As we grow from childhood into the world around us we develop a sense of the wrongness of the world. We have an innate awareness of justice that never quite fits the world of reality. At secondary school I knew that the world needed change. People needed change. If we were capable of knowing natural justice, I thought, surely it must be possible to transform the world and all the people in it into a utopia of justice and peace. All that was needed was for everyone else to start doing things my way – the way that I knew things ought to be done. I joined the school debating society to begin my work of changing the world. Later I became a senior prefect, still following the plan. To change the world I went off to seminary, but as time went on, and the more I learned about myself, the less convinced I became that I was a suitable candidate for ‘world-changer.’ All of the problems of the world were also inside me. Much later I came to the realisation that change – real transformation with world changing power – was something we could only affect within ourselves.

Maths has enriched my life. What is odd here is that a few years ago I would never have thought I would ever have written those words, but it is true – maths has made my life better and richer. I’m no genius. In fact I am far from it. What I have developed is a deep respect for the power of numbers and pure logical reasoning. From the squared paper of my workbook complex abstractions are taken up into my mind, and there, with nothing but thought, I am able to navigate through the methods and equations that give sense to the lines and scribbles on the paper. It doesn’t stop there. Real maths should never stop there. It mustn’t be allowed to end after our final exam. It not only gives meaning to examination board questions, but to the complexities of civilisation – from the measurement of the stresses of structures to the vast calculations which help made sense of the universe. Geometry and calculus prepare our minds to think like mathematicians (the next nearest things to real genius), and condition our minds to the real task of fixing the world.

Jason Michael
Blog Author

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