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Friendship Math?

Posted by C Moon on November 22, 2007

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These days people try to explain everything through mathematics, technology, and science. I recently encountered with an interesting post, featuring a topic called “Friendship Math” (in the velocity section). Can everything be explained with these objective tools?

No doubt that math is the most elegant, perfect language, successfully explaining many subject matters in an objective and concise manner. It is imperative that scientists attempt to explain everything including human behavior through mathematics. The post says that “The hardest part about mathematically describing friendship is constructing a good model.” However, for the time to come the so-called good model is expected to be deficient in measuring the intensity of the emotion, which differs from individual to individual. The simple model includes variables such as “positive affection” and “negative affection,” whose measurement is still hard to establish. As we all know, human behavior is oftentimes irrational and unpredictable.

Even though everything around us may not need to be explained scientifically, scientists will surely endeavor to explain everything scientifically. Yet, there are many things that we cannot explain well with science, such as love, friendship, and affection. But, on the other hand, we shouldn’t be saddened too much by science’s failure in decoding love, friendship, and affection with sufficient explanatory power. The universe is full of odd bumps and twists. And the unexpected make life interesting.

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Photo Credits: (1) a drawing of characters in “Saiyuki” by my friend 🙂

(2) “Math on the Wall” by alist on Flickr

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2 Responses to “Friendship Math?”

  1. Christina said

    Hmmm… Interesting. It would really suck if there was an equation that defined the degree of love you have for another person. I guess that’s why we have words, so that we can explain our feelings. Numbers aren’t efficient, so we have careful combinations of letters and words and sentences. Nice reflection 🙂

  2. Catherine said

    Thanks for your comment, Christina 🙂
    Yes, I agree with you that letters, words and sentences are much more humanistic and effective in explaining feelings and relationships. Yet, we have to acknowledge that science made some progress in associating human emotion and behavior with certain chemical agents and electric waves or signals. These findings are applied to medical treatment. However, human feelings and relationships are too complex and atypical (that is, individual-specific) to be explained by mathematical models with sufficient predictive power. That is not unfortunate at all, since it will be awkward to hear that A loves B as the result of a chemical agent amounting to 50mg.

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