Today, the people at Daily Prompt ask us “Which subject in school did you find impossible to master? Did math give you hives? Did English make you scream?“
For me, that would be maths.
See that scrawl of mathematical symbols in the picture above? That’s how I picture mathematics, that’s what it means to me. It’s another language, completely incomprehensible and very very difficult for me to understand.
I know that for some people it’s must a matter of memorising a list of formulas, because each formula has a purpose and and each of them can be put into categories according to purpose or type.
I know that it’s easy for some people to memorise the list of formulas because to these people each of the formulas is just a series of simple and logical steps which they follow methodically to get from point A to point B as they travel in their minds along a line of calculations.
I also know that I won’t allow myself to do the same, because I can’t just accept things and memorise them.
I need to know why things are the way they are, and I need to know why I should give a damn.
Nobody ever explained to me why we performed these calculations, why we were using these alien symbols, why we did things the way we did (or how to play around with numbers in order to reach the same answer in different ways and then check the results by performing yet more calculations) or how I should apply it outside of the classroom.
The thing is, I regret that now, because I’ve seen so many documentaries and movies which show just how fascinating the numbers can be when you’re using them to understand how and why things are the way they are, or how and why things happen.
Like music for example. Mathematics can explain why we like jazz music, why the chaos of jazz intriguing as our minds search for order amongst the seemingly random plethora of sounds.
Or how about nature? Mathematics can explain so many things, explain how it’s all connected…
Perhaps one of these days I’ll be motivated enough to give maths another try.
Till later then…