I have recently discovered the incredible MOOCs (massive online open courses) and although the first course I applied for has not even started, I believe I am already addicted to them. They are online courses, structured more less like college or university modules, made available for the general public for free (a small fee is sometimes required for courses carrying academic accreditation) offered by universities around the globe such as Stanford, Harvard, Mexico, Rome, Taiwan in the whole spectrum of subjects from History of Arts to Quantum Physics. You get to learn whatever it is that interests you with the best academic tutors you can dream of. For free. Please give is a glimpse to Coursera, edX or the Khan Academy and if you find any other interesting sites, please, let me know. There is so much to learn!
Excited and looking forward to Monday, I bragged about the Introduction to Mathematical Thinking course to a friend of mine only to be astonished by the response. “Why would you need to think like a mathematician?! You know, sometimes you need to give your heart a chance to speak.” she patted a fist against her chest. I was in grave shock and with a bunch of noodles coming out of my mouth since I was in the thick of a mouthwatering, monosodium glutamate-packed instant crab soup (freshly made in the factories of Singapore!) therefore I found it impossible to perform an adequate retaliation. I am doing it now.
Hearts do not speak (maybe apart from the case of Alice in Wonderland but we could hardly consider that reality) nor do they have any direct connection to the process of vocalization of words. But, of course, you know that and you did not mean it literally – what you really meant by heart was emotions and morality. Wrong again! Associating the heart with a hub of emotional and moral standards is a truly ancient way of thinking – this I mean literally because is was the classical philosophers who scientifically considered the heart to be the organ responsible for thought, reason, emotion and soul. Although it made sense to them, we are now in possession of relevant tools and know of proven methods of reasoning which can tell us exactly why the heart is there, in your chest. It is a muscle, the purpose of which is to pump blood around the hundreds of vessels around your body and in consequence supplying other organs with oxygen and other substances they need in order to function. If we were to look for emotions, thought and reason, the only place where such phenomena occur inside a human is the brain. Unfortunately the brain is the supreme enemy of the heart as it is a control centre of a vicious scientific agenda…
We all need to reconsider what we are teaching our children. Even a trivial matter such as a misunderstood purpose of an internal organ can later cause serious, unpredictable misconceptions to make themselves cozy in a little person’s mind. Let us teach them to understand the world and make sense of it and not to bend reality as they please according to widely accepted standards.