Gaining a new appreciation for math due to life based equations

Math was the subject that I dreaded most during high school. I wrote it off as unimportant and spent very little time studying it only doing the bare minimum to get by with a B or C. After all what practical use is algebra, trigonometry, or calculus in the real world?

I now realize how wrong I was and how math is in fact the most essential subject taught to students. Math has many real world applications and is foundational for scientific innovation and also is key for attaining many high paying jobs. I have begun to read a book about how to better help children appreciate math in hopes I will be able to instill a love of math into my children. It is a tall order but they are young right now so there is still some time to solve that equation.

A recent post I read on the four hour workweek blog showed some interesting mathematical applications I never considered. Is it possible that math can be used by a therapist to treat human behavior problems or even bigger to enable computers to cross the chasm and feel human emotion?

Here were some examples that intrigued me which involved calculations to quantify and explain emotions. Now I am not saying these are complete or necessarily accurate but a light bulb just went on in my head when reading this about how powerful this can be.

Examples from the article of emotional equations:

HAPPINESS = WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE / HAVING WHAT YOU WANT

ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS

DESPAIR = SUFFERING – MEANING

The equation for happiness seems very simplistic but perhaps with a longer drawn out equation it would become a better proof for happiness that could be used to generalize how people can become happier. The parts of the equation that are in an individual’s span of control could be the focus to help someone improve happiness levels or reduce anxiety to a more manageable level.

Look at the despair equation again. If you can introduce a program to strategically change how an event is interpreted and to give it meaning you can completely modify the equation and produce an entirely different outcome. Think about religious martyrs who are persecuted for their faith yet live with joy. Their equation is:

JOYFUL ENDURANCE = SUFFERING + MEANING

You can have the very same suffering as in the despair equation but if you can successfully convince someone that there is a point to the suffering and ultimately to even see beauty in it you turn a negative into a positive. I wonder how many mental health professionals are using mathematical equations as part of their treatment approach?

MATH BASED PSYCHIATRY = EINSTEIN + (FREUD – SEXUAL OBSESSION)

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3 Responses to Gaining a new appreciation for math due to life based equations

  1. Marellus says:

    Somewhat related : What has me thinking nowadays, is how can it be possible that a child can spend 12 years in school, and still not have enough skills to be employable ? It’s that simple. There is something wrong.

    • MTK says:

      Some of being employable is just showing an effort and trying. From what I have seen a lot of “unemployable” people do not want work and will do anything they can to avoid it.

      • Marellus says:

        True, I’ve heard some horror stories of Good Samaritans that got shafted with some forlorn cases …

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