Monday, June 29, 2009

Bad Math


In math you cannot know the sum before you know all the numbers to be added.

If you pre-suppose the sum is ten, then find the added numbers are 5, 3, 2, and 2, you are wrong. You cannot simply throw out one of the 2s to make yourself correct.

It is ridiculous in math yet we do it all the time in social situations.

We all have opinions and make generalizations whether it be about class, race, gender, age, whatever. We think we know the sum but very few make an attempt to find the individual digits to be added up.

Of course I know white/black people, I see them everywhere. I know because I watch, I pay attention. So goes perception.

I can look at a number 9, but if there is no context, I'll never know if the paper is upside down. Now if I can find 3+3+3 then I know it is in fact a 9.

What happens more often is people find 3+3 and then try to make up another 3, rather than accept that they might be wrong. Rarely does one consider the 6.

Most of us don't really want to know the answers, we only want to know if we are right.

The more I ponder this, the more I think I'm right, which helps prove my point.


Lindsey said...

I'm an English major--YOU do the math. Now, if you could come up with what you're saying in terms of adjectives, verbs, and nouns I'm with ya', but I'm apt to think that 3+3+3=10 just because I'm bad with numbers.

Corbie said...

I do agree that most of us just want to be right. It is a basic human need of sorts, so much so that we will even cause our environment to change in an effort to make us 'right'. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, we will call forth whatever things we want to be 'right' about (thugs of a certain race, perpetrators of a certain gender) in order to 'right' things in our own mind and not have to examine whether these 'truths' are actually true.

Jake the Snake said...

I must disagree with you! I don't believe that most of us want to be right. I think that we simply don't want to be wrong. We don't care if we are right in thinking that 3+3=9. We believe it is that way and have always thought so, and we are content with living in our happy world where what we believe is what we live by. The real problem comes when someone tells us that the answer is actually 6. We are too lazy or too uninterested in finding out what the actual numbers are and what adds up to equal a sum, we just want to continue in our state of ignorance. We don't have to be right, but nobody wants to be wrong.