.  My studies in even the simplest forms of philosophy (which is ironically the twin sister of math) have me picketing against this very rule.  Yet, the intricate beauty of this rule is taught from day one and onward.

Upon reaching where I have in my studies, I have come to believe this great, unchangeable rule is a great, big fallacy.  We are wrong!  Like Newton, our models are accurate, yet our fundamental understanding is missing a fundamental truth and it is all based on this single immutable idea placed in us during the very birth of our careers in math.  

This piece, this incredibly incepted lie, lays seed to more destruction than my heart can take.  

This inception has produced a society in which nothing can be free.  Certainly I am not naive enough to think that anything truly is-- even the sun has limits on the total energy it can produce, the earth as well has limits on the bounties it can provide, but there is a rejuvenating, growing element woven into the fabric of the universe that we ignore with this rigorously simple algebraic mentality.  At one point, the cost of farming the earth for food was a considerable endeavor, yet this unique element has seen birth of technology to eliminate want for a negligent cost.  Yet still we follow this vengeant rule for the gain of a few.

Ask a mathematician what dissonance plus harmony equals.  The answer is dissonance.  Ask a musician and they will tell you that in the right circumstances a little dissonance can create a well of intense beauty enough to bring complete strangers to their knees in tears.  This is the element of which I speak.  This spirit that transcends our natural laws and allows one plus one to equal the infinite of love-- this spirit is lost when we think mathematically without being taught the true true of mathematics.  

The truth of mathematics is that math is not a left-brained science.  It is a right brained art that needs the left brain to function correctly.  Find that balance, embrace that spirit, and you will not need me to show you how to find infinite with yourself and zero.

No comments:

Post a Comment