This quote is pinned to one of the display boards at my school. I came across it during one of our lunch breaks and was immediately struck by the truth of it. She had poured into words what I had been feeling for a long time since high school.
And this is what I feel was meant by Fran Lebowitz when he said “I assure you that in real life there is no algebra.” It simply means to be more compassionate than calculative. That in life we do not create equations and variables to analyze our life problems that deal with emotions not logic. It is like being Spock; knowing to be logical yet to understand the importance of emotions like friendship and love .And to put these feelings above our calculative nature for humanity.
One can easily live his life without math and its problems; my grandmother is not a lettered woman but she has lived a life of respect and I really cherish and love her for who she is. Although she has not studied yet she is probably more broadminded than many people I have met. But to completely shun it and say it is not required is absolutely wrong. Today if one needs to survive one needs math or at least a calculative mind to analyze situations and to lead a better life, it’s a cut-throat competition out there you can’t simply sit back and hope everything will present itself on a silver platter for you.
It is unfair and I know it because I hate math (don’t let Sheldon hear me!) but most people tend to test our mental ability through math, even our exam systems especially in a country like India. Many jobs in practical life do not require algebra yet it is better to have its knowledge than to hate it and think it doesn’t matter.
One of my all time favorite characters (fictional) has said, “In life there are more important things than books and logic, like friendship and bravery.” And she was still the only character who valued her knowledge and education above all. In fact she was the only one (mentioned in the series) who took math (arithmancy). I have to say she was really and truly the brightest witch of her age!
Math is an important part of our life, I can’t really believe that I m defending math! You see I hate math honestly and I had thought that after my 10 standard I would leave math forever for good. I soon realized that such was not the case and even though I would leave math, it wouldn’t leave me. And finally I chose non medical, it has been like facing your fears ever since. I have said this to countless people countless times that math has very few applications in real life like what do we need complex numbers for? I still don’t know yet I know for sure that most of its problems have applications.
Hating mathematics will do no good. We need to embrace the fact that mathematics however impossible to understand has its own kind of beauty. I respect mathematics. You see we are only learning about it but there was somebody who created it. They had already developed calculus as early as exodus (440 B.C.) and Archimedes (300 B.C.); that is mind blowing because I am still
struggling to solve a few questions. It is like Harry said, “Think of it like this; that they were also students once, if they can do it why can’t we?” (I read an awful a lot of harry potter).
“Mathematics if rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty, a beauty cold and austere, like that of a sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of stern perfection such as only the greatest can show”- Bertrand Russell
This defines math “a cold beauty”. I want to become an artist, a painter, maybe that’s why even though I can’t understand it, I respect it and cannot completely cut it from my life. It would be nice to not have to solve so many questions especially during an exam (3 hours and 26 unpredictable questions) but to completely not need it; somehow I know it wouldn’t be a good thing. Logic, algebra and math are not a requirement for all but it is still a need. Those who enjoy it will cherish it and those who do not will have to tolerate it; better to have it and not need it than to not have it and need it.