I’ve always liked mathematics and art. As long as it’s not like calculus or something (sorry but I don’t speak alien): math and art were therapeutic to me.
With regards to math:
I liked geometry because I thought being able to form things out of numbers and calculations was pretty cool.
Unlike sociology or psychology – subjects I have come to appreciate, informally, later in life – math, to me, was simple. Since there are finite answers that have nothing to do with humanities or behavior, you’re either right or wrong. You get the mark or you don’t. Simple.
The tangible applications of mathematics in everyday life never really occurred to me up until my Grade 11 teacher talked about some sort of formula within the Cartesian Plane. It was one of those formulas that produced coordinates that will never equate to zero and if you change the variables and plot the lines, you end up with a curve formed by lines.
I just kinda kept solving the equations. It was Grade 11 math, who cares?
I just wanted that A so I can have a bling-bling report card.
During a given exercise, one of the students got annoyed after all the equations we had to solve, “It’s like.0000000572 (or some ridiculous number/fraction)! Why can’t I just plot the point to zero?!?”
To which the teacher replied (equally frustrated), “Because it will never be zero! It’s like my hand and this board! If it’s one inch away from it, then the point is “1,” but even if I place my hand to the board, no matter how hard I press, it will never be part of the board!”
…you know those moments when something is said or done and you can’t help but be speechless and/or you end up looking like a moron due to your jaws dropping because it feels like time just stopped when you have a moment of great awe?
Matter was still the same: The table was still green. The windows were still open and the cool breeze from outside continued to enter the room. The boy beside me still smelled funny…but I have gained this new awareness of the incalculable mysteries underneath everything that is tangible.
That night, I stared at my hands as I laid in bed. Memories of my childhood emerged. Both sides of my family were pretty superstitious: ghost stories, pranic healing, tarot cards, palmistry and such.
When I stared at my hands, memories of my grandmother showing me a palmistry book along with its illustrations came. I wondered about what kinds of equations were involved in the orchestration of my life.
I thought about the biological equations involved in my parents’ copulation. I wondered about the history of their families, the centuries that went on, the places they’ve been, the trials & tribulations they’ve gone through, the in-betweens among the leaves, branches, and the many rings on our family tree and how it extends to others at many points, in many ways.
Then it came to me: with each passing moment, in many places all over the world, a vast scope of human experiences are occurring, simultaneously.
Life, in an infinite array of a spectrum, is happening in places where we may not even be aware of yet, that exists… that people after us may discover in the future.
With regards to art:
I like making art because when I do, everything just goes away: time stops and nothing else matters but those moments of magic when pieces of my abstractions are manifested into something tangible that can turn into ideas, forms, paradigms… different types and planes of existence.
My film school mentor used to say that art is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.
If we apply the metaphor of art to life then moments like these… make up the 1% for me.
But now I wonder… what kind of mathematics occur, within us and in the Universe, for our creations to turn out the way they do?
Apparently, Cantor’s work is now a part of the foundation of mathematics, which probably means that it has contributed to all sorts of impacts on civilization.
He did not find a/the formula for infinity but the continuum hypothesis, to this day, is where a lot of mathematicians start, should they choose to take on the challenge… that will probably never end.
Michelangelo, on the other hand, whose approach was the only concept I was able to grasp in the doc (I repeat: I don’t speak alien) went the geometry way. He started off with a circle with lines running from the center point that kept expanding from each other, which they were able to calculate formulas for and when it kept going, more and bigger circles were forming and more spaces in between the lines kept happening, which they were able to, again, come up with formulas for… up to a certain extent, to which Michelangelo said, “This doesn’t make any sense. Maybe God can understand this but our finite minds can’t.” So he let it go and carried on painting the Sistine Chapel.
I continued to work on the equations.
I still rooted for that bling-bling report card.
This time around, I did it with a renewed sense of… being.
I continue to chase moments like these, which I know is silly because you don’t find these things, it just kinda happens… but you can’t blame me.