This is the first in a series of posts on mathematical metaphors. Don’t let the topic scare you. We all use these metaphors, most of us use them every day.
This is a graph of a linear function. It is the most common metaphor, and undoubtedly the most often wrong.
The linear graph says nothing is going to change. This is a graph of a car going at a constant speed…forever. The is total income from the job that never changes. The is the total happiness of a relationship that never changes.
People use this metaphor when their candidate wins an election and they expect everything to go their way from now forward. Alternately when something does not go their way, they foresee constant calamity going forward. This is the metaphor of click bait: “You won’t believe what happened, and is going to continue to happen forever more.”
Reality has never delivered on this model of consistency, yet people continue to hold to this idea.
Stay tuned. There are better metaphors.