MATH HATH PATH SATH. YATH! YATH!

The 19th century humorist, Josh Billings said, "It ain't that folks is so ignorant. It's jist that they know so many things that ain't so!"Paraphrase: "It ain't that folks is so ignorant about MATHEMATICS. It's jist that they know so many things about MATHEMATICS that ain't so!"

One delusion: "You should study mathematics in order to learn how to think." NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! Here's a second opinion.

"It is a profoundly erroneous truism, repeated by all copy books and by eminent people when they are making speeches, that we should cultivate the habit of thinking of what we are doing. The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them." Alfred North Whitehead,

An Introduction to Mathematics..Think! How does a good CLOCK serve you? Answer: By quietly going about its business in the background, keeping good time -- consulted when needed. A faulty clock keeps demanding out attention. Similarly, good MATHEMATICS serves us by quietly going about its business in the background, keeping good COMPUTATION or SYNBOLIZATION -- consulted when needed. If Math made us interrupt our work or leisure to check up on it, then Math would serve us poorly. But Math doesn't do that! And OUR CIVILIZATION, CREATED BY MATH, so testifies.

We're not servants or slaves of mathematics. Math is our servant! our slave!

We notice mathematics when its "answer" surprises us. A good example involves the CORRIGIBILITY of physics or chemistry in contrast to the INCORREGIBILITY of mathematics.

Thus, when 2 units of water plus 2 units of alcohol do not quite fill a 4-units measure, this surprise exposes the

molecular structure of matter, with alcohol molecules packing more closely with the larger water molecules than would be the case for all water molecules.NOW HEAR THIS! The PURPOSE of math, quality control, computerization, etc., is to

handle the routine in a routine (and unnoticed) manner, to spare resources for the NONROUTINE.But the popular misunderstanding about our relation to math -- MATH AS SERVANT, NOT MASTER -- encourages

immathecy and mathephobiaand isolates most people from the very SOURCE OF CIVILIZATION! This must change!ASK NOT WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR MATHEMATICS. ASK WHAT MATHEMATICS CAN DO FOR YOU! so you can get on with your life!