An old and dangerous trend, thought to originally come from China, is resurging, and taking the U.S. by storm; this comeback-kid fad is causing teens to turn away from marijuana, methamphetamines, ecstasy, and other hard drugs to overdose on a new high: recreational mathematics.
Border agents have seen a huge upsurge in the confiscation of large tomes of Sudoku puzzles, cryptarithmetic puzzles, tangrams, stomachions, and other logic puzzles.
One border agent said, “Our kids are hitting this stuff hard – it’s like they can’t get enough of it. It’s really sad.” And while math technically remains legal, the confiscated books are illegal copies of hard to find copyrighted works, which are now being smuggled by cartels of underground geometricians.
And these cartels are catering to an exploding market who simply aren’t satisfied with what they are learning in junior high, high school, and college; they are the math addicts.
Recreational mathematics has long been seen as a gateway to more dangerous attitudes and risky behaviors – such as sabermetric hubris, horse race betting, and casino gambling.
But the troubles to recreational math abusers often start sooner than later. Victims start a slow slide toward an inner scourge by separating themselves from friends, family, careers, and studies, all for the short lived thrill of solving harder puzzles. As their addiction grows, victims compete with each other as self-identified Mathletes.
But the Math Industrial Complex has deep roots, which encourages such competition; and math is often being pushed on students at younger and younger ages.
Some of the worst calculus abusers have gone on to become derivative traders, weapons designers, economic policy makers, government statisticians, and computer programmers. They are the professional math junkies who have further institutionalized their addictions into what is being called a twisted geometric web of deceit, Newtonian control, and exponential domination.
Hoards of arithmetic abusers often choose to become bankers, brokers, and accountants and then become obsessed with “getting the most points” to the detriment of their personal lives and communities. Most often, their addictions to maths are never diagnosed or properly treated.
“Recreational math abuse has left a trail of ruined lives and broken communities across this nation,” says psychologist, and politician, Dan Striegel, who wants to treat math abuse as a national health issue. Asian and Indian communities have been hit the hardest and Striegel has pledged to allocate $1.4 billion in funding to schools in a new bill called “The Mathematics Responsibility Bill.”
“Many of these young kids don’t know what they are getting involved with, what the repercussions are of a life of mathematics,” said Striegel.
The bill includes mandatory dance, date, and even sex quotas for the nerdiest of high school, and college, students to ensure that mathematics does not destroy their lives.
But some wonder if Striegel’s bill isn’t throwing more money at a problem that needs to be solved in a different way.
Funding has been cut for arts and music programs year after year around the country, and some parents are postulating that the long-term, and often hidden, effects of math addiction on educational policy are to blame; they emphasize the need to simply focus less on math and more on the Humanities and complain that the proposed bill amounts to a secret, underhanded, fix for math junkies; but many are calling those concerned parents, and opponents of the bill, radical paranoid, conspiracy theorists.
But their “radical” arguments are also worth vetting as some of those parents fear that the “dance, date, sex” quotas may actually encourage arithmetism and the one-upsmanship of elaborate counting and quota games by math dependent students.
The paranoia among many parents is palpable. “You can’t solve this math problem with more maths, like quotas. It’s like trying to stop a fire with gasoline. That’s what this bill will do. This math has just got to stop; if this stuff was a plant growing in our backyards it would be banned tomorrow,” said Emily Gleeson, a concerned parent, to reporters.
But San Francisco State University math professor David Ellis says that, “Math, when taken in appropriate dosages can be a beneficial force in young people’s minds. And not all math use is abuse; it’s important to make that distinction. There are some people who can’t handle their math use and ruin it for the rest of us. But that doesn’t make math a bad thing.”
Although math may remain legal for now, it has been marked as Schedule I knowledge in the minds of many parents. A national math abuse phone line has been set up by Concerned Parents of Mathletes.
They warn that symptoms of math abuse include: seeing the world in strange and new ways, difficulty communicating with non-math users, social isolation, kyphosis, excessive computer use, increased intelligence, an interest in Japanese comics (Anime), and an inability to create intimate relationships. If you fear that your son or daughter may be involved with hard mathematics you can call a professional counselor at: 1-888-854-6284.