After run for rights we haven’t been doing as much at Daraja in terms of the UWC community at large. However, I’ve been doing this small project where for approximately twenty minutes each lesson I do a presentation on an issue to do with women’s rights or education world wide. Most recently, we did FGM. There was a presentation and it was honestly very disappointing because there was a group discussion, and I felt that many of the people in the GC weren’t engaged. They just didn’t particularly care about women’s rights that weren’t in their everyday lives, and I don’t know how to change that. However, I do know that in showing people global issues like FGM, and raising awareness, perhaps we can make some change. In this way we’ve been engaging with issues of Global Significance, not only by raising money for girls education at Run for Rights, but also by raising awareness and thinking critically about issues relating to gender equality and education.
In December I was in line to get food at Santai, and I ran into Manuel who was doing tech week for Candide. He invited me up to the tech booth to watch what he was doing, and I realized it was really interesting that I actually wanted to spend more time on it. So, I asked him if I could help out with The Odyssey, and thus my very own odyssey began.
Following the turn of the year, we decided to reorganize the GC into different groups. I ended up heading a group centered around creating short activities at the beginning of each meeting for the purpose of widening group members’ knowledge of issues surrounding our GC’s main topics, women’s rights, education, and human rights specifically in Africa. This was near the end of the year, so we didn’t do many presentations. Some members of the group did a presentation on the #MeToo movement. One activity I was directly involved with was a presentation and discussion on female genital mutilation. I was pleasantly surprised that many embers of the GC knew what FGM was, but disappointed that they didn’t know much more than the definition. I found it very difficult to get group members to truly engage in with the subject. I even tried splitting the discussion into smaller groups but found that they just wouldn’t discuss the issue. I know that it’s an extreme oversimplification to say that no one cared, but I certainly felt that there was a lack of passion surrounding the issue. I worked on this project with two other girls, and we were all rather frustrated by the lack of audience participation. However, it wasn’t a complete failure, because at the very least, those listening learned a bit more about the subject. In future, I’m not sure what I can do to make people care more about activities I lead. Some activities will be flops, but I think it’s important not to give up, and remember that you may have stimulated thought in others without even knowing it.
Intuition is a very quick way of knowing. It helps us sum up all the data we currently have and make assumptions based off of it. However, these days the data we receive is rather skewed. On first thought we should rely on intuition when we’re in a dangerous situation. However, intuition isn’t the best for all situations that we may deem dangerous. For example, some people may view a low-income neighborhood as dangerous, and they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, but that doesn’t mean they’d be right either. They could misjudge the people around them and maybe pepper spray a random innocent person who was out for a late jog. We should still rely on intuition when we have to make quick decisions and we’re in dangerous situations. There’s a reason we have it, it’s a useful way of knowing.
When acquiring knowledge we should not only be cautious in choosing our sources, but also careful about how much we trust them. Many new outlets which are considered reputable and reliable may not always be the best sources. The writers have bias, and the types of articles there are will give you bias. In order to have good intuition you must be careful of where you get your data and how accurate your data is. Otherwise, your intuition may be useless. That’s why we must view everything with a grain of salt, and take in information from a wide variety of sources.
I think guilt is a very hard thing to define. Immediately and most obviously it seems that it would be like remorse, or regret. However it’s more than that, you can feel guilty for something that you didn’t do, that you had nothing to do with or had no control over. Remorse on the other hand is much more connected to previous actions. If I was telling a little kid what guilt was I’d probably say something along the line of feeling very sad because of something that happened that shouldn’t have, and maybe even blaming it on yourself for it.
Guilt is complicated and I think there are different types and layers of guilt. One can survivor’s guilt but one can also feel guilty for one’s actions. It can be a mix of several different types. However, I think that guilt is very strongly tied to blame. That’s what makes The Reader such an interesting book when it comes to guilt. Hannah literally has a jury of her peers deciding how much blame they should place on her. I think that the amount of blame the jury placed on her was probably connected to the amount of guilt she later on felt once she began to learn and read about other people’s experiences.
