Maths taught so badly it ends up mysterious with a jargon and a baseline working knowledge of many procedures calcifying into a barrier to entry that by nature of such things grows higher and thicker as time goes by.
Losing touch with a working knowledge of maths – for most this comes incredibly early in life i.e. straight after arithmetic and basic geometry – means only a tiny fraction of possible HumanBrainPower is even at the starting gate for adult specialisation in cutting edge science.
The drop-off is so extreme, in fact, it approaches levels that look statistically fundamental i.e. if the probability of an adult understanding calculus based on a survey of all human beings currently alive is 10 million to one, less likely for instance than an adult being a functioning hermaphrodite. Given most humans will have hit a wall, in school, where maths was “dropped” in favour of easier more fun subjects, and will have experience of another human being who’s mathsbrain seemed inexplicably better, more attuned, unusually capable, it’s no surprise most adults believe mathematicians weird anomalies with enigmatic skills you (as a regular person) needn’t worry about mentally emulating any more than you’d lose sleep about not being able to physically fuck yourself.
This is all wrong. The maths disconnect is a reaction to conditions whose origins build from early life into fait accompli that get mistaken for predetermined, partly to dodge neuroses coming from having surrendered one of the key building blocks of human self-worth. It’s only expedient to bail on maths because there’s no point going on. This needn’t be. It’s a denouement of bad teaching from day one, culture inherited from millennia of antecedents being replicated in high fidelity across the latest crop of children. Do keep in mind that all you know and can do and have experienced to explain equals your culture, nurture not nature in EVERY detail. Civilisation is all culture. Swap you and a grunts-only caveman of 50,000 years ago at birth, the caveman would be literate and fully integrated as a civilised person and you, same brain, same natural potential, would be communicating in grunts, grovelling before fire and wasting years confused thought on how you’ve got a top hole that turns food into turds expelled via a bottom but no matter how many times you try, never the other way around.
In any case, the point is undeniable: the fact we know little or no mathematics is a function of culture, not nature or destiny. Maths, at its core, is analogous to any learned language – most can become fluent, whatever differences may manifest in outlier cases. Shakespeare can be read, explored, understood, even debated by every average human being desire very few being able to write (create) like him.
Einstein’s theories and proofs should be just as accessible, though few would’ve been able to invent relativity. The difference is upbringing and teaching and culture. Most of us get short changed so as an adult we’re lost resources. The price is paid by everyone as our species progresses at a snails pace, the intellectual heavy lifting for tens of thousands done by one overworked nerd.