If mathematics is supposed to be the underlying structure and grain of the universe, but so many people have trouble resonating with it, then why not math therapy — to restore one’s personal harmony with math? Sometimes I think that, at its best, the part of my job that’s actually teaching math should approach this ideal. When you peel away the techniques of classroom management, when you peel away the signposts to important facts and theorems — what, ultimately, I mean, are you trying to pass on?
Even more so recently than ever before, I’ve come to feel that the search for interesting and rewarding mathematical topics leads in a plethora of unexpected directions. I imagine that for many of these, even calculus might be mostly or entirely unnecessary. Why shouldn’t it be one of the multitude of natural states available to a person to make, and then try to answer, interesting mathematical inquiries? Why shouldn’t it be an integrated part, if one chooses, of personal, of social life?
Maybe I’ll write a story about a math therapist.