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Maths is Better than English

An essay you shouldnt want to read at all. Seriously. To properly analyze the question of 'which is better, maths or English', we must first understand the two terms, and what they refer to. English is the 'lingua franca' (pardon the irony) of this day and age. It refers to the complex language and its observed rules and exceptions - but it's also far more than that. What I may be so bold to refer to as a 'higher form', with more creativity and interest, is that which would perhaps more accurately be referred to as 'literature, literary criticism, and original writing'. One can easily and immediately see the change in focus and complexity by changing to this definition of 'English' - it focuses far more on understanding of devices and methods, analysis of what constitutes and 'good' and 'bad' writing (and more importantly, what makes it so), and that of original thought, the attempt to convey ideas, and do so in a way which the reader finds pleasing. All of it, however, focuses on a single unifying point - that of the communication of an idea or concept, real or fiction, practical or abstract, which allows the reader to gain an understanding of the subject, and in what I shall arrogantly refer to as 'some of the best pieces', the author. Maths is an altogether different item. Though its practical uses in every day life are manifold, it is generally considered to be more abstract, theoretical, removed. Behind the workings of every item if we dig deep enough, our body is built on ratios, all objects interact in a way we predict through maths, even what we find pleasing to hear in both music and language can find a basis in pure mathematics. The wonder of its application would be little, though, if everything was in simple ratios, easy to see. The complexities inherent to literature are obvious, with large numbers of progressively more complex and even simpler, unifying ideas; its sheer level of subjectivity makes any attempt to belittle its strength of offering for interesting discussion border on the absurd. I would, however, argue that it is precisely the same, if not greater, in mathematics. Anything can be used, proofs constructed in a practically infinite different number of ways. The contest is to find which is the best, most beautiful proof; the desire to find the most simple, elegant method. Not only is maths equally complex to language - and in many ways, far more complex - I would here conjecture that its beauty is all the more apparent by its method. While literature reaches to deeper and deeper levels of analysis, becoming more complex for the understanding of complexity, always trying to find the most complex parts of the work, maths is the opposite. One certainly wouldn't deny that huge levels of depth are made to understand simple concepts, such as the over 100 page proof for why one plus one is equal to two; but its goal is not the complexity, but rather, the simplicity. The end goal of maths is always to find the simpler, more elegant method - to take that absolutely most complex of equations and reveal the underlying structure. Its tools are equally versatile to the job - while English offers the devices and concepts, different forms of understanding, and similes to understand, maths goes from Graham's Number to imaginary parts, all with different rules and laws as a guide. Before I continue, I would like to clarify one point - the 'maths' in school is not, nor will it be, what I refer to in this essay. Just as in early English classes very little true analysis

and creative writing is done, it is relatively rare in maths classes below a college level to truly delve into the beauty of the proof, the complex analysis which is what truly makes maths amazing. In the end, it rarely is more than the learning of different rules, and how to apply them to solve basic problems. As the quip goes, 'there's only 3 problems per chapter in a maths textbook', because all of the rest are simply the same concept repeated ad nauseum. Maths, though, I'll argue, is as much restricted to only being laws and ideas one memorizes and English is restricted to being only a collection of terms and rules for grammar, where the basic numerical mistakes common in maths is equivalent to the misspelled word. To put it simply, maths is by far a separate entity from monotonous calculation and memorization of laws - its beauty is in finding the new thing in every new problem examined. One will have to forgive me, because I've gone quite off track, starting to compare and contrast the ideas of maths and English well before I'd intended. The rest of that comparison, however, I will attempt to keep here. 'Purity' is a concept which truly deserves some debate. Maths is the one subject which can truly always leave universal truths, things which are known beyond the even amazingly reliable constraints of empiricism. (It should be noted that math is influenced by people - different ways things are developed, different philosophies shown.) The one thing we can truly be sure of, and it is also the basis for the entire universe. It is the ruling factor (pardon the pun) in all the rules of physics to biology, and even controls language. English, conversely, has no true hold on maths. Maths is in no way dependent on it, and it never will be, by the very way it's defined. English (or rather, 'language') does hold one great benefit - the communication of ideas, without which, there is no way for maths to be spread from person to person, despite its continued existence. But which is more important? That of the understanding of all of nature, or the communication of person to person? I would argue that the former is more interesting, but in the end, that decision is subjective. I could endlessly justify the plethora of different maths things that could be done, and argue the simplicity of English, but the latter at least would start to go beyond hyperbole, and into purest fiction. Only the reader can truly decide which they find more interesting - the universal truths striving for simplicity, or the always subjective, changing, morphing 'laws' of English, always striving to just conceal the true meaning under an engaging story, for the reader to then discover. In the immortal words of Dirac, 'In science you want to say something that nobody knew before, in words which everyone can understand. In poetry you are bound to say... something that everybody knows already in words that nobody can understand.' But of course, that comes from someone already bound for maths and science over language. Beauty. Beauty is a concept that I will argue to be as important to this debate as any other. From the mesmerizing lines of Victor Hugo, to the awe inspiringly simple proofs for basic arguments like Stuart's theorem, both subjects have their claims. Again, that of English is obvious, and that of maths tends to be hidden to the lay observer, only found by the actual search which isn't shown in the concept, but both are beautiful. Maths' beauty even extends to its definitions, such as the lines of gravity it defines, famously painted by Feynman, or the 'perfect' features of 1:1.6180339887.... Here, the defender of English may well object. Aha! But the maths is not the beautiful thing. The ideas you

claim to be 'beautiful' are 'wonderous', but not 'beautiful'. Perhaps. It's debateable. They don't have the ostentatious beauty language can hold, but wonder in ideas of beauty that can only be expressed in maths is so similar, that I will say the distinction is pointless. Past a certain point, only a term such as 'beauty' can properly express what we see in maths. A noble defense, one could argue, but there is no indication that maths is superior! All given is defense. So how could you say that one is more beautiful than the other? A good question. I can't. Nor can anyone else. Beauty is subjective. Beauty in language and literary ideas is so different from the 'wonder' of maths and its own peculiar ideas, that no one could truly argue that one is greater than the other without assuming a large number of biased criteria, which presuppose the question. I find myself more attracted to the beauty of the mathematical idea than the beauty of the hidden messages and prose of a book. Critical thought. I've heard both groups claim it for their own, and both with some reason. The ever present attempt in annotations and literary criticism is to understand the narrative. They examine symbolism and ideas, metaphors and microcosms, all to understand the literature, and what it's trying to say - or not say. Maths is very different. It's practically defined by critical thinking. Critical thinking here is about the problem, the way of finding the solution, achieving the goal - or indeed, something far more interesting than the goal. The main difference, perhaps, is the subjectivity of English. It's always a debated on whether it truly means something. Its critical thought is the end result. Maths uses its critical thought almost as a means to an end, where as often as not, the means is far more impressive then what it was actually done to accomplish. For this reason, it tends to be more objective in its final results, though not always. Here is, in my opinion, where maths makes its mark. English ends up being critical thought for critical thought's sake. Maths uses it as a tool, a tool which becomes more powerful with each use because of its self expanding nature. It constantly tries to find new methods, something which literature doesn't work nearly as well for. Again, the proponent of English can easily explain away the difference, arguing there's to be greater. However, I, at least, find this to be the point which defines maths as superior to English. The extra critical thought the way it works, and the way it expands and turns in on itself is truly wondrous.

Conclusion: Maths is exy.