What is Algebra? I asked my friend what she thinks, and she said “It’s an area of math, and it deals with numbers.” Not wrong!

As I would try and explain it to someone (say, anyone under the age of 10), I’d say “Algebra is a way of thinking!” Another name for this “way of thinking” is **Abstract** thinking.

What the hell do I mean? Do I even know?

Yes, or so I think so.

In algebra, we first seek to be more general, by saying “*this* (referring to a variable) represents *any* number” (barring certain other restrictions, like *type* of number)) This is perhaps the first step to thinking *abstractly*.

Once we become more general in our conversation, we are less restrained in *how *we can talk. No longer do we have to talk about certain numbers, now we can talk about *classes* of numbers, including the class containing *all* of the numbers.

One could also say that Algebra is a method of notation, but once we get to notation, we get to the idea that “mathematics is a language” and then that “language is thought”, leaving us with “algebra is a way of thinking” like I said before. Really tho, discuss amongst yourselves.

It’s also really useful when you want to **P****rove** things to mathematical perfection.

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