* Now that practical skills have developed enough to provide adequately for material needs, one of these sciences which are not devoted to utilitarian ends has been able to arise in Egypt, the priestly caste there having the leisure necessary for disinterested research.
*

-- Aristotle

Mathematics is a language invented by humans to describe certain objects and processes. Evolving from counting, simple arithmetic, and geometry, it has blossomed most wonderfully into set theory, boolean logic, calculus, and many odder disciplines. From the beginning, math has been fueled by smart, obsessive, and bored people who had enough leisure time to discover that universe was filled with odd regularities.

*The mathematical sciences particularly exhibit order, symmetry, and limitation; and these are the greatest forms of the beautiful.*

-- Aristotle

Math has the distinction of being the only a priori science (unless you consider philosophy to be a science). Visual aids and experimentation can certainly help, but most math is done on paper. None the less, it has great worldly benefit, from architecture to zoology. It's fun to play with -- magic squares, sudoku, the Prisoner's Dilemma, the Monty Hall Problem. It's important to our lives -- it programs our computers, launches our spaceships, and encrpts our emails.

* The whole is more than the sum of its parts. *

-- Aristotle

In theory, math can be applied to describe any observable phenomenon that exists, and many that don't. But Godel's theorem shows that it can't actually describe *every* observable phenomenon, because any given system can't describe itself. This has not yet caused math to fall out of fashion.

* To Thales the primary question was not what do we know, but how do we know it.
*

-- Aristotle

There is, to my knowledge, no formal categorization of the subfields of mathematics, and no clear hierarchical structure between the 'main fields' of mathematical study and the 'sub-fields'. But here is a list of *some* of the main branches of mathematics.

Needless to say, you should learn more math. You should node more math. Unfortunately, while E2 is an excellent place to node math, it doesn't actually do a very good job of teaching it, unless you've gotten a good foundation elsewhere. Fortunately, your local library will have the primers to get you started.