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Bits, ink, particles, and words.
We often equate mathematics with numbers, as if mathematics doesn’t extend further than doing arithmetic. Each time this happens, I have to restrain myself from going on a rant. I want to grab the person by the collar and exclaim, “There’s so much more to mathematics than just numbers! It’s like saying that running is just a bunch of one-legged hops. While that might be technically true, it’s not the way most people would describe their experience. In the same way, mathematics is way larger than just numbers.”
Note: This post uses MathJax for rendering, so I would recommend going to the site for the best experience.
One of the most difficult things to do in life is to focus. Maybe you’re different than me, but I have a lot of trouble sitting down and focusing on one task or idea. Instead, my mind buzzes with activity while my hands do another. I’m always switching between ideas, and it takes a lot of energy to focus on just one.
No matter how much advanced mathematics you study, the great thing is that you rarely have to accept anything as-is. If you come across a procedure, technique, or result and you wonder how in the world it works, you can always retrace your steps and get back to the foundational reasons as to why it works. If you keep on asking “why”, you will eventually get back to your starting axioms. In between that and your starting point, you should be able to understand the concept as obvious.