Intuitively Obvious

The other day, I found myself thinking those doom laden words from the calculus class I dropped my first semester at Rice: It is intuitively obvious that…. These were the words that struck doom in my heart since my high school choices had weakened my preparation for engineering calculus. I chose not to take the pre-calc analysis course, and even though the calculus teacher loved word problems about calculating the pressure points on dams, I really didn’t get it. I did, however, take analytic geometry twice, which kind of helped me get the idea of vectors…. Sort of like the way taking introduction(s) to TEI more than once have worked for me more recently.

The notion of the intuitively obvious seemed to only slightly mathematical me akin to the sleight of hand moment when the prof’s ability to break things down and explain an equation in detail just failed. To him, it probably indicated the moment when complexity fell away and the rest of the equation simply fell into place. But whatever he was seeing was certainly not intuitively obvious to me.

So the conversation I had with a friend this afternoon, a conversation in which she kept prompting me to explain the points about the relationship between digital humanities and undergraduate research that were intuitively obvious to my geek wanna-be self but not to her, that was really helpful.


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