Transcending Prejudice Part 1

Currently, I’m attending Secondary School and two separate mathematics classes. More often than most of the time a student questions the practical value of a mathematical concept.

“When will I ever use Quartic Equations in my future art career?”,”Why would I ever need to know how to factorize an already pointless function?” or “The hell is a boxplot? and when will I ever use it?”

Practical Use =/= Practical Benefit

I’ve never seen much of a practical use to understanding these concepts either, other than software engineering and programming. Programming clearly puts mathematical thinking to practical use. What is practical? Why adore practicality? Why go to school and study if your only reason for being there is practical benefit? There is a practical benefit to studying mathematics, like there is a practical benefit to physical exercise. Both physical exercise and understanding mathematics maintain the functionality of the machine.

There is no practical use for running around a circuit for 5 minutes. When you are doing so you’re not transporting anything, you’re not completing a task and you’re actually wasting a lot of precious energy. Although you are not employing this process as a means of fulfilling a task, you are fulfilling a basic practical need through the process. The practical benefit of exercise is to maintain your body.

Just like physical exercise, there is no practical use for contemplating and solving a matrix. When you are doing so you’re not designing a bridge, you’re not calculating a profit margin and you are wasting quite a bit of energy and time.

Mathematical understanding is not a tool.

So what is the Practical Benefit?

Part 2…


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