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What follows could be the inoculation needed to desensitize persistent math-allergies. If your eyes do not bleed when you see the formula below, we can proceed without trepidation.
(ai +1b) (ai -1b)
Ahhhh, see? None of those nasty little Greek letter symbols that confound us non-mathematicians!
When this formula appeared one morning, crystal clear upon the chalkboard in my mind, I was actually knocked right out of my meditation.
Why would something so foreign to me arise in blaring insistence?
At that time I had become used to daily visions of abstract patterns whose meanings I somehow intuited. None of my visions, however, had ever been made so starkly clear as this one.
The relatively rare times when a single, adamant directive has come to me, it has been audible, in a deep male voice. I would know without question what to do. This time a specific visual communication came, but without any instructions about what to do with it.
Were it not for the plus and minus signs, I would not have recognized it as a mathematical problem, asking to be solved. Even so, I did not know how to solve it, so I just wrote it down in my notebook.
Some time later, my husband was providing chiropractic services to a man who was a math teacher in a local private high school. I asked him if he would help me understand what the letters of the enigmatic formula meant, and how it could be interpreted.
In his brief tutorial, the tutor explained three facts relevant to the interpretation of the math problem:
- There is no number that, when squared, gives a negative value; squaring either positive or negative numbers will always produce a positive number. How can a number neither be positive nor negative? We can imagine there must be a square root of negative one, but we shall never know it as a numerical value. To represent the elusive solution, the letter ‘i‘ (for ‘imaginary’ unit) stands in for the √-1. Otherwise stated: i x i = -1.
- The FOIL method provided the correct sequence of operations for multiplying the terms inside the parentheses: First > Outer > Inside > Last.
- The letters ‘a’ and ‘b’ are called variables. As the formula stood alone in my dream, no numbers were assigned to, or represented by, these variables. The problem could not be fully solved until it was determined what values these two variables represented, so the mystery continued.
What follows is a narrated video, not quite three minutes long, that applies the three points listed above to the mathematical problem that arose in my dream-state.
For unobstructed viewing,
put video in full screen mode and keep your cursor off to the side.
The upcoming chapter Dual Dimensions Seen Simultaneously will prepare us conceptually to discover what the variables stand for.