Widespread ability of humans to master games, and video games in particular, demonstrates that every human is capable of deep mathematical reasoning. The computation and abstraction required to build and do dynamic things in Minecraft is college level math. The data science one does in playing call of duty is at least mid career statistician level. Logic trees in chess or go stump graduate students…

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Mathematical education went off the rails when it became mostly a preparation for industrial servitude in the 1800s. It hasn’t recovered. Mathematics was social, poetic and expressive in its initial emergence. We should return to that with renewed devotion to enhancing each other’s awareness and expressive capabilities.

Very specifically mathematics should be removed from “STEM” and put within a broader framework of liberal arts and humanities. So long as physical sciences divisions and funding sources dictate mathematics educations course it will continue to be primarily a funnel for reified group of humans labelled “left brained.”

Less specifically mathematics should be pursued and integrated like language and writing. Every discipline and job and career views literacy and writing as an essential, base modality of social life. Mathematical awareness is the really the same thing.

We should literally get rid of math classes and math workbooks and math books and disperse the ideas within the other paths. Do math while staging a theater show, do data science in history seminars, compute the possibility space for justice, count the ways I love you and so on. Elevate math to an integrated position. Prove deep theorems by building Minecraft rollercoasters.

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No doubt we got to this point and continue down this path because we culturally prize efficiency and return on investment of our energy. Math people should do math! Creative people should do creative! I should only do what’s “actually used in the world!”

The case I would make is that by having a society that does a ton of mathematical thinking without knowing it means society cannot marshal its fullest creative capabilities-it literally doesn’t know what they are! There is simply no reason anyone walks around thinking “I hate math” and then spends 100% of their waking moments calculating probabilities (should i go to work today aka analysis/calculus), navigating spatial relations (how should I go to work aka geometry), traversing hierarchies (who is in charge here aka algebra) and ordering objects (counting likes and shares and implied intent aka number theory).

I love math. Not because it’s math and i am mathematical, I love math because I’m a human and the world is interesting.

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