Semantic algebra

Doing math problems in your head is a skill. No one is born knowing the answer to, “You have 35 coins in nickels and quarters. They add up to $4.15. How many quarters do you have?” but we can learn. And some people find it easier than others, but yes, we can learn.

The same is true for analogies and relationships of words.

If someone says, “A baseball manager is like the conductor of an orchestra,” they don’t mean that the manager wears a tuxedo and waves a stick. Understanding context and being willing to look for what the purpose of the analogy is takes a bit of effort.

As we encounter complex ideas, they’re often explained with a form of semantic algebra. You understand X, and this is a bit like that, but different…

Understanding is worth the effort.

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