Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Neurotic Mathematician

A neurotic mathematician thinks he can document every equation of a slope of a line tangent to a circle. If you follow, the equations of the slopes of lines tangent to said circle just get more complex, and it is safe to say go on infinitely and his goal can never be truly attained. He keeps finding correct answers in his little world of circles, lines, and tangents which keeps him going. Until he let's go of his original thought of documenting every equation, he's on a fool's errand with no end in the foreseeable future.

In varying degrees, this little story of the mathematician can be analogous to a wide array of people whose minds are stagnant, "set in their ways" (all I need is this, this, and a steady supply of this to be happy my whole life), who take new ideas/technological capabilities as threats and in an attempt to assuage their own cognitive dissonance  irrationally cling harder to falsehoods while more fruitful opportunities and understandings get passed up.

The mathematician who just finds correct slope equations all day, predominantly utilizes a  deductive mindset unable, or finding difficulty in engaging the abstract. Those who can accept infinite and the inconceivable on faith, firm belief in something for which there is no proof, engage the abstract.

Extremities of either mindset are detrimental when not able to engage the other. A healthy mixture and acknowledgement of both abstract and deductive logic, I gather, is optimal and less likely to form cognitive dissonance.

Faith and Reason can work together with more success than either on there own. To clarify this, call to mind Isaac Newton and Calculus. Newton had faith that the movements of the heavens could be calculated, an absurd notion to the neurotically faithful of his day. So through hard work and reason, he devised Calculus. Through his faith and reason a trustworthy set of deductive tools were discovered yet it would be neurotic to think all phenomena is calculable with Calculus.