Mathematics: An Expression of the Human Spirit
Before you go running away hear me out here! For the majority of people mathematics brings on the same physical reaction that human created methane does ( that means a farts ). People see it as this weird language of symbols and numbers that they have no practical use for. That its about explicit values and absolute meanings. That is the technicality of math. However, that's like describing film as a sequence of images displayed at high speed depicting color values in a rectangular space or a good song as a series of vibrations through the air that have measurable frequencies! That is, technically, what a film or song is but it's not what we experience it as. How do we experience math? What is our experience of math?
Max Tegmark give s brilliant talk about mathematics and helps connect us to it in a new way.
Math is a creation of human beings to help describe and understand our world. From the beginning of our universe to the shape of our landscapes Mathematics provides us a language which we can understand the complexity ( and simplicity) of our Universe. Thinking of math this way comes very naturally for me, but maybe for you it is still this highly technical and confusing 'thing'.
Math is as old as man. It is the embodiment of the Human spirit to understand and appreciate our world. It's an explanation of who we are and where do we go. Math is literally the story of us and of our understanding. Everything we know now can be traced by looking at the progression of mathematics. This may not sound as deep and meaningful as it does for me but try and comprehend this.
We are the culture and society we are today because of our understanding and knowledge of the universe. Everything we have created, are creating, and will create is a result of our growing and complex understanding of our world. From the atoms that form us to the Black Hole that shaped our galaxy our understanding of the maths has unlocked our potential.
Long ago the difference between an Artist, Scientist, Mathematician, Philosopher, and Musician did not exist as vividly as it does now. Chances were that if you were a Mathematician you were also a philosopher. Early Scholars saw everything as an art form, especially math. For Ancient Greeks, like Pythagoras, math wasn't just numbers and symbols it was about understanding the 'heavens', 'god' and adding meaning into our lives. It was an intrinsic property for them. Math and Art were the same. When the first written proof of Pythagoras' theorem ( remember that triangle equation? ) it, like many other proofs and equations, set the stage for an amazing journey and growth. CG Models and Polygons could not have existed without this proof. Much like Space Travel would not be what it was if it wasn't for Einstein's Theories! But this is not about the people, they are important but math has a cool property. It is discovered not created in some ways. The idea that a creation of human beings has become a something that is not created but discovered. Its like when you take a photo. And your friend photobombs it and you don't notice it until it's on facebook, your friend was always there, you didn't create him in the photo when you took it but you still had that Ahah! moment when you saw him later as you hadn't noticed it before. The creation of math was the moment when we took its photo, everything else have been a discovery of all the things in that photo.
Einstein's Theory of general relativity is a proof ( a deduction of an argument to proves that it's true) that space and time warp and twist. We didn't create this property, it already existed we just finally noticed it. This means math is just a description, a express of what is. Just like the word 'Red' is a description/expression of a certain color. It has always been red color'd but the word is there to understand it.
This perception that math is about explicit values and absolutes is really not the truth. Math is about relationships. How one aspect influences another. Great mathematicians are very philosophical and deep. They see/feel relationships in everything. When you are trying to understand the universe there is this threshold you hit with Math when you realize that "We are the universe and the universe is us" and you see the relationship for its extreme complexity, its uniformity and organization, and its ultimate simplicity that exists to make it all work. The ideas of infinity (forever) and zero (nothing) begin transform the way you see everything. You begin to look at beautiful landscapes for all of its complex textures, shapes, and colors, there exists a certain simplicity that we can understand and, amazingly, that we are apart of. This is the beauty of our Universe. Math is just the way we express it.