theory & practice

They’re meant to reinforce one another.

I just had lunch with a friend, and we talked about how much fun it was learning the 5 different fretboard patterns of pentatonic (five-tone) scales on the guitar.  When his practice was less developed, music theory had seemed boring and irrelevant to him, but now it was exciting and directly relevant.

It’s like this with just about anything you do, isn’t it?  There is a theoretical side to just about everything you can do.  Advanced mathematical formulae will help you do all kinds of science, but can seem irrelevant for the amateur lover of the natural world.  The study of history will aid healthy analysis of political swings and round-a-bouts, but can seem tedious to the armchair politician.  Etymology will help one choose the choicest words in your literary endeavors, but sound high-browed and lofty.  Analytic philosophy will help one to interact with ideas more efficiently, but sound like a pedantic waste of time.  Systematic theology will shape and enrich a life of worshipful obedience, but seem like detached speculation.

phantom parabolas

Saw this morning on TV1 Breakfast – not much (anything? maybe this??) about it on the net yet…

But according to TVNZ, “maths teacher Philip Lloyd, an Auckland man who has made a maths-changing discovery to do with parabolas.” (though the date of the above forum post is 2003, and the name is TJ Evert!!??  hmmm…)

Anyway, the discovery is cool – whether by TJ Evert in 2003 or by Philipo Lloyd more recently.  Apparently (if I’m wording this right – it’s been a while since algebra class!) equations with an ‘imaginary’ solutions for ‘x’  (([Dale refuses the philosophical tangent – no pun intended])) do not intersect the x axis.

The news is that a ‘phantom parabola’ can be plotted, which does intersect an imaginary x-‘plane’ (we always had to imagine the x & y axis’ did we not?).

The ‘ooh that’s a cool parallel with spirituality’ thought that I initially had may well be not much more than a play on the word ‘imaginary’, but hey…  Like the Flatland analogy (used by C.S. Lewis [unknowingly? i cannot remember] and Rob Bell), this would be another case of adding another dimension.  After all, we imagine real things all the time, don’t we?

So there it is.  I’ve sent TVNZ an email with the link above.  Will see if it’s relevant :)