Mathmatics or "it's all Greek to me" Reply #25 – 2010-11-17 17:54:45 Quote from: BearcatSandor on 2010-11-16 22:13:57Thanks for the encouragement. I think it will also be different for me simply because i'm doing it for me rather than being in school. I had trouble with math because my mind works in little visions, not words or numbers at all. If i ask someone to pass the salt, i see a vision of them doing so and project an emotion of 'want'. Then i take that and translate it into words. Conversely, when someone speaks to me the words are translated back into vision form. I don't know if you're similar but your statement of things making since because you can visualize them is a familiar sentiment. Math is troublesome as i've only recently figured out that what i need to do to make "2+4" make any sense to my mind is to visualize myself stacking two rocks on top of four of them and count them. I find i'm *very* fast at that and i can do simple algebra in my head in ways i never could before i started doing this about a year ago. Calculus? I'll figure out a way to make it work i guess.Psychologists have found that there are three main styles of thought: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic -- touch and movent. We each have a preferred sensory modality, and a secondary one. Your primary modality appears to be visual, and I'm guessing on the basis of your salt shaker example and the fact that you translate your thoughts into words, that your secondary one is kinesthetic. Also, some people are more at home in the realm of intuition, and others of the concrete. So I don't think there's anything abnormal or even unusual about the way you think, or that it precludes an understanding of advanced mathematics. The trick I think is to approach the topic from the angle with which you're most comfortable, which is, in your case, visual.Calculus is, fortunately, almost as visual as addition. At it's essence, it's nothing more than the slope of a line on a graph, and the area under the line; that can be extended to multiple dimensions (as it is in ambisonics), but the concept is basically the same. What's more, integral calculus is basically glorified addition. You could stack those rocks of yours under a rope and count them and you'd have the area under the rope, expressed in units of rocks. You could stack those rocks in a tent and count them and you'd have the volume of the tent, again, expressed in units of rocks.The difference between calculus and mundane kitchen measurements is that in calculus, you make the rocks vanishingly small, so you can get a perfectly accurate "analog" measurement of the area or volume. You can see intuitively that if you filled a cup with rocks and another with fine sand you'd get a more accurate measurement of the cup by counting the grains of sand than you would by counting the rocks. Newton and Leibnitz made the remarkable discovery that you could continue the process of downsizing the rocks until they were infinitely small and there were an infinite number of them, and still get results that were finite, as they would be if you used water to determine the volume of the cup rather than rocks or sand.