Let me touch upon the subject that I have been dealing with
for a long time amounting nearly to 30 years. It was a time when my first child
was born and I took care of its upbringing and education. I myself was
surprised why the above thought occurred to me. I’m not a humanist after all,
and I would like to be regarded as a scientific mind. However, after a longer
analysis, I realised that it was one of the problems which I had to deal with.
I became an egoist.
Can egoism be positive?
I was raised an altruist. It had both positive and negative
sides. It influenced my scientific career negatively. Most frequently than not,
unbeknownst to myself, and sometimes even with pleasure, I handed my scientific
ideas and solutions over to people who used them to build their own careers or
material status. I would like to open a new chapter in my life and egoistically
help young scientific talents in developing their intellect, career, material
status, and to contribute to the growth of my company, thereby developing
This is a purely egoistic approach on my part as I show
above. Unfortunately, I won’t live forever. I have put a lot of effort into my
work. It cost me a lot of sacrifices. I chose such a path myself. I don’t want
it to be lost after my death. This feeling accompanies me here and now, and
after my death it won’t mean anything to me. Egoistically approaching the
subject, I want to develop a system that will enable me to enjoy what will be
after my death presently. Let’s live HERE AND NOW, as it’s what was given to
us. No one has any proof what will be after. We’re creating the promised
paradise now. The role of creating Eden was entrusted to scientists, those
scientists who have responsibility within themselves for the fate of our
civilisation, planet and universe. I would like us to start building the
paradise lost together. Sadly, the current development of civilisation has a
negative impact on the intellectual development of individuals. We’re equipping
young people in the spoils of civilisation on a massive scale, thus forbidding
them the possibility of developing their own minds. Few individuals standing
out are creating more and more perfect technological solutions. They are used
by masses of unthinking homo sapiens individuals, giving them tools for taking
over political power and subordinating brilliant intellectuals to them. Owing
to this, civilisation is rapidly taken over by individuals of low intellect
with a strongly developed leadership factor who hold scientists by the throat
with a strong arm. You might accuse me of putting forward theses and failing to
present evidence. Doesn’t the evidence present itself in our global politics?
Short-sightedness, avoidance in perceiving destructive
actions, fear of loss of position, prestige, giving up, and, in the end, the
fall of civilisation are only some of the negative characteristics of many
scientists and intellectuals. Is this what you want to lead to?
It is said that people learn from their mistakes. One might
agree with this, however, the further part is: “you don’t have to learn from
your mistakes.” As to the second part of the saying – I don’t entirely agree
My reasoning was quite complex. It began with the fact that
I’m an observer of the environment, in which I live. This translates into
undertakings that make my life, the life of my loved ones and the society
easier. I am, or should I say was, of a very vivacious nature. With years, I’m
gaining life wisdom and stabilisation. While a student, I wasn’t interested in
education that was offered to me at school. Everything consisted in receiving
knowledge. I’m writing here especially about receiving, not gaining it. The
educational system offered me ready solutions to problems without having to
arrive at them. Cramming the knowledge received and applying it according to
the schemata given was murderous work to me.
I was rebellious and defiant. I wouldn’t have won my
teacher’s sympathies with such a behaviour. However, despite it all, I was
still polite and well-mannered. It is my grandmother who I must thank for such
upbringing, who came from a very good Lviv house. In addition to all
that, she was a good mathematician, that is a scientific mind, originating from
the circles of professor Stefan Banach. It resulted in a thread of
understanding between us. Let me return to learning from my mistakes, however.
The Scottish Café, the Scottish Book and prof. Banach
“Mathematics matters! Teaching mathematics can be
attractive and modern. It is important, however, to combine knowledge with
experience, to awaken creative and open thinking.
It is worth starting with teachers, as it is their role to develop students’ knowledge and skills, inspire and awaken interests. We want to present new methods in didactics of mathematics, global trends, directions of thinking that are worth implanting in the school. What is also important is the role of a parent, that they know what they can expect from schools and how they can aid the education process of their child. And, finally, there are students, in whom one ought to nurture their natural curiosity and desire to explore.”
Solving the task from the end.
What would happen if one was to solve a task from the end?
Let’s define a problem first. Let’s enter it into our Scottish Book.
Next, let’s write what we offer in exchange for solving the puzzle. The role of
the teacher will be to delicately guide the students. In the era of unlimited
access to knowledge via the Internet, finding the solution won’t pose any
problem. What will, however, happen if we cut off the access to it as the
source of sole knowledge, leave mathematical tables, mathematical books and
other literature with a series of encrypted riddles leading to the solution of
the task? And maybe the students’ collaborative work will lead to the solution
in another, easier way?
It is with
pleasure that I will use the quote from Stanisław Mazur, a colleague of prof.
Banach. Mazur studied at a university, but he failed to obtain the title
of Master of Arts. Obtaining a doctoral degree took him six years, whereas
habilitation – four. Before, he didn’t feel like it. The students frequently
heard from him that someone in the world solved a mathematical problem, and
that their solutions covered several dozen pages of print. “This actually
seemed a bit difficult, but Banach and I we knew the answer already back in the
year... however, we did it this way...,” and he wrote on the board a dozen of
lines of transformations. “As you can see, this, in essence, is so easy that
together with Banach we found the thing unworthy of publishing.”
the times when the organ, which is the brain, was frequently used. In
history, this period was called Belle Époque – a beautiful epoque. Presently,
owing to the development of science and computerization, our civilisation
should make a giant leap into the future. However, this isn’t happening. I
think that I don’t have to explain the causes of that.
Revolution in education or the fall of intellect?
This question we need to answer ourselves. Unfortunately,
currently about 70% of the society doesn’t understand this rhetorical question.
If at present we could ask such a question during a referendum, supplementing
it subversively with a couple of words: “Do you choose revolution in education?
or do you choose the fall of intellect combined with ‘boozy parties every
weekend’?,” the majority would choose the second option. I can only hope that
the hypothesis put forward by me is wrong.