I love mathematics.
I loved it so much that I majored in it in my first year of my undergraduate studies at university over two decades ago. When I got my first ‘c’ grade, I thought that NASA would not be interested in me and so I quit one of my loves. It was difficult decision back then.
But I knew that it would be with me for the rest of my life and I could call upon it at any point and it has been at my beckon all the way up to now. I use it in my thought processes and decisions every day.
I still think like a mathematician in many daily challenges and the many decisions I have to make. You do too. We all do.
I think mathematics comes from life and I think it explains principles of life. We can learn a lot from mathematics and I know I have. It challenges our powers of reasoning and that is one of the reasons I love it.
I also love the purity of it. Unlike other sciences, mathematics seems to be in a class of its own – neither fully complying with the experimental sciences like Chemistry nor in the creative arts.
It’s a loner. It stands alone.
Mathematics essentially teaches you to be a problem solver and I think this is very applicable to everyday life – at home, out in the sporting field or at work. It teaches you and excites you to ‘learn how to learn’, again. This is very important because most adults stop learning once they leave the educational system.
Not ideal at all. There is just so much to learn, so much great nutrition for the brain and the enhancement of the mind.
It is easy for anyone to do a puzzle if someone has told you the answer. Yes, but this is simply a test of memory. No, a mathematician is someone who feels he or she is able to solve a problem that neither you, nor anyone else, has studied before.
Now, this my friends, is the beauty of mathematics – where it teaches you the powers of reasoning.
Even if you disliked mathematics in school or still do, mathematics is all around us. Both geometry and arithmetic are closely connected with everyday life – look around at all the buildings – your home, your church, your temple, your roads. It’s everywhere.
Society cannot function as it does without mathematics.
What about arithmetic? It’s everywhere too – we measure everything don’t we? What is your salary? How do you confirm that what you are paid is what was agreed upon? What about paying two $2 coins to a bus driver for a $5 ride? What do you think he will do? Do you think he would accept this? I don’t think he would, would he? I think he would regard the two times two dollar coins equals four dollars and not five dollars, and tell you that you are a dollar short. Why?
Well, probably because it is well entrenched and established by the experience of everyday life. That bus driver has always known two and two equal four. Nothing else.
My question is why can’t two and two equal five? Why not?
Probably because we can’t imagine two times two equalling five. Why can’t magicians who perform miracles every day in front of an audience turn two plus two in to five? This miracle would impress me more than any other miracle.
But, that is not the point of this blog. The point I am trying to get to is that we simply cannot imagine two plus two equalling five. This is where imagination has its limitations.
Why is this? Why can’t we imagine two and two equalling five or any other number but – four? Maybe because in the whole of human history two plus two has always equalled four, nothing more, nothing less. Our mind has not needed to imagine it any other way.
I think the answer lies in the way my children and all the children and all of us have learned, to speak for example. My children learned how to speak by hearing my wife and I call them by their names. They first learned their names and our names and then household objects and so on. They then learned words describing how they felt like “ are you tired?” “Are you tired?” or “she looks happy” or “say you are sorry”.
It is the same way that mathematics has evolved.
Mathematics is so pure that it is just like life. The meaning of love and being wise, for example, we have to learn from everyday life just like children learn how to speak words. We understand better, directly from our own experiences – what we see, what we feel and what we do. The extent lies in awareness.
Mathematics, just like philosophy has roots that lie in the common experiences of daily life. Mathematics evolved from and through life and reasoning is not separate from the other powers of the mind and other parts of life. No, it is intricately connected.
Reasoning has grown from experience. This is a fact of mathematics. This is also a fact of life. This is the only way we learn from life – through direct experience of everyday life. You’ve learned that way, I have too. I see my children learning that day-by-day. Beautiful isn’t it?
If this is the way we learn best, then it follows that we should become better students at it, at life, that is. We should become the best students we can be OF LIFE.
So, back to my question: Why can’t two and two equal five?
It’s very difficult to imagine anything else, isn’t it? Just like if I asked you to imagine a new colour. You would find that you would be combining the effect of colours that you have already seen. A law well known to psychologists is “There is nothing in imagination which was not previously in sense.”
If anyone two hundred years ago had prophesized what the world would be like to-day, he would have surely been considered insane and thrown in to a mental hospital or crucified.
So, when the fact that we are unable to find reason with making two and two equal five demonstrates one of the limitations of imagination – it is outside the experience we have had.
Our experience has not been touched. We do not have wings and have not learned how to ‘fly with our minds’ yet.
Maybe, just maybe, we need to imagine better – without boundaries of schooled thought. We need to lose our inhibitions in imagination like what alcohol does to us when we drink a little too much. Maybe, we have all been using our minds incorrectly, maybe we have not fully utilized our powers of imagination and ‘seeing what we don’t see’. Maybe we will find reasons and possibilities if and when we have expanded our imagination to see clearer pictures and numbers.
Pictures and numbers in our minds that we have never seen before. Generating our power of reasoning through experimental imagination.
Maybe then, two and two could equal five. But, for now we know nothing else and probably should accept it as four as society may classify one as insane.
But, in a hundred years from now …. Anything is possible. Newer colours … two and two equalling five … mental telepathy …. Maybe we will be able to fly after all … that starts off with ‘wings of imagination’.
We’re only limited by our imagination.
Imagine A BETTER YOU. A BETTER WORLD. A BETTER TOMORROW. A BETTER LIFE.
Imagine you being YOUR BEST …. Even if the attainment of it seems ridiculous or impossible when you try to. It is obvious that no one can predict the future, it would not do you any harm by imagining a better one.
Never, ever, ever give up in imagining a better YOU.
Make believe that 2 and 2 equal 5.
Tell no one.
Until next time,