mathematical literacy

Adult Home Study for Hellenic and Roman Polytheists 

How do we know what we know about the gods? Much of our knowledge comes from mythology: ancient tales about the gods, fantastic creatures, heroes, and mortals.

There is another meaning of the word “myth”: “widely held, but false, ideas or beliefs,” and all too many of the readily available sources of information about mythology fit that definition. A vast majority of the general population discovers Greek and Roman mythology from motion pictures, video games, and general texts like D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths and Edith Hamilton’s Mythology. A few more have read Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Virgil’s Aeneid, Ovid’s Metamorphosis, and Apuleius’ Golden Ass.

Yet more scholarly, in-depth resources are available to polytheists who want to learn about mythology. The fields of history, archaeology, anthropology, religion, literary criticism, art history and psychology all look at mythology from different perspectives.

  • History examines how the myths were composed, who told or wrote them, and what people said about them.
  • Archaeology identifies mythological motifs found on objects and structures, and tries to determine their meaning to those who viewed and used them.
  • Anthropology seeks to understand the cultural reasons for the creation and  transmission of myths, and the relation of myth to rituals such as rites of passage such as the transition to adulthood, marriage, and death.
  • Religion regards myths as sacred stories that explain the creation of the universe, and teach moral truths, and seeks to understand the relationship between mythology, belief, and ritual.
  • Literary criticism investigates the sources of myths, the oral art of storytelling, motifs and themes, the composition of texts, style, meaning, and comparison of different versions.
  • Art history focuses on images from mythology throughout history, the religious and symbolic meanings, and artistic techniques. 
  • Psychology delves into the myths as archetypes and symbols, expressions of the collective unconscious, or as a symbolic language to help individuals find meaning and negotiate challenges.

You’ll notice there’s some overlap between these fields. And you should remember that scholars don’t talk to people outside their fields as much as they should.

Many people are initially drawn to the gods after viewing a work of art or reading a story. Some of us have an experience in nature, or in an altered state of consciousness. Becoming aware of a deity is known as an ephipany or personal gnosis, a subjective perception or experience of the presence of the divine. It can be a feeling that a place is sacred, a sense that there is a greater power than ourselves in the universe, or a realization that a higher power has brought about a particular situation.

So, how we know what we know about the gods is…complicated. To really know something, one must regard it from different angles, and take time to understand it. Taken altogether, it’s fairly obvious that each of us necessarily has a different interpretation of mythology, depending on our personal study and experiences.

Unfortunately, many Hellenic and Roman and polytheists have only read the basic mythology titles listed above in their study of the gods. A few more have read books on devotional practice, but most of us haven’t gone much further in our studies. And, because the sources we’ve read just scratch the surface of available knowledge about the gods, our understanding is so superficial that many of us lack the vocabulary to describe our beliefs, and may even harbor misconceptions about one or more gods that harms our relationship with them. Not only does this impede our spiritual progress, but it makes it difficult to talk about our religion to another person. “I worship the gods of the ancient Greeks,” really tells them nothing, except that one is a polytheist.

Since you’re reading this, I assume your religion is an important part of your life, and, if so, your understanding of it deserves to be developed to the best of your ability. I realize not everyone is interested in or has the temperament for research, and that books can be expensive and difficult to obtain. However, most libraries have sections on the fields above, quite a lot of solid information is available online, and it can be done in easy-to-digest bites.

Here are some ideas for study that can help to enrich your understanding and interpretation of mythology:

  • Read about a Mystery cult, a hero cult, the cult of the nymphs, the Roman Imperial cult or the deified personifications of the virtues in ancient Greece and Rome.
  • Visit a museum and learn about the archaeology of the regions in which your deities were historically worshiped.
  • Learn the names and significant events of the different time periods in the ancient Mediterranean. How did agriculture, literacy, mathematics and theater affect society and religion?
  • Mark the locations of temples dedicated to one of your deities on a map. Are they focused in one area, or are they widespread? What conclusions can you make based on this information?
  • Read the Orphic hymn(s) about a deity to whom you feel little connection, and read a list of their epithets and cult titles. Think about whether the deity seems more approachable, or just as inaccessible.
  • Study a work of mythological art. What does it tell you about the meaning of the subject in the era in which it was created?
  • Read an article on Hellenic or Roman mythology from the viewpoint of of a modern monotheistic or polytheistic religion.  
  • Learn a bit about C.G. Jung’s psychological theories and use of mythic symbols, or Joseph Campbell’s monomyth.
  • Choose a favorite myth and see how many different versions you can find. Are the versions from different times, different places? Do they  have similar or different meanings?
  • Learn some of the terms used by scholars to describe key concepts in the study of religion. Which of the concepts applies to your own beliefs and practice?
  • Prepare a meal from an ancient recipe using ingredients that were available in antiquity.
  • Find out what the ancient philosophers and critics thought about an epic poem or drama.  
  • Select an art or skill favored by one of your gods, study it, and try applying in your own life. For instance, you could dedicate a study of strategy in honor of Minerva and apply one of the techniques to help win a game, or learn a little about weaving to make a wall hanging to honor Athena.
  • Choose an ancient war. What issue(s) led to conflict? How was it resolved? What were the chief deities of each side? Did religion, omens, or religious rites play any part in the warfare? Were there heroes of the war? Were legends told about them? Were they given offerings such as a monument or hero-shrine? 

