I have a disability that is a constant burden. In my daily walk of life, it causes me many, many difficulties that weigh me down, reduce my ability to work or even have enjoyment of life. It’s severe and debilitating.
I simply caNOT understand–or many times even remember–that most people LIKE being stupid, ignorant and blind to the world around them.
Most people cannot (solely because they don’t want to take the vanishingly small effort to do so) understand that
x+y=z, therefore z-y=x
. . .or that a basic grasp of such things are, in the very a natural, ordinary and proper human existence, useful in so very many ways that if one were to stop to list them there would likely not be enough (electronic) ink to do so.
And that’s just scratching the surface of things most people do not even take for granted, because they remain obstinately blind to them.
But it’s not just that basic, almost first grade level, algebra’s usefulness in kitchen management, carpentry, shopping and much, much more eludes them (because they are too intellectually lazy to be able to win a game of checkers against a head of cabbage), no, it’s not just that. It’s also that such folks view any use of very simple math extending beyond extremely basic addition and subtraction as magic, only invoke via calculators of some sort. (But then, such folks also do not usually even understand the formulae they must use to input data into a calculator beyond simple multiplication, division, addition and subtraction.)
My disability is that I just do not get that.
Algebra, statistics (and the calculus necessary to understand how statistical formulae work; without that, one is far too easily manipulated by phony statistics. . . just sayin’), gemoetry, etc., are all extremely useful tools–as ways of thinking about our world around us–for anyone wishing to
. . . that it boggles my mind that so very, very many not only are utterly incapable of even seeing the daily multitudes of applications of simple maths like algebra and geometry but are actually dismissive of such simple maths as non-utilitarian (though few such folks would even understand what I just wrote).
I have tried and tried, but my disability seems to prevent getting my head around that mindset.
So, when a salesman (of construction materials in the case that came to mind) clicks away on a calculator and comes up with something that simply cannot be, given the physical constraints of a job, the materials involved, etc., because he unthinkingly applied the wrong sets of criteria AND improperly applied a wrong formula, pencil and paper proofs might not be enough to demonstrate the flaws. . . and searches at that business for someone who DOES understand what the problems are might go all the way to the top of the food chain (as it did; the owner of the business understood the simple maths involved *sigh*). One out of four persons (two out of five, including me), 25% (or, if I were included in the population count there, 40%) could do the simple math.
That’s pretty typical. When I’m in the room, the number of folks getting simple math goes up. When I leave, the general IQ drops. No, seriously, and I’m not really all that smart or math-or-letters-literate*. Really. About half my extended family, for just one population sample, can better me there. And while the IQ scores I was once a bit ambivalent about (I turned down an invite to a local chapter of MENSA while in college–issued by a psych prof who had a legitimate access to my records–because I just didn’t, and still don’t, feel that smart”) say I should be bright enough to grasp why people choose to be dumb, I just still don’t see it.
Shouldn’t I be getting some sort of disability payment from the nanny state for this painful, disabling disability?
* Yeh, yeh. I’ve read more books, magazine, journal articles, etc., etc., etc., than any 10 other people I’ve ever run across put together. That doesn’t necessarily make me more “letter-literate” than any of them, and in fact, I know more than a few folks who are better-read than I am, though they may have (well, all have) read less. Think about it. It’ll come to you. 🙂
Less numerate? I know MANY people more capable in maths than I am. Many. Much more capable. Much. I struggled with college calculus. Professor made me take the first few tests over–fresh material, under one-on-one supervision in his office–because, while I could see the correct answers, I seemed incapable of seeing the intermediary steps. *shrugs* I was just being a calculator, and I had to overcome that problem in order to really UNDERSTAND what I was doing. What boggle my mind is all the people who simply DGARA when it comes to tackling any math beyond simple addition, multiplication, division and subtraction. Heck, anyone with an average IQ (about 90-110, most of the population around us. Yeh, think about the distribution curve a bit) should be able to at least “get” algebra and its practical applications in daily life, but it seems most are too butt lazy and incurious to do so.
Just another part of the collapse of civilization and approaching Dark Age, I guess. Oh. Well. Civilization was a nice thing while it lasted.