Life and Death Mathematics

Source

Plus and Minus Armies

As a boy I saw numbers as soldiers. There were two distinct armies and every number belonged to one army or the other. The armies were the plus army and the minus army. I could distinguish between the soldiers by the uniform and emblem they wore on their chests. A soldier belonging to the minus army always had a minus emblem on his chest.  Sometimes plus soldiers had no emblem on their chests but I still could tell they belonged to the plus army. Only the minus soldiers had to wear their emblem boldly. There were only two rules I had to remember in this conflict of numbers, One plus soldier killed one minus soldier when they met and soldiers from the same army joined together.

Source

The Battlefield of Numbers

Simplify:

2 + 7 – 11 + 4 – 3 – 1 + 5

Step 1:

Separate the soldiers into their respective camps so they stand under their own flag.

Step 2:

Work out how many soldiers in each army.

Step 3:

Let battle commence. Remember one plus can only kill one minus. The army with the most soldiers will always win.

Step 4:

Three soldiers from the plus army survive this battle. +3 is the answer.

(You don’t have to write the plus sign. Only minus soldiers must always show the minus emblem on their chests.)

Source

Human Value

Though it may be argued that I am condoning violence and it would be preferable to choose more peaceful imagery I for one I am fed up seeing children wrapped up in cotton wool by well meaning parents. These are the same parents who would allow their sons to play violent games on their X-boxes and Playstations and let their children watch movies that show graphic scenes of violence.

I was at a funeral not so long ago of a friend who was loved by all in the community. Mine were the only children to attend that funeral. It is as if parents and the authorities nowadays are trying to shield this generation of children from what they consider the distasteful elements of our human condition. Feelings and emotions are dirty and things to be hidden and not shown in public. The expression of emotion is a weakness and anything that disturbs the status quo must be “fixed” or silenced as quickly as possible because we do not want to be reminded of our mortality.

There are only two things any one of us can be certain of and that is we were born and we will die. Everything in nature reminds us of this fundamental truth we seek to avoid in our daily lives. I am not advocating that we spend our lives dwelling on thoughts of death but rather to accept the idea of death as part of the human condition.

There is no good or evil about numbers. A plus number is no better or worse than a minus number. A plus number is a plus number and when it meets other plus numbers they join together to become stronger. Minus numbers behave likewise. When plus meets minus death occurs. It is natural and it is the consequence of duality. Nothing can exist in this world without its opposite, that is just the nature of the world we live in. To negate the existence of one but accept the other is what gives rise to the inner conflict that is at the root of the world’s problems today.

Education today emphasises the importance of the intellect and the acquisition of knowledge. But what good is the intellect or all the knowledge in the world without wisdom? Education comes from the Latin word ‘educare’ to draw out but we seem to be obsessed with the notion of pouring into the minds of our children facts and figures to pass exams when they crave much more than this. Education cannot be reduced to merely a means to making a living. Surely education is for life!

Vedic Mathematics

I highly recommend that children be exposed to an education in human values. I suggest that the human value in each subject they study be highlighted so they see the relevance of what they learn. Applying this learning to creating happier more balanced lives is a measure of a successful education. Mathematics is much more than calculations and the manipulation of numbers. It is a way of thinking about our existence and it cultivates self discipline, inner strength and self confidence. Vedic Mathematics is a fresh approach to the study of mathematics based on ancient Indian texts called The Vedas that go back over 7000 years.

Mathematics Tutor

I also developed an interactive maths program to help children master the fundamentals of arithmetic and which is now available commercially. I developed the software for my own children so that they would not be at the mercy of constantly changing school methodology or teachers who themselves were not proficient in the subject. I wasn't taking any chances and all of my children have gone on to excel at the subject.

There is also something to be said for a program that patiently teaches the basics without any fuss or criticism and which only allows the child to proceed with a topic when the material is mastered.

To find out more about the software I created to help children master the basics in Mathematics please don't hesitate to contact me.

More by this Author

Maria Dimsdale 5 years ago

I'm interested in whether you have any experience in Dyscalculia please? Our daughter was diagnosed with this condition last year (aged 9) and we are looking at all possible strategies to help her.

Many thanks

Maria

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man Author

I feel that it is very sad that a child of 9 years of age would be diagnosed like this. Every child develops at their own rate. When I was 9 years old I had a stammer and I could not do any maths. The teachers thought I was just stupid. I no longer stammer and in later years I went on to do my University Degree in Physics and Mathematics. The best thing you can do is stop buying in to other peoples' ideas of what your child is or isn't. She is unique, there has never been another girl like her on this planet and there never ever will be. Love and appreciate her without the labels and she will live up to or down to your heartfelt expectations of her.

EmpressFelicity 5 years ago from Kent, England, UK

Finally got around to reading your hub after you left a comment on one of mine! I thought the Vedic mathematics video at the end was great - there are all sorts of tricks that make mental maths easier, and this was a great example which I'd never come across before.

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man Author

Thank you EmpressFelicity for your interest and yes, if you have any interest in Mathematica at all Vedic Maths makes you want to learn more.