We shall see again and again that the consequences of mathophobia go far beyond obstructing the learning of mathematics and science. They interact with other endemic “cultural toxins,” for example, with popular theories of aptitudes, to contaminate peoples’ images of themselves as learners. Difficulty with school math is often the first step of an invasive intellectual process that leads us all to define ourselves as bundles of aptitudes and ineptitudes, as being “mathematical” or “not mathematical”, “artistic” or “not artistic”, “musical” or “not musical”, “profound” or “superficial”, “intelligent” or “dumb”. Thus deficiency becomes identity and learning is transformed from the early child’s free exploration of the world to a chore beset by insecurities and self-imposed restrictions.
– Mindstorms by Seymour Papert
Its surprises me just how far ahead of his time Seymour Papert was.