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Maths promotes human flourishing

Maths fulfillment

Christina Sng for Maths@Singapore

How does math make me happy and fulfilled?

It is a problem I can solve and I love solving problems. In this day and age when world issues feel insurmountable, solving one math problem feels like I’m doing something. It is the sense of accomplishment that a mountain has been conquered. My world feels more complete with another mystery solved.

In “The Mathematician Who Will Make You Fall in Love With Numbers”, an article in Wired that discusses the ideas of mathematician Francis Su on where to find the best life, Su “framed mathematics as a pursuit uniquely suited to the achievement of human flourishing, a concept the ancient Greeks called eudaimonia, or a life composed of all the highest goods…five basic human desires that are met through the pursuit of mathematics: play, beauty, truth, justice, and love.”

Su says that mathematics promotes human flourishing because “…it builds skills that allow people to do things they might otherwise not have been able to do or experience. If I learn mathematics and I become a better thinker, I develop perseverance, because I know what it’s like to wrestle with a hard problem, and I develop hopefulness that I will actually solve these problems. And some people experience a kind of transcendent wonder that they’re seeing something true about the universe. That’s a source of joy and flourishing.”

For more on Su’s ideas, visit https://www.wired.com/2017/02/live-best-life-mathematics/amp

Thanks to Vika Strawberrika @vika_strawberrika for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