Fractions – we are all part of something greater
In an effort to ease the transition back to school, I have been working on beefing up the math skills of our three kids aged 6, 8, and 12. Math is one of those subjects where some people have a brain that handles numbers in a logical fashion and love the way math is taught and other people handle numbers as if they are abstract, colourful, and have a personality which requires learning math through the lens of the right brain. Since math is an important skill to learn in school and actually does have applications in life, I believe strongly in helping a child learn math in their own way that suits their unique learning style. Sometimes numbers must be assigned colours or given secret identities for the child who functions primarily from their right hemisphere.
A few weeks ago I was helping the kids with fractions. I had forgotten how much I loved fractions. As a kid, I loved taking whole numbers and converting them to fractions. I like the idea that fractions and much of math is all part of infinite calculations and infinite numbers. Take the number pi for example, there is no limit to the ratio of 3.14… which is simply a fraction (ratio) of the circumference (C) of a circle to its diameter (D). Every circle has this same fraction of C/D which is what we call pi or approx 3.14… This ratio was discovered over two thousand years ago by the Egyptians and then perfected by Ancient Greeks.
Fractions provide a clear example of the relationship between one number (the numerator) and its parent (the denominator). Everywhere you look, there is math and wherever there is math there is a fraction. Humans and genetic offspring are perfect examples of fractions. We inherit one set of genes from our mother and one set of genes from our father. As soon as we become a little zygote, we begin the process of dividing our cells to build us from a couple of cells to the trillions of cells which make us who we are today.
From the moment of the Big Bang approximately 14 billion years ago, matter started to form – initially as subatomic particles which eventually formed atoms and all the matter we have around us today. The first law of thermodynamics tells us that energy cannot be created or destroyed but merely transformed. Since energy and mass can be viewed interchangeably (E=MC2), matter cannot be created or destroyed either. This means from a singular point some 14 billion years ago, all the stuff that would ever be created in our universe is now created and still here! We are all a fraction of the original part of the universe and we are all energetically tied to each other.
When we learn new things we like to break them apart and see the differences. We look at superficial differences and we say, “I am separate from that person or this event.” The reality is that we are not at all separate! We are all sharing the matter that was created billions of years ago. Each cell in your body is made of approximately 100 trillion atoms. At one time, those atoms may have been part of a Sequoia tree or were part of the moon or were passengers on Albert Einstein’s body but they are all recycled and all part of a larger body called the universe.
I think when we start to see all the ways we are the same and all the ways we are Ekahi (one), we may have more compassion for people and events that we may have previously judged as separate.