[extropy-chat] Maths ability

ben benboc at lineone.net
Mon Mar 6 21:31:21 UTC 2006

Eleizer wrote:

> Argh, I can't resist:
> 3 - 3 = 0
> 4 - 4 = 0
> 0 - 0 = 0
> 20 - 20 = 0
>   generalize
> x - x = 0 let x equal -1
> (-1) - (-1) = 0
>   Everything, minus itself, equals zero

Oooh. Yes, of course it does.
Obvious, isn't it? Embarrassingly so.
How wierd. I've struggled with this for years and years, on and off, yet 
it's so simple.

Ok, now i'm even more convinced it's a matter of finding the right way
of looking at things ('right' for the person in question, i mean, not in
any 'absolute' sense). There must be loads of things that are just as
'obvious' as the above, but i'm not seeing them. Yet.

My thanks to everyone who posted on this. It's given me a fresh impetus,
and i'm now determined to find new ways of thinking about maths!

Especially Lee's revelations about 'number line' I know what you mean
now, and i have some of my own.
Now i know i need to get some more, more variety, more ways of looking 
at it.

Amara, i recant. I'm expanding my definition of 'trying', to include
finding better ways of getting a boulder up a hill than just pushing it.

(Daring to hope that one day, Bayes' theorem will actually make sense)

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