What is a Mathematician?

I am a mathematician,   but not because someone else says I am.
I am such for other reasons.I am one because I do math,as appo-
sed to having math done to me. I am one because I ask questions
(not always about numbers),I answer them, I prove them, I gene-
ralize them. I am one because  I find  beauty in the pattern of
numbers and I find numbers in the patterns of beauty.  I am one
because   I participate in communities of mathematicians online
and in person; I read up on different fields  of  math by means
of books,blogs, and the internet. And yet I do all this without
a degree  and  without  enrollment in a university  on the path
toward getting a degree.

Because of this there is no institution  that will recognize or 
accredit me as a mathematician. And yet, this fact does not bo-
ther me in the least.  Because what makes a person a mathemati-
cian is not the number tests that they pass. It is not the per-
centage of questions they have answered correctly.Or the number 
of theorems that they have memorized (most likely without  even 
appreciating them).It is not the number of classes they take.It 
is not even the job they hold. What makes a man a mathematician 
is something unquantifiable by any institutional meter-stick.

So  if the qualifications for being such a person are immeasura-
ble,then let us not waste our time trying to assess or set stan-
dards for such a person. Doing so would be fruitless. Let us in-
stead recognize these people purely by their palpable passion.By 
their insatiable hunger to ask, answer,  and  ask yet again more
questions.  By their works and their contributions to others who 
are still learning.These qualities and more are the standards of 
history. By which the greatest of the great have lived by.And it 
is by these standards  that  I am certified. I feel good in this
knowledge and need no one else to tell me that  I have met their 
mark. Learning is a personal journey  that  I intend to continue 
for the span of my life.It is without the need for institutional 
acceptance that I am able to thrive. And thrive I do.

                                                  
The Future

What will life be like 100 years from now?How foolish  will  we
feel for our linear factory style education system?Any 2111 hi-
storian will understand our flawed education  system was merely 
the bi-product of industrialization,but surely they will wonder 
why it took us so long to change.  It would be tough to explain 
to a future human species why we treated our young  so  poorly.
Perhaps there will be a movement similar to  the one  for civil 
writes or women empowerment. Perhaps it will be kids themselves 
that lead this movement,tired of being told what to do,tired of 
having their wants,needs,desires,passions, and humanity stepped
on by a system that forces adults to bore them. Perhaps the re-
volution will be led by teachers who understand that  there  is 
more to life than memorizing the pythagorean theorem  or  being 
able to regurgitate dates for a test designed to  rank students 
as if one human being was  really  better  than another;as if a 
number or a letter could define a person;as if their were real-
ly any right answers in the real  world.   Perhaps the movement 
will be led by politicians who understand that  free choice and 
democracy belong not only to those that can vote, but every ci-
tizen of the nation.  Perhaps one day children may even be able 
to vote on certain things that affect their life.  And I wonder 
how peaceful might  the  world be  if no one " graduated ", but 
instead everyone followed their passions  and created works for 
the betterment of humanity and continued to learn each and eve-
ry day.In a hundred years, I hope we will have changed.