Numeracy is the ability to intuitively understand numbers, their magnitude, their relationships, and how they are affected by operations. Unfortunately, innumeracy is far more widespread and socially accepted than illiteracy. To avoid poor decisions in money and investments it’s supremely important that one understands the language of numbers and develops a sense of probability.
In the 2.5 million years of human evolutionary history, homo sapiens never had to deal with numbers until about 12,000 years ago when complex societies began to appear. In the wake of the Agricultural Revolution, a completely new type of information became vital – numbers.
A critical step was made sometime before the ninth century AD, when a new partial script was invented, one that could store and process mathematical data with unprecedented efficiency. This partial script was composed of ten signs, representing the numbers from 0 to 9 – the Arabic numerals. When several other signs were later added to the Arab numerals (such as the signs for addition, subtraction and multiplication), the basis of modern mathematical notation came into being.
Unfortunately, human brain never got a chance to adapt to storing and processing numbers. Yet the development of modern society is firmly standing on the foundation of mathematical principles. In fact, until last few centuries, the common man didn’t have to deal with much mathematics. Anything beyond simple addition or subtraction was reserved for scientists and scholars who indulged in advance concepts for their own amusement.
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