Thursday, December 10, 1998


JSH: Afterword

Wanted to mention a