The more one studies, the more one can deepen their relationship with their deities, the more clearly one may be able to explain their religion to others, and the better equipped one may become to counter criticism of their beliefs.

Richie Tozier x Reader One-shot

summary ; set in the mid-80s of Derry, Richie helps reader out with a subject they’re struggling in. First they start off as friends but conversations get deep when the right questions are asked and the proverbial cards are laid out.

noteworthy ; Reader uses she/her pronouns. There will be cursing! Y/S = your subject (self insert subject)

a/n ; this is my very first one-shot on this blog. Not my first time writing but i hope you all enjoy! This one’s also kinda long sorry

Keep reading

Canadian Education!

I’ll start off with showing what the grades are by age, then going on to subjects.

Kindergarten- Age 4~ Junior Kindergarten and Age 5~ Senior Kindergarten

Then you go into grade school, and marking starts.
Grade 1- Age 6
Grade 2- Age 7
Grade 3- Age 8
Grade 4- Age 9
Grade 5- Age 10

Going into grade 6, some public schools go into middle schools for grades 6-8, but most stay in one school until seconds school.

Grade 6- Age 11
Grade 7- Age 12
Grade 8- Age 13

Grade 9 (or grade 8 in some regions) marks the beginning of secondary school, or high school. High School lasts from grades 9-12, and sometimes an extra grade 13.

After high school, you have the option to go to college, university or go into the workforce. College is more “average” education, while university is much more intense post secondary education, and you need a very high grade average to be accepted.

In grade school, the subjects are:
•English (Literacy)
•The Arts (Music, Drama, dance)
• Physical Education
•Religion (In the catholic schools)
•French (Starting anytime inbetween Grade 4or Grade 8)

In Secondary School, the subjects are the same, but have different ones depending on your school and your area. Some of those extra subjects include Business, Technology, and much more in the arts, as well as having subjects go into the different strands you want to study post-secondary, like biology, chemistry, or engineering or geometry.

(I’m really sorry for being late, I scheduled this to post on the 20th, but it never did, and then disappeared from my drafts. I had to rewrite the whole thing, but I didn’t notice it not posting, due to being so busy with school. I can definitely do a more in depth post, or focus on different ares of the education on a later date. Again, I am so sorry for the inconvenience.)

anonymous asked:

I have recently binge-read your "biology is terrible" tag. I love biology, but the lack of mathematical literacy in my fellow biology majors has unsettled me for a while, as well as the emphasis on memorization over conceptual understanding. I am probably going to grad school next year; is there anything I can do in the early stages of my career to make biology less terrible?

To clarify: I know I can’t single-handed lay fox academia. What I’m really asking is, how can I avoid becoming part of the problem?

1.  First of all, don’t go to grad school unless you cannot conceive of being happy doing anything else.  I mean, you won’t be happy in grad school either, but at least you’ll take comfort knowing that you didn’t have anything better to do.

2.  Learn to program.  This is non-negotiable.

3.  Take as much math and physics as possible.  I pushed for special exemptions to take almost all my coursework from other departments, and I’m very glad I did.  My constant regret is not having studied even more math.  The following tools have been helpful to me: calc, linear algebra, dynamical systems, probability and statistics / stochastic processes, and statistical mechanics.  In my experience you can never know too many sampling algorithms.

4.  Read books.  Rob Phillips’s Physical Biology of the Cell is a wonderful introduction to biophysics and math modeling in general.  Jim Keener’s Mathematical Physiology is also good.  Bill Bialek’s Biophysics is amazing, but also assumes more mathematical maturity.

5.  Get into the habit of sketching little models all the time.  What’s important here and how do I capture it?  What are the nouns and verbs of my model, so to speak?  What sort of data do I have, and what sort is collectible in principle?  If I had a gun to my head and had to estimate the answer, what would I say?  How far could I get with pencil and paper?  Do I want to explain or merely predict?  How would I validate it?  Build quantitative models of the things you study in your courses, because your professors probably won’t.

6.  Talk to people.  Make connections outside your department, explain to them what you’re doing and make them explain their stuff to you.  You’ll be learning a lot from the other grad students you know, so you should take care to choose them well.

7.  In fact, if you really feel strongly about this, consider broadening your application process to consider departments in biophysics, BME, neuroscience or the like instead, depending on your inclinations and prior coursework.  If the mathematical culture of the average bio department bothers you, remember that you are unlikely to be able to do much to change it.

8.  That goes double for your advisor.  The best predictor of the sort of work you will do as a graduate student is the sort of work that previous graduate students have done in that lab.  So make sure that you and your advisor are on the same page about the level of mathematical rigor you’re aiming for.  Or better, make sure your advisor is several pages ahead of you.  Choose your advisor carefully.  Choose your advisor carefully.  Choose your advisor carefully.

