Knowledge Question: ‘To what extent can numbers impact our emotions?’
Numbers is not just a form of language to represent theories and axioms based upon mathematics. It has denotations, but also has profound connotations. For example, Ms.Wilson mentioned an example of ‘911’ during TOK class time. To some groups of people, this number can relate to the phone call number of the fire department. However, to those families and friends of the victims of the September 11 attacks by the Al-Quaeda terrorist group, this number can have an effect of recalling unwanted memories and a sense of sentimentality. From such reason, our emotions can be affected, according to the different background understanding we have for certain numbers.
Can numbers paint a thousand more words than pictures?
First of all, I claim a statement that the commonalities in both numbers and pictures is that, they are both a form of communication. Numbers is a system of language, which allows each individual to stay connected with each other. More importantly, it can be used in different forms of presentations, to appeal to the senses of the audience, and give certain emotions. In comparison, a picture is a graphical display of a visual art, which is not a system of language. However, it does share commonalities with numbers, to the point that the author can communicate with the audience and appeal to their five senses and control their moods. Therefore, I think that both numbers and pictures give the same amount of influence on the audience.
For homework, we have to come up with 3 TOK-style essay questions that may derive from the quote: “God used beautiful mathematics in creating the world.”.
Here are some answers to questions, which will help me come up with the questions:
a. What areas of knowledge & ways of knowing should be investigated?
AOK: Mathematics, Religious Knowledge Systems, Indigenous Knowledge Systems
WOK: Reason, Language, Intuition, Faith
b. What’s the question getting at?
First of all, the question is putting us to think if whether or not mathematics was used to create the world, on the premise that the student agrees to the existence of ‘God’. This question is discussing three different topics:
- ‘Did God exist?’
- ‘Did God create the world?’
- ‘Did God use Mathematics to create the world?’
The first and second question asks the student to explore Religious and Indigenous Knowledge systems, referring to Reason, Intuition, Emotion, and Faith. These WOKs require the student to give an opinion of their own religious beliefs. The third question can only be answered if the answers are both ‘Yes’ to the first and second question. The AOKs the student would explore here is, Mathematics. The question asks the student to define the relationship between God and mathematics. This can be answered using Reason, Language (Mathematics as a form of language: Axioms, Theories, Proofs, etc), Intuition, and Faith. It is difficult to tackle real life situations, which support claims on the existence of God. However, the student can use real-life situations, which help support the Axioms advocated in math (for example: to give evidence to the golden ratio, use the patterns seen in sunflower seeds as a real life situation).
c. What are the potential knowledge issues? (The 3 Essay-Style Questions)
- In the field of Mathematics, to what extent do axioms conflict with theories that support the existence of God?
- If God used Mathematics, then to what extent can Mathematics be used to prove the existence of God?
- If Mathematics is a form of language consisted of Mathematical symbols invented by mankind, then to what extent can Gödel’s ontological proof be proved to be true?
To what extent is it possible for ‘My Bed’ to provoke the emotions of the audience, if Tracey Emin had just brought her bed to the museum and called it an ‘art piece’?
To what extent is the emotion and sense perception of the audience towards Hitler’s water color painting affected, by the contextual knowledge of the artwork?
To what extent could have Rembrandt’s emotions played a role when he drew his own self-portrait?