A Mathematical Reflection on Self Discovery

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This piece was originally written for my geometry class. We had just finished a chapter about geometric transitions and transversal angles. One of the lessons I keep emphasizing is that math is not just about numbers, it’s about communication and understanding. Or as Danica McKellar said, “Math is the only place where truth and beauty mean the same thing.

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A human individual is like a mathematical point, a one dimensional singularity. But with just one other point, they can become a line. Now they are two dimensional, and their linear potential is multiplied. Add a third point, and that single line triples and becomes a plain. Still two dimensional, but now strong enough to support the mightiest structures on earth and stable enough to level any tripod. Add just one more point, and now you have a third dimension altogether. Whole new realms of possibilities open up.

This is what we call community. This is the single drops of rain coming together to become a mighty river carving out a path of destiny on its way to the eternal ocean.

Diversity is the key to this potential. If every point you align yourself with is already on your line, then there are no new perspectives available to create new shapes with. You need the points who stand opposite you, or off to the side somewhat. You need people with different points of view, different beliefs, goals, and ideas. Otherwise, you will always be stuck in your own line of thought, or on your own plain with only your current perspective.

So translate yourself into a new culture, wander around on a new plain and see the world from a new angle. Collaborate with someone you don’t fully understand just to see what kinds of shapes you can create together. Experiment with large groups and dynamic shapes, as well as small groups and refined shapes.

Less is more, but more is fun!

Reflect your views on a controversial topic and do your best to understand it from your opponent’s point of view. Walk a mile in their shoes. Remember, vertical angles are the same measurement, and most complimentary angles are not congruent.

When you are struggling to make headway on something, rotate yourself around your goal and come at it from a different angle. This will give you a greater understanding of what you are trying to accomplish and the implications of your success. See how your efforts, and the end results, will effect other people and circumstances.

Similarly, don’t be afraid to rotate your lifestyle around your point of origin. You can try being vegan, learning yoga, practicing minimalism, or traveling abroad all without losing sight of who you are and where you are going in life. Who knows? Maybe new perspectives will reveal new paths and opportunities to you.

The magic of math is that it reveals the structure of the reality we live in, but this structure is not limited to time and space. The structure of our relationships, our identity, and even our spirituality is all mathematical. The distance from the earth to the sun was always measurable, but we couldn’t do it until we had the right understanding and tools. Math gives us the tools to understand so much more than time and space. Perhaps our study of time and space is really just the classroom for the greater understanding still awaiting us.

So do not fear the unknown, my friends, discover it! Learn to work with imaginary numbers, write new equations, and come up with your own solutions to the seemingly unsolvable problems in this world. Together, the infinite is possible.

 

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