to reach out and be reached for

By JT Lachausse

During a hike up a mountain, a person finds themselves high above sea level;
however, what is most interesting is how steep the mountain is at various points.
The mathematical term for steepness is slope. Of course, numbers themselves cannot lie.
If numbers result in misunderstandings, or even harm, the fault lies with the interpreter.

The idea of mathematical induction is that after the first domino falls, all others follow.
Why should one try to prove statements for infinitely many mathematical objects?
Another way of proving statements is to change the logical structure.

During a hike up a mountain, a person finds themselves deep within the rain of frogs;
however, what is most interesting is how alone the person feels at various points.
Do things tend to happen because of one’s own fortune, or because of external factors
such as random chance?

As they grow, children develop their capacity to think abstractly, solve problems,
and create a mental picture of the world. Receiving recognition and protection
from important people in a child’s life are essential for the development of a strong self.
In order to describe a set of points, instructions are needed. A straight line consists
of an infinite number of points. A human infant grasps by reflex, a low-ranked wolf rolls over
and presents its throat, elephants form close-knit bands of families, Emperor penguins have only
one chick per year which is nurtured by both parents, together. A man arriving on
a mountain would need to orient himself through a fixed reference point.

If the ideal self and the real self do not agree, this can lead to internal conflicts
and emotional disturbances. Social development begins with an emotional bond
between mother and child. Starting at around age seven, children begin to realize that
the volume of a liquid does not change when it is poured from one container to another.
People who tend toward emotional instability prefer to express ideas and concepts
through text, while extroverts generally seek face-to-face conversations. Text helps reduce
uncertainty and increase the writer’s control over the situation. Is an individual a type of robot,
controlled exclusively by unconscious brain activity?

During a hike up a mountain, a robot finds itself deep within the rain of frogs;
however, what is most interesting is the ache of the machine’s cells at various points.
What sets human behavior in motion and keeps it going? Does the robot catch frogs
to satisfy a drive, such as hunger or love?

During adolescence, young people break away from their parents, become independent
and begin making their own plans for the future. Between age two and seven, a child learns
that her mother cannot turn into a frog, nor her father into the shape of a mountain. Between
ages zero and two, a child learns that objects continue to exist even if they cannot
be perceived at the moment. After age eleven, the child gains the ability to solve
abstract problems and pose hypothetical questions. Does the robot grasp by reflex?

Probability theory is used for decision-making if the consequences of future events must be
estimated. Some probabilities cannot, however, be calculated accurately. The probability
that two robots will find one another feeling alone on a mountain beneath the rain of frogs
might be calculated to zero point five. However, there are additional influencing factors.
For example, would one robot confess to the other that they are aching?

Properly used, probability theory and statistics help to describe and predict
strange events with numbers, such as the day that frogs will rain from the sky.
Of course, numbers themselves cannot lie. If numbers result in misunderstandings
or even harm, the fault lies with the interpreter. Sponges are fixed in place. Earthworms
live in the soil. Crown jellyfish emit a colored glow. A human infant grasps by reflex.

During a hike down a mountain, a robot catches frogs that fall from the sky;
however, what is most interesting is when the robot discovers that
although its hands are empty, the aches have gone away and it is no longer alone.

JT Lachausse is the editor-in-chief of The Matador Review. His work has been featured in The Coraddi, Prairie Margins, Hair Trigger, The Adirondack Review and others. His literary journalism experience includes author interviews with George Saunders, Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket), Dave Eggers, John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats and more. Originally from Aurora Sparks, Texas, JT now lives in Chicago, where he is a junior at Columbia College Chicago.

© 2017