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Math vs. Humanities

I was listening to a couple of Microsoft engineers talk about college tonight. One guy mentioned how strange it is that the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology -- The Russian MIT -- has no humanities.

"In India we had to do all of that philosophy sh*t and ..."

"We don't do that in the East Block," the other guy interrupted. "We have polytechnic schools for math and science. I was studying computers. I had no need for the other bullsh*t."

I laughed, and he stared at me alarmed.

"I'm sorry if I offended you," he said.

"No. That was awesome," I assured him.

But it wasn't awesome. It sucked, because I was bullsh*t in the context of that discussion.

What is it they say; the truth hurts?

You don't want an artist on your team in the race for ultimate greatness. You want someone like John Nash who sees the algorithms in daily life. You want someone who can mathematically simplify dating and the battle of the sexes for people who need instruction manuals.

If women (V) hate men who swing their dicks around like Tarzan (T) -- and eight of 10 men (M) are dick swingers -- let the T drop in pissing matches so M gets V. (If I was John Nash, I could say that with triangles and funny, squiggly symbols that mean something to folks at MIT.)

ALTHOUGH ...

I did get an A in logic -- it's shocking, I know, to the long list of people who've threatened to kill me  in political battle.

What if we replaced the dick-swinging Tarzans in my equation with mathematicians; men with artists; and women with the world? It's reasonable that dick-swinging math gods will cancel their usefulness one day inventing The Perfect Computer, AKA the Doomsday Device, the Terminatior, C-3PO ... But I'm not certain in this scenario whether the artists or the robots will inherit the world.


Comments

  1. I keep seeking signs of humanity in society but most of the world works overtime to squelch it ...I imagine the scientific immunity would operate better if they had the ability to communicate.... But that might require an inclusive curriculum.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Community...not immunity....thanks QuickFill!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. EVERYTHING feeds on SOMETHING and is food for SOMETHING else. What's eating you?
    What in the Universe are you making energy suitable for?
    Violence VS Harmony

    ReplyDelete
  4. Please don't confuse mathematicians with engineers.

    Nobody is more contemptuous of engineers than mathematicians. What we do is completely different. Math IS a humanity, a liberal art if you will.

    Engineers do trivial, small-minded calculations.
    Mathematicians contemplate infinity, higher dimensional spaces, patterns and knots and maps and piles of sand.

    We do math because it is beautiful. In the same way that a writer writes or a musician plays, mathematicians prove. It is about aesthetics more than anything.

    Math doesn't teach you to solve problems. It teaches you how to reason, rigorously and from first principles. You discover the most complicated and mind boggling truths. That takes creativity, imagination. Even in a upper level undergraduate class, if you can't visualize four or five spatial dimensions, you're in trouble.

    Sorry for the rant a year after you posted, but I travel the internet, trying to correct people's misconceptions about math.

    As G. H. Hardy put it: A mathematician, like a painter or a poet, is a maker of patterns. If his patterns are more permanent than theirs, it is because they are made with ideas.

    ReplyDelete

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