Thursday, August 28, 2008

Discordia Rules Math OK, Too

Anything with numbers is baffling to me. I can still hear one of my favorite clients of yore describe how he solved a problem at work by saying, "It was just simple calculus." As he said it he shook his head, as if to say, "How can anyone not see the solution?" Simple calculus!? I still struggle to tell time, for Scrod sakes.


Another math-brain client of mine shook his head pityingly about his intellectual inferiors one day, and said that "people who don't understand math act as if the rules don't stay the same as the math gets more complicated. THE RULES ALWAYS STAY THE SAME." As a good therapist, I nodded understandingly, but several internal 200-watt light bulbs went on at that moment. "The rules stay the same? They really do? Is that the trick you bastards are using?"


My problem would be deciding which rules were the "true" ones, dig? I can still remember working out in 5th grade exactly why 2+2=5 in some cases, but not all, and I still agree with that interpretation. What's funnier still is that many years later, I read something in a book on headshrinking that used the exact same proofs I used to support the theorem that 2+2=5, in describing how Family Systems therapy works. I successfully use Family Systems theory alla time with my clients -- but it's not that damn successful with math brains. As I type this paragraph, I begin to see why.