Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"Arrest this man/ he talks in maths"

Those of you who know me should realize by now that I don't like math. And that I'm a pretty good judge of character, so if I don't like math, there is probably something unsavory and inherently unlikeable about math and you shouldn't like it either. Sure, I know that there is some use for some types of arithmetic and up til now, I have assumed that the fault was within me -- some defect or deficiency (crazy, I know) in my understanding which kept me from being able to appreciate math. But now I realize that I am as wonderful and brilliant as ever and the villain here is math.

I was walking past a classroom today and I heard students preparing for a math test. The teacher commented that there would be "a word problem." Now let's just hold on here one moment, cowboy. If math wants to confuse the world then, fine, but to say that the problem is with words, well, that's plumb plain crazy talk. The problem with math isn't words, it is the LACK of words! So here math is, trying to obfuscate and hide its own evil by deviously laying the blame on words! How wrong is that? Math problems are NUMBER problems. If you want to fix a number problem, you add words and things get better! Imagine these scenarios:

14 * 21 - 432 / 12.53 =

The answer must clearly be a number. Have fun with that.

as opposed to

Johnny has 4 apples and Francois asks for 2 apples. How many does Johnny have?

The answer is obviously "some." Or, it could be "lots" or "none" depending on the actual attitude of that Francois ABOUT WHOM WE KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. What is his interest in the apples? Does he have a past history of apple based abuse? How does the development of his character foreshadow the struggles Jane has in later chapters? See how the use of a word clears everything up?

Historically, math has pursued a policy of verbiage cleansing, trying to remove words and replace them with numbers. Sure, they sneak in the occasional letter, but they mark is as the "unknown" - an outsider, or worse, a "variable", not just unknown, but unpredictable and changeable. And when they spell out their numbers in letters to make us think that numbers are words, they do so with malicious intent. How else do you explain that four times ten is not "fourty" but "forty."

If you don't want words then that's fine but let's talk about what kind of world that would lead to. I would posit that more wars have been fought because of a lack of words than because of an abundance of words, and by the way, war uses math. Just saying.

And I know what you are thinking -- math is necessary to build bridges, sell apples to unsuspecting Frenchmen and assess whether one is currently in possession of the proper little piggies on one's feet. But couldn't we do all that with words? Or else, maybe we could all just stay home, grow our own apples and stop judging our toes and calling them demeaning names? Math is MAKING US act as its evil minions and I for one have had enough -- note, I haven't had 12, but "enough" because that's a word and words are awesome.

1 comment:

Feel free to comment and understand that no matter what you type, I still think you are a robot.