2 + 2 = ???

2 + 2 = 4. It’s one of the very first forms of addition we are taught. It’s also by no coincidence one of the first forms of multiplication that we are taught. I think this is why it is also used in explaining the simplicity of a problem being correct or the absoluteness of something.

“The same as 2 plus 2 equaling 4.”

“You can’t change that just like you can’t change 2 plus 2 equaling 4.”

But does 2 + 2 really only equal 4? Does it not also equal 16/4? Or how about 104736/26184? Any math professor can tell you it equals 3.999999999? Heck, it even equals 2 + 2 itself!

Now it may seem like I am arguing semantics here, but there is in fact a point to be made. Questions and problems have multiple answers. Some are obviously correct and some a matter of perspective with mere variations on the simple answer. There are also answers that are wrong, and no amount of arguing the point will change that.

So how do you know if your answer is just a rather creative way of solving the problem instead of just flat out incorrect? Much like actual math, you have to still solve through. You still need unquestionable proof that your answer was indeed just a unique (but still correct) way to approach the problem.

Now this might seem like an odd subject for me to spend so much time on, but really it’s how I have spent most of my life. You see, I don’t like playing inside of the rules. I like answering “2 + 2 = ???” with the variety of answers given above. I like explaining to people why those answers are correct (even if they don’t believe me). While it may seem like a needless complication, many times answers such as “4” are not readily available, and it is in fact a more logical step to make your way to “32/8” instead. Again it seems like semantics, but in reality there are still enough differences in the answer (no matter how small they may be) that this particular answer might be better suited for that particular problem. Of course this isn’t always the case. Sometimes (many times?) it really is just making extra work for yourself. This is definitely something to be careful of.

So why all of this? What does it mean and where is it going? Basically I am needing to approach a number of difficult and important decisions. The “easy way” as I like to call it involves making things easier on myself, but at the same time requires concessions that I am entirely uninterested in making. Some may call it stubbornness or bullheaded, I call it finding interesting solutions to seemingly straightforward problems.

Either way, you will read it head eventually. As always. Stay tuned.

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