It’s all a puzzle.

Mathematics and I have a curious relationship.

I’m a very audiovisual-oriented thinker. If I can truly visualise a problem, I can solve it. This is where physics and I have problems, because there are too many specialised methods, and visualisation can break down fairly easily. On the other hand, equations arrange themselves in my mind, graphs plot in my head, and all of this just fits.

That’s not to say math is easy. Quite the contrary; as I’m writing this in my notebook, I’m avoiding working on my homework, so I can develop some peace of mind before taking up the project again. No, what happens is exhaustion — mental exhaustion and unfamiliar concepts forming a vile brew that corrupts everything I’m working on.

So I go away, leave it behind, do something else, calm down, break the pieces up and set them aside in my mind, where they fade out and leave only a few pure concepts to be explored once I have some time to really look and see what I need. My physics professor last semester said it well: « Go home, drink a beer, relax for a while, and then try it again. »

Now, he was talking about the midterm exam, which I was going to do horribly on because for whatever reason, physics is no longer the area where I have strong analytic skills. (Just as an aside, I do miss physics, but I think Mathematics is a more sure route to my interests, and my enjoyment.)

I look at this state of « blockedness » as a symptom of too much work; really, there is such a thing. After classes, the last thing I needed to do was start working immediately. Unfortunately, today, I did that, and I set back my homework by at least an hour, if not more.

Editorial post-script: I got back to the rez and promptly solved the two remaining problems in about an hour, tops. This is being typed and posted a few weeks later, because I’m a lazy bastard.

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