Intimidation by Math

From my background in engineering, a certain level of math was required. I did very well in calculus, especially. Many of my classmates joked that once we finished calculus we lost the ability to count. It’s more likely that we had little practice counting when we were busy integrating the volume of a mug or other random object.

I find it interesting that so many people in our society are math-phobic. They refuse to see where they use math, ask questions like ‘what good is algebra in everyday life,’ and shy away from anything as complicated as long division. I also find it sad, though.

Math is like another language. Music is similar in that way. Some people understand it, and others don’t. The difference between speaking Math and speaking French – to someone who doesn’t know either – is one seems ‘geeky’ and the other seems ‘educated’. By the word ‘seems’ I mean that people view the person in a way, not that they actually are.

Some days I want to write a book to explain why math is beautiful, how it changed our society, and what wonderful things we can do because of it. I also want people to remember how they use it even when they think they’re not.

Common card and board games? Cooking from recipes? Paying bills? Maybe paying bills isn’t fun, but we’re required to do it, and all these things and more need math.

The question that’s really on my mind is: where did the fear of math come from and why is that fear embraced by so many?