Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Free from Idolization

I have come to appreciate mathematical rigor, only recently. I used to be fond of it, coming to the physical meanings a logical deduction requires of. However, I don't pursue it. I let it go by, only understanding them rather than judging how true the derivations would be, mathematically.

However, I realize that it is simply impossible to run away from mathematical derivation and rigor, especially when you dig deeper into the fundamentals of nature and wish to simplify them into a few variables that truly matter. Tools like differential equations, integral calculus etc then decide to organize a homecoming party, in my brains, to show me the impossibility of ignoring them. Then it occurs to me, they are my friends, not my enemies.

The way of studying mathematics and physics that I was going through has one fatal flaw to it: idolization. It is detrimental to learning and embracing the mathematical derivation as a tool; always the method seems to present only the true solution. Imagine idolizing your computer, you then lose the playfulness to toy around with all the features, including running crazy computational algorithms with it because you love it/respect it too much. The same with mathematics. Once you think of it as a factual expression (worse, beautiful factual expression) then you lose the ability to screw the whole thing up, wrench open the inner workings and think to yourself that, hmm, this does not look right. It is exactly because of this that creative elements are added at a slow speed to the field. I bet a lot of us are scared by the symbols and logical computations. Once you look at it as a tool, like the screwdriver kit lying near you, then the attitude will change. Suddenly, everything is in its own respective 'clarity'. You are free, although the freedom is confined within a set of restrictions.

I would like to extrapolate that concept: life, is like that too.

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