In the same way there’s the question of whether Michael should feel guilty for Hannah’s actions because he was so close to her. Should we feel guilty for the actions of our loved ones? Maybe not, but I think that we often do regardless of whether we should or not. There’s also the guilt related to whether he should have helped her in the trial. There’s so much guilt in The Reader, and it doesn’t always make perfect sense, but I think that reflects the true nature of guilt. Guilt in a way can be everywhere and we share it, but different people accept it more readily than others. Some deny it, and try to pretend like Hanna. Some also embrace it, as Hanna may have done later in life.
One bad decision I’ve made several times before, is leaving homework until the literal morning before it’s due. I don’t just procrastinate until the night before, I go to bed and decide to wake up a little earlier than usual in order to do my homework. Similar to Dan Gilbert’s discussion of not considering all the different factors properly, I weigh how stressed and tired I feel the night before, as more important than how stressed and tired I’ll feel in the morning. Because I value my immediate comfort more than my future comfort. However this always makes me have a bad day afterwards. In addition, I don’t have as much time to do my homework in mornings so it could get cut short before I finish it. Part of the reason I don’t take this into account is that I use inductive logic to judge whether I’ll be able to finish my homework in the morning. In the past it has always worked, so why won’t it work this time? One of the ways of knowing is knowledge, and I think I consider it far more than I do the others such as reason and mathematics when I decide to do homework the morning right before school. In this situation I also do not properly weigh the validity of my premises. I think, I am tired, and tired people should go to bed, therefore I should go to bed. However, this syllogism is not valid, because while my two premises are true, they are not the only premises and I’m not taking all the data into account when making my decision.
There are some types of math that are applicable to the real world, and some that aren’t. That’s why a person can spend their entire mathematical career on theoretical maths, and a different person can spend all that time on applied maths. Therefore it’s hard to figure out whether ‘math is applicable in the real world’.
On one hand math is intrinsic in what we do, even before we knew what math was we started counting, math existed before we created it. Math arises from the world naturally, and as such there are naturally a lot of applications of it. When we go to more abstract concepts it becomes less clear as to how they can be applied in the real world but maybe we’ll find a way they can be applied in the future. We get so caught up in notation we forget that math is very intrinsic to human nature and our world. In natural sciences we can use math to model everything. Because math arises from nature and nature has those mathematical patterns we can make use of those and apply them to different aspects of nature that may not seem mathematical. Part of the reason it may seem that some math doesn’t have practical applications is that the advancement of human mathematical development is very far ahead of technology and sciences. For example computer scientists use a lot of the factorization theorums first developed by Euclid who is long dead. The fact is that when Euclid formulated these theorums he didn’t know they would have such far reaching consequences, he had no idea what a computer is. That shows how many application math can have not just now, but far into the future. Maybe our ideas of research in modular theory, like solving for Fermat’s last theorum could potentially have far reaching consequences in modeling our world and certain things in the future of this world. This shows how math has many applications not only in the present, but also in things we haven’t even thought of. Even things that don’t seem to have applications in the real world may have applications in the future. In addition, it doesn’t necessarily need to have practical applications in that sense as math can help you develop your mental faculties, which can be applicable in may different things.
However there’s always the argument that math is a social construct and isn’t inherent on the world. In that sense, math isn’t real and can’t truly be applied to the real world. Math is perfect and the real world is not. Sometimes math can have models for things but they tend not to be perfect. That’s why uncertainties are so important and common in math. A lot of science is math, and in things like theoretical physics, it may be all math. In that sense, math is used to solve questions in physics, but it can’t be tested in the real world as of yet, so there’s no way of knowing whether certain maths are applicable. That’s why we can’t prove string theory. In a lot of math, data is required, but it’s never enough to have a full truth.
Overall, I think that if certain areas of math don’t seem to have applications in the real world, they may in the future, and that’s why I can’t say that math does or doesn’t have real-world applications with absolute certainty.