WHY maths appears so dry?

Whom to blame afterall?

Okay, first things first, for God’s sake don’t blame yourself. For all this while you might have come across maths books written by authors who themselves couldn’t understand the physical phenomenon dancing behind every equation.

So Maths books were dry without any examples, any images, any analogies etc.

But why did maths become so dry? Without meaning.

There is a beautiful story in Zen philosophy which actually helped me understand what might have happened.

There was once a famous Zen master who had a pet cat. Now whenever this master used to teach Zen, the cat used to be loitering around here and there, thus creating a lot of chaos amongst the students. Hence he ordered one of his students to tie the cat to a pole whenever he was teaching.

Now this became a chore. Whenever the master was about to teach Zen, a student used to catch the cat and tie it to the pole. Years passed away and then one day the master died. The new master also took care of this cat as his own. When the cat died, its place was taken by its kitten.This became the chore for many coming years. Generation after generation this continued.

The villagers took notice of this. Slowly,the cat became the symbol of education now. It began to be thought of as an animal with some divine knowledge. It became the logo of Zen in that village.

Whenever any teacher was about to teach anything in that village, now they used to catch a cat from somewhere and tie it to a pole. Students who couldn’t concentrate in studies had to feed milk to a cat (preferably tied to a pole).

The above story that I got to read is a beautiful illustration of how information or knowledge when passed on from generation to generation loses its true underlying meaning.

It is a story told by zen masters themselves to their pupils to warn them against taking any ancient book literally without any self-inquiry.

"Self-inquiry only leads to self-discovery. Obedience or following makes you a slave. And then, even if you have the right person as master, you may get it all wrong."

........................Zen Saying

It is a story told by zen masters themselves to their pupils to warn them against taking any ancient book literally without any self-inquiry.

"Self-inquiry only leads to self-discovery. Obedience or following makes you a slave. And then, even if you have the right person as master, you may get it all wrong."

........................Zen Saying

A similar state is that of maths today. Formulas are considered to be some magical words which when applied to a problem magically produce a readymade answer.

The sweet dance of mother nature which happens beyond these formulas, very few are aware today. These mathematical equations are just pointers towards a physical phenomenon. In todays world especially when education has become commercialized and result-oriented, it is not even considered necessary to find out what these equations mean.

When I started researching the meaning behind these formulas, the feeling was of being an archeologist who was trying to figure out the hidden meaning of some ancient language called maths. Our generation has this additional responsibility of finding out the meaning of all these equations.

The people who helped me somewhere atleast to understand it were not established mathematicians but young students. They could see the cosmic play, the dance happening behind these equations.

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I hardly understood Math in school. In fact was on the verge of dropping the subject I loved the most because as much as I loved the theory of it, I could not understand the math involved in it. However I loved the subject too much to be able to live without. Hopelessly, I was continuing my love-affair with it.

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Then one day....a miracle happened,....while applying a certain formula again and again.....I came to know its significance. Slowly and steadily....other equations also started clicking. I got to see a strong relationship between Maths and the Physics it was pointing towards. They both were the same. Maths was just an easy language to express a physical phenomenon. And a bit more to that in the sense that it could even predict the behaviour of a certain physical phenomenon. Equations now as if came to life.

Every equation now had as if something to say. A burning urge to share these things with the world aflamed within me. So that no one has to give up the subject that he or she loves the most.

Every equation now had as if something to say. A burning urge to share these things with the world aflamed within me. So that no one has to give up the subject that he or she loves the most.

The book on visualizing maths thus got written as a sprout of inspiration. The blog followed. Both these are dedicated to you and all such similar minds searching for answers.

Visualizing Math & Physics is a blog dedicated to you and all such similar minds searching for answers.

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binnoypanicker@gmail.com

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