Doing the math: Why Ontario students need to stop whining about the lack of art and wonder why they are so arithmophobic.








I am taking a short course from Oxford University at the moment called Learning to Look at the Visual. It is an extremely good course that goes over the basics of art — and reminds me how many mathematicians were also very capable artists. They used the Golden Ratio and their works endure to this day, centuries after they breathed their last.

But we have the CBC enabling the temper tantrums of students who are avoiding the STEM subjects and not getting enough math they need to be capable musicians, writers, and artists.

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This has nothing to do with students wanting arts: this is their hack of avoiding the STEM subjects in order to beef up their marks.

You don’t have arts, take math. It is as simple as that. There are private and group lessons and no shortage of very good artists and musicians who can tutor you if you have a genuine talent. Many artists are autodidacts, meaning they are self-taught. Pinterest and YouTube have countless lessons free online, meaning many programs have become obsolete. There are Meet-Ups and free lessons at libraries and the like.

If you are determined to take those kinds of lessons, we have no shortage of venues for you.

That’s not the issue. The issue is that mathphobes and sciencephobes are now in meltdown mode because they can’t game a system to bloat their marks.

I am an artist, and one who uses both the math and the science in my work. I am an author, and I also use math and science there, too. When I taught metalworking at Niagara College, I insisted on teaching in a science lab because I used the same tools, equipment, chemicals, and processes as did professors teaching science. The science professors were having fits because of it, but it was their limited imagination that was the problem, not mine.

The problem is we have an artificially constructed line in the sand where STEM is separated from the Humanities, which is bullshit. We have an educational system that allows people to run and hide from subjects that will require them to work hard and not get an inflated mark to delude their egos.

The educational system is in need of an overhaul to do away with the rigs that enable dangerous delusions that one can bypass the hard work and still be considered educated and smart. Sometimes, you have the lowest mark in the class, and fuck your wallowing and self-esteem issues. Get over yourself. It isn’t about your raging ego. Hit the books and study, study, study.

Fail, fail, fail, until you achieve mastery. Fuck your smartphone and your tacky Instagram page.

The basis of logic is math. The basis of reality is science. We don’t teach it enough — math, music, and literature is merely applied math and science. They are not separate.

If it were up to me, math and logic would be the backbone of every single subject in school. There would be no “electives”. There would be math and logic.

I am an author and artist who uses math, logic, and science in my work; somehow, I always write and make art, and with my theremin, I do music, too.

So you don’t have the electives you want. Life is hard. Deal with it. Take the plunge with a really challenging subject that is completely out of your comfort zone. I did when I was in high school, and I skipped grades. That’s how I managed to find all of the things I never knew I was good at and loved that are still with me to this day…