# Is math really just counting one and two?

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I took up classes again, to get high-school, and I struggled somewhat with math, the teacher didnt really teach anything about how it works, only how to do it, but, I sort of still struggled, and I also noticed that more rational people struggle with it also, its like math is only there to filter out the people who arent really in the same group as the rest of the society, so, Im not saying its for just irrational people, but I started to think about it a little, math I mean, in the old days they just used it for building simple houses and used inches, so heres my problem with it then, if you take a ruler and measure the lenght of something, no matter how small you make the markings on it, you can still make it smaller, so the idea of math itself is kinda irrational, you can always make it smaller, even if you measured the length of one atom, two atoms, and so fourth, you can still go even smaller, I know tools are kinda primitive to use anyways, but isnt it really a problem that you can go smaller and smaller forever, it kinda indicates that math itself isnt very accurate, and therefore not valid? People who are more irrational in nature seems to have a easier time with it also, I discussed this very thing with some friends that are interested in math also, but finally one of them said that you can still count one and two..

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When I was struggling with the idea of maths, my grandad told me "Maths is a language and not a problem". It's a way of describing the universe in a quantitatively standard way that means the same to anyone who looks at a mathematical description. Our national  spoken language can only really describe quantitiitive things in a qualitative way, such as "That cornfield is really big". How big is 'big' is left to the imagination of the listener, and that's were maths is useful for sharing the idea of size in a way that can be accurately shared and replicated by someone else, just on the basis of a few symbols.

Infinite and infinitesimal concepts that you have an issue with are just where our quantitative ideas break down. They aren't believed to be real in the sense that they reside in things outside of our minds... we just can't currently explain something with infinite/infinitesimal limits. Maths doesn't always describe reality accurately.

Edited by StringJunky
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You seem to be jumping from math ro physics.  Math starts with arithmetic, next elementary algebra, plane geometry, etc.  From your description you need a start at the very beginning.

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Math is a generic word for many different uses for numbers;  arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus and others.  Having spent years as an engineer using different types of math, and also some years teaching math, I think the best way to look at math is that it is a set of tools.  Just as a carpenter has tools (hammers, saws, etc) and a mechanic has tools, and a person who makes quilts has tools, so also there are many jobs and hobbies where you need tools using numbers to be successful.  Which number tools you need depends on the job or hobby.  In some jobs, counting (one, two..) is about all you need, in some others, the tool is extremely difficult math.

So-- don't think of math as one thing just for irrational people (or some other set), but rather as a set of tools.  Whether or not you need those tools, and which of the math tools it might be, depends on what you want to do.

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11 hours ago, mathematic said:

You seem to be jumping from math ro physics.  Math starts with arithmetic, next elementary algebra, plane geometry, etc.  From your description you need a start at the very beginning.

Those are tools to build models which describe what we observe, predict, verify and universally understand. So math, using different forms, is a language & tool allowing us to do science and communicate our results to each other from past to present and on to the future.

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19 hours ago, Overkommer said:

I know tools are kinda primitive to use anyways, but isnt it really a problem that you can go smaller and smaller forever, it kinda indicates that math itself isnt very accurate, and therefore not valid?

Our tools ALWAYS function well within the limits of their design, but no further, and that's their nature. My yardstick can't measure everything but it does a great job on many flat objects between 1 inch and 36 inches. Nothing irrational about that.

Just because you can go smaller it doesn't mean you have to. Function determines the level of precision and accuracy required, so if your maths aren't valid it's because you chose the wrong yardstick. Inches work pretty well when we're "building simple houses", and not so well when we're trying to make a particle accelerator work.

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