Measuring the marigolds.
You and your arithmetic
You’ll probably go far.
When my older son applied to do maths A level at college, he gave his reason as ‘because maths explains how the world works’. When I heard this, I replied with bemusement:
“Well, it’s never explained it to me!”
Words have been my gateway to understanding not numbers. Literature, art, psychology, theology – these are the subjects that explained the world and how it works to me, not maths.
And yet, and yet…
Looking back, I remember the science that satisfied (and frustrated) me the most was physics. To my pragmatic brain, this was where maths proved useful and practical. I still remember the example our teacher gave us to work out which would cause the most pressure, and therefore a bridge to give way, an elephant or a lady in stilettos? I also remember countering his results because they had not allowed for some of the woman’s weight also going through the soles of her shoes!
The other day I recalled my O level physics exam where we had to work out the centre of gravity for a shape, when I looked at a patient’s deformed spine and pelvis and realised why they had balance problems.
I guess there’s no one academic subject that explains how the world works. Standing alone, they are each incomplete.
Measuring the marigolds
Seems to me you’d stop and see
How beautiful they are.
Just as the inchworm in the song, we can measure and quantify our world as much as we like, but we also need to stop to appreciate and contemplate and wonder, at the micro and macro beauty around us. And maybe at that point, we can move on to considering not just how the world works but why.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXi3bjKowJU Check out Danny Kaye in ‘Hans Christian Andersen’ singing the apparently simple but compositionally complex ‘Inchworm’.
https://fiveminutefriday.com/2019/03/28/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-measure/ for more inspired writing on the theme of ‘Measure’.