The  Role  of  Mathematics


Mathematics is heuristic. It can only model or approximate our observable reality.

For example, lets use a well known mathematical constant, PI. Anyone can take a compass and draw a circle. We now simply want to know the relationship between the diameter of that circle and it's circumference, something that is clearly observable. Mathematics must use a number which can never be precisely defined to describe this obvious relationship.

Let us concern ourselves with something everyone knows: a feeling. Everyone has feelings. I wonder how many mathematical equations it would take to describe a feeling? The answer is, of course, that mathematics could never describe a feeling.  Yet feelings are what life is all about.  Mathematics has gotten so esoteric, so divorced from the experiences of mankind in this universe, that we begin talking about n-dimensional spaces and the energies which supposedly exist there, in an attempt to explain the lack of matter in the universe, when there is no observable or experimental evidence to indicate that such higher dimensions exist. These higher dimensions are only INFERRED from the mathematical postulations which cannot adequately explain phenomena in our universe  in the first place!

If a mathematician objects to the idea that feeling is the bedrock and most important basis of life, then I ask: why does a mathematician do mathematics? The answer is, if truth be told, because it feels good. There is beauty and great satisfaction in mathematics, but these are feelings.

Why am I ranting about feelings and bad-mouthing mathematics? Because science often pooh-poohs assertions which cannot be 'proved' by mathematical methods or logic, but science knows it only has part of the answer and only understands part of the picture. The language of science is mathematics, and surely we couldn't do without it, but  mathematics must be understood in its proper place: it is a tool for ANALYTICAL understanding of the universe around us. And quite frankly, if you study the history of science you will find many examples of sudden inspiration causing a scientific breakthrough, or a happy accident resulting in a new discovery (like the discovery of the transistor) Inspiration is a feeling, accompanied by a new awareness. First comes the new awareness, then comes the mathematical description of the new phenomenon.

What has happening in science for the past 100 years has largely been determined by mathematics, not observation. Einstein, through a series of clever thought experiments, developed his special and general theory of relativity, which was later confirmed by observation. Black holes were postulated mathematically before they were observed. Physicists now postulate a theory called superstring theory, which can not only explain the confusing proliferation of subatomic particles and their characteristics, but gravity as well. But this theory can never really be tested and  according to Michio Kaku in his article entitled ‘The Theory of Everything,’  

Personally, I think that the problem will be solved by pure mathematics. Once the theory (superstring theory) is solved completely, it should yield not just the origin of the universe, but it should also perfectly match the masses of the quarks, leptons, Higgs particles and others.”  In science, we are moving more and more into the realms of pure thought, and then we  are discovering phenomena to match our thinking. 

Mathematics is a tool of the analytical mind. It is Mind's way of making sense of the world around us. Emotion and feeling are probably dissectible, as they are just energy. Emotion is sometimes described as energy-in-motion, and that is what it sometimes 'feels' like.  But the FEELING of this emotion cannot be described by mathematics. Mathematics is divorced from feelings, and never the twain shall meet.

Emotions and feelings are perceived the way they are through our vibrational interpreters, the senses. Mathematics may eventually be able to describe  the exact geometric composition of the energy of an emotion or a feeling, but it will never be able to describe how that energy is perceived by an individual consciousness. THAT perception of  energy is the most important, intimate and personal thing each being has, and is unique and innate to each individual focused consciousness.

Feeling / Emotion is something completely intimate and personal which mathematics may describe analytically, but can never  do more than probe  on the surface. Feeling / Emotion is intimate to life and to consciousness itself and depends upon the unique awareness of the individual perceiver.

I will close with a joke that may shed a little light on  what I'm trying to say.

A group of dairy farmers were having difficulty with milk production. Their cows just did not seem to produce as much milk as they used to.  The Ag Department couldn't figure it out, so in desperation they went to the University of Iowa and contacted some mathematicians and physicists to see what they had to say. The scientists came out for an entire day (this was during the summer, there were no classes), examined the cows, the facilities, the whole deal. They told the farmers "in two weeks we will have an answer for you."
You can bet that at the appointed hour every dairy farmer in the county was present  for the findings.
A distinguished gray-haired physicist got up from the front row, went to the chalk board and began:  "Consider a spherical cow of uniform density…."

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