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math as a way to know

By justforib Apr 26, 2014 580 Words
We live in a world, which is highly mathematical, even if we don’t realize it. Mathematics appears to be the only area of knowledge that offers ‘definite’ answers to questions. This quality of mathematics has caused it to become sort of a universal language. Although mathematics has existed for millennia among human cultures, and practical applications for it have existed ever since the Egyptian architects and pyramid builders, the reason why every single country in the world today has more hours of math in their public school curriculum than say, dance, music or even the humanities, is because mathematics has only found widespread use among human society in later years, namely during the period of industrialization and the need for new languages that went with it. The industrial revolution completely changed the fulcrum of society, shifting the emphasis from the manual abilities of the agricultural farmer to the engineering abilities of the machine operator. However, the obvious difference between manual, irregular, unpredictable agricultural labor and the rhythmic repetitions of the machine is that manual labor depends on the human undertaking it, and as such, is susceptible to all the ailments of the human, whereas machines are regular, predictable and unfailing (barring accidents or flukes of design, which only result from an error on the part of the human who designed them). Theoretically, machines (designed correctly) are perfect, because the mathematics involved in creating and operating them are relatively perfect. This is the reason for the current emphasis on mathematics in school curriculums. It has become necessary knowledge for understanding the machines we have integrated into the backbone of society. Out of pure survival must we now study mathematics rather than the humanities, yet is this truly a viable solution? It is a genuine and understandable concern, that of artificial intelligence, yet the true reason for this does not lie in the moral and ethical dilemmas that may emerge from too advanced intelligence. It lays in the dehumanization of society and the dependency on machines that function due to rigid, unfaltering, uncompromising thought systems. Mathematics is only perfect when applied to its own field. It is not a technique that can be used to study the human being, his psyche or his emotions. This is because humans are such volatile beings, so susceptible to change and transformation that one cannot possibly hope to establish any sort of general rule regarding human behavior. Mathematics has found a practical application in machinery and computers, yet no human has ever run on matrices or binaries. Humans run on language, on subtleties, on hints and persuasions. No person is easily programmable. No person is without his exceptions and odds that make it impossible to elaborate a general statement or formula to base his existence on. Mankind needs much more than that, and indeed, mankind is much better off dealing with more than that. Since mathematics exists outside of man’s creation, it is far too abstract a subject for him to fully grasp and understand, at least not at our current stage in intellectual and social evolution. What man can use with far more success is that which he creates himself. Literature will always be more human than math, as it changes with the societies that produce it. The same goes for music, dance, history, psychology and all the other humanities and arts. While it is true that mathematics can be applied to these subjects, it is not a fully implemented and based on.

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