## Getting It

**2003-08-17 05:38:29.386577+00 by
ebradway
2 comments **

As a few of you know, I'm trying to complete my BS in Math. And as even fewer of you know, I have many competencies and can hold my own with an integral but I'm no genius. So I'm watching
Good Will Hunting and after the excruiciating
A Beautiful Mind and really beginning to wonder: I've seen other students in my math classes (especially the dread third-year, proof-oriented classes) who *just get it*. For me, it's a constant struggle to catch on just a little (got a C in Abstract Algebra and I'm damned proud of it). But is it possible to actually train your mind to 'get it', Or is it a matter of genetics and hard-wiring at the synaptic level? This is a practical question as I stare at the four textbooks next to my computer: Intro to Analysis (proving Calculus), Complex Analysis (imaginary numbers!), Mathematical Statistics, and Numerical Analysis... I'm taking Mysticism of the East and West, a senior level religion class, for break from the purely numerical...

**[ related topics:
Religion Movies moron Mathematics Machinery Trains
]**

**comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):**

#**Comment** Re: Getting It **made:** 2003-08-17 05:54:41.11439+00 **by:**
ebradway

And I just saw the end of the movie. Good Will Hunting is so much better than Beautiful Mind in so many ways... Matt Damon vs. Russel Crowe... Maybe it's the direction... Perhaps both are stories of essentially the same intellect - one caught up in the realm of mathematics and the other able to see that what life is really about...

And maybe that's my problem. I can easily see just how tightly focused (and, must I say, fucked up) academic mathematics really is. I mean, have you ever tried to read current mathematical journals? I can pick up a journal in almost any other field and get the gist of the articles but even my math professors confess that unless an article is in their area of specialty, it's as confusing to them as it is to Joe Blow off the street. How can a field that tries to establish the simplest description of reality become so complex? I guess it's the Objectivist in my speaking, but I have trouble accepting that reality might be that complex... Maybe, after a certain point, the field is entirely mental masturbation...

And another thing - is Robin Williams very particular about the roles he selects? His role in Good Will Hunting was surprisingly close to Mrs. Doubtfire...

And one more thing... Why is there a tilde at the top of the Flutterby main page?

#**Comment** Re: Getting It **made:** 2003-08-17 16:34:19.530979+00 **by:**
TheSHAD0W

There's definitely some special neural wiring involved, and the most important part of it may be at a surprisingly low level. I'm pretty good at math (though I hit a serious wall at differential equations), and have had some experience tutoring grade-school kids. The biggest problem I see among people struggling to learn basic algebra is that they can't understand how many ways numbers are abstracted. A number isn't a number, but a concept; and when applying to real life, the item or group of items you're working with may be described using different numbers depending on what aspect you're looking at. The principal reason for the existence of mathematics is the need to compare and operate with those aspects...