Hi. I've had a question about Mathematical Aptitude for some time but, until now, had been hesitant to try and express it. Here it goes...

For some time now, I've been wanting to engage in an in-depth study of Mathematics. In fact, I've begun such an endeavor on several occasions– only the pursuit never lasted for very long, maybe a week or two, before I get distracted by other things. Still, every time I do pick up one of those Math books– something happens that I always find strange: While I find myself rarely fully grasping the more advanced Math formulas and equations, in some strange way I feel like I can intuit its meaning. That is to say, while legitimate comprehension of the Mathematics lies outside my grasp– outside of my ability to actually DO the Math or EXPLAIN it– somehow, despite this reality, I still seem to GET the math. It makes SENSE. It's just... fuzzy? This experience is all the more heightened on those occasions where I'm actually actively trying to do the Math. I'll be writing the problem out, and struggling with it but, at the same exact time, I'll be looking at it and be knowing that I do get it, I just can't DO it. Sometimes I'll even test myself by predicting the next step in the solving of a problem and I'll be correct– but I can't explain how I just know that's the next step. Again: I INTUIT it– but I can't DO it. The best analogy I could probably offer is the experience of a word being on the tip of the tongue: You KNOW you KNOW the word– you just can't SAY it. As if there's some block between your brain and your tongue. This sort of cognitive phenomena happens to me nearly every time I crack open a Math book and flip to sections that are clearly out of my depth.

What made this experience even stranger for me was an experience I just recently had with a Math text. In endeavoring to explain the rudiments of Mathematical language, the author of the text offers the following phrase: 'For every thing, if that thing is a cloud then there is a thing such that that thing is a silver lining and the first thing has the second thing.' He then goes on to convert that phrase into Mathematical language. But the illuminating part for me was the author pointing out that phrases like 'for every thing' and 'there exists a thing' are calledquantifier phrases. This stood out to me because, whilst I am definitely no Mathematician, I excel in the department of Natural Language (I'm a writer) and, as it turns out, I frequently employ quantifier phrases in my writing. In that same vein, the fundamentals of syntax [which are far more strict in the language of Mathematics than English] also come quite naturally to me when I write. In essence, these things only further this sense I have that, buried somewhere inside the haze of my decidedly qualitative mind, lies a sufficiently quantitative one.

In any case, I say all this to pose a few questions: 1) Has anyone else experienced this sort of cognitive phenomenon? 2) For any one who has had this experience or is in any way familiar with it– do you know of any way to perhaps cut through the fuzziness and sharpen the crude Mathematical aptitude buried within? I ask this second question because I often have this feeling that I may just not be approaching the Math the way someone with my particular mind is best designed to approach it. That if I just attacked Math from a slightly different angle, I might start to see progress at a considerably quicker rate.

Sorry for the long post. I just wanted to communicate the experience as clearly as I could. Thank you for reading.

P.S. - I should mention that I've also dabbled in C++ [which, while technically designated a formal language, tends to fall in between the strict formality of Pure Mathematics and the high malleability of Natural Language] and have had the same experience, albeit in a less severe way.

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