Veel succes, anon.

One thing that angers me about Tumblr

Which I’ve seen a lot of elsewhere, too, but it’s especially bad on Tumblr: you guys are a fairly intellectual community. You can talk easily about politics and morality and philosophy and social issues and literature and art and even science, but a lot of you seem proud of mathematical illiteracy. Maths is always the subject that gets picked on here. God forbid you guys don’t know who wrote Romeo and Julietor don’t know that the Church of England was formed by Henry VIII wanting a divorce, but somehow not knowing Pythagoras’ theorem is something to be proud of? 

It’s okay to find maths hard, really. I find maths hard. Most people do. Our brains aren’t hard-wired to find numbers easy. But a huge portion of my Tumblr followers seem to take great pride in reblogging anti-mathematical sentiments, gifs decrying maths as useless, and jokes about their mathematical inability. It’s fine to be bad at mathematics. But it’s not fine to be proud of that. It seems to me a tad hypocritical that you guys seem to (rightfully) rip the shit out of people on Facebook who think reading or history is for losers, but remain proud of the fact you can’t do algebra.

People keep saying things like “when has algebra ever been useful for me? Am I ever going to use trigonometry?” Well, here’s the thing.

  1. Algebra and trigonometry are a lot more useful in a practical sense than studying poetry or ancient history, but I don’t hear people complaining about those subjects. You can’t consider yourself a well-rounded, educated person without some grasp of mathematics.
  2. Yes. Yes you are. The chances are you’ll end up using some sort of maths beyond basic arithmetic if you go into business, economics, marketing, engineering, science (especially science) or any field that involves numbers or measurements in some way.
  3. Even if you’re not going into those fields, mathematics is good training for your brain in exactly the same way reading poetry is. You’re never going to “use” poetry, but it’s still very important to learn about because poetry is an important part of our culture and you can’t consider yourself educated without some appreciation of it. Also, reading poetry helps train your brain to think creatively. Maths works the same way. Even if you’re not going to use algebra, maths gives you the mental toolkit needed to solve problems, to think quantitatively, and to think logically and rationally. In today’s world those skills are indispensable. If you’re not going into one of the fields listed in point 2, then true, you’re probably not going to need to remember the details of trigonometry. But it will be a very useful skill in your everyday life if you’re able to measure things, to think quantitatively, to be comfortable with numbers and shapes and be able to work through a problem in a logical way. Mathematics is all about those skills. When you think in that way, you’re doing maths whether you realise it or not. And learning algebra and trigonometry and so on is a great way to sharpen those skills and train your mind while simultaneously being useful to those who are going to need it (i.e. everyone planning on going into the fields listed in #2.)
  4. Maths is a really important part of human culture and it’s becoming more important every day. Computers would not work without mathematics. Transport would not work without mathematics. Almost all of the things you rely on every day involve  mathematics in some way. 
  5. Maths is the only truly universal language. English, German, Chinese, Spanish, Russian, Tagalog, Arabic… they’re all made-up, human constructs, and accidents of human history. But mathematics applies everywhere in the Universe. It would be a shame to pass up the one chance you’re going to get at living your life in this universe without learning to speak its language.
  6. Maths can actually be fun. No, really. It’s a fault of our school system that most maths teachers are horrendously bad at what they do and most maths textbooks make the subject seem intensely boring. The nature of teaching a class of 30 students means that the high achievers are inevitably going to be bored and left behind, while the low achievers will be struggling and have no idea what’s going on - only a small portion of the class will be engaged and interested at their level. But that’s a fault of the education system, not maths itself. I guarantee you that there is a maths problem out there that’s just right for your level - whatever level you’re at - and will be interesting to you. I bet even you people who reblog “when are we ever going to use algebra” posts have still had the occasional moment in maths class when an interesting fact or problem makes you go “hmmm!”

Maths is not easy. It’s not a subject you have to love. I can see why some people struggle with it - hell, I struggle with it. So do mathematicians. And God knows I know maths teachers can be horrendously boring and our education system turns maths into one of the most mind-numbingly boring subjects ever. It’s okay to not be good at maths. It’s okay to hate the school subject. 

But not appreciating the role maths plays in human culture and its importance is not okay. And being happy with your mathematical illiteracy - proud of it, even - is absolutely not okay!!! It’s a problem that you should be fixing. I have no qualms whatsoever with people posting about their difficulties with maths - I’d love to help you myself, if it’s something I can do! - or about terrible maths teachers. But I don’t want to see anyone bad-mouthing one of humanity’s most important achievements itself, okay?

dearratbastards replied to your post: dontmakemagsmad replied to your photo: 40 Pounds…

MATH! Also, I am super impressed by you. What a BAMF you are.

Math is important, you guys! I hope my zero posts on the subject have engendered a deep understanding of the critical need for increased mathematical literacy in the United States and its importance in the daily lives of all young Americans, young women especially. MATH!

Thanks, girlfrand, the feeling is soooo mutual :-)