# why do harder concepts (ie calculus, physics) get harder to understand/process for the brain?

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why do harder concepts (ie calculus, physics) get harder to understand/process for the brain?

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Throughout our evolutionary history we didn’t need to know it. Your average person being as intelligent as Einstein, etc just wasn’t needed. This means that these sorts of people are outliers. The rest of us dumb fucks are intelligent enough to be hunter gatherers.

This isn’t based on hard fact, but I don’t know that they *are* harder. Basic ideas like momentum and force are pretty intuitive if you teach them right, and even calculus has people arguing its fundamentals are really intuitive and we should teach it super early in math education. I think high-level stuff can be harder to process because it involves more complicated math that’s very abstract.

Learning a dozen rules for how to do certain equations doesn’t make any sense to your monkey brain. But learning how forces act on objects (physics) or how position/velocity/acceleration are fundamentally related (calculus) is easy to understand in physical, real-world terms.

For two reasons: because they rely on “easier” concepts (arithmetic, etc.), so they are much more abstract than the “easier” concepts. If you remember from math, little kids start with counting apples or other actual objects, then once they “get” numbers the teachers start using numbers (no longer actual objects), then “x” represents “any” number and you start working with equations and functions, etc etc. it just becomes more and more abstract and further and further removed from “reality” (apples, oranges, coins, dollar bills, what have you).

And also because they start to increasingly use the names of the scientists who invented or proved these things. With the “lower level” concepts it’s rare – Pythagora’s Theorem for example, but as you go higher, Euclidean space, Minkowski space, Poincare group etc etc it’s all names and names and you have to know the history of it (who discovered what) in addition to the actual theory. Makes it harder, at least for me.

I’ll keep my answer short. I think it’s because more advanced concepts rely on understanding more basic concepts quite well. If there are any cracks in the foundation of your knowledge, then it is hard to build a house of abstract thinking on top of it.

Because the foundations that are taught prior to introduction to these topics are faulty. They aren’t harder, they’re more complex. Without the appropriate foundational education (imho mathematics is taught in the most heinous way in the US) calculus seems hard. It isn’t.