Knocking MATH off the Pedestal

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Imagine a pedestal.  Alabaster stone with Grecian carvings.  Tall, majestic, solid.   The kind of column found in the center of some fountain in a big city plaza.  Capable of weathering the worst of storms.  The kind of statue where people throw pennies at its feet and make wishes and watch their dreams glimmer in that shallow pool.

Imagine that kind of pedestal.   And top that column of marvel with a math book.  Made of stone as well, in the open position, with symbols carved into its pages for all the world to see.  Such a towering monument, one must look up in order to lay eyes upon such a tribute.

Sit on that image for a minute.  Soak it in.  Absorb it.

For some people, this image could quite likely bring up nostalgia.  Old college days and a freedom to explore, research, delve into the deep academics.  Maybe it is the symbol of achievement and knowledge, a goal yet to be reached.  But no matter – it is, in the end, a positive and awe inspiring image.

And yet – for many, this image could bring up feelings of resentment, insecurity, even a bit of fear.  It is, after all, a giant stone statue honoring the dreaded math book.   A monstrous creation, to be sure.

It is to these people in particular I write.  Those that have uttered the words, “Math is not my subject.”  Or, “I am terrible at math.”  Etc.  

The rest of the world can stop reading right here and go picnic under the Ode to Mathematics.  Enjoy.

But for those “not good at math”, stay with me for a minute.  Let’s get back to that Creation for Torture statue that some crazy folks are picnicking around.  It is time to back up a little bit, take in the surroundings.  Because just a few feet away, parked on the grass, is a giant bulldozer, left running, and waiting for its driver.  This, my friends, is the chance of a lifetime.  Go!  Get in that bulldozer, feel the gearshift against the palm of the hand.  And drive. (Without hitting those picnickers) charge into the fountain.  Feel the spray of water shooting off the treads.  Hear the crunching of metal on stone.  Watch with incredible joy as the brittle concrete topples into a pile of shattered mess, wet gravel left in its place.

Ahhh!  Woot Woot!!!  Did that not feel incredible?!?

Folks, it is time.  It is most definitely time to knock MATH off its pedestal.  Because as long as it is sitting out of reach, it becomes useless.  And math is one of the most useful tools for universal communication we as humans have ever created.  It is meant for every. single. one. of. us.  And, given time, it can even be fun.

I promise.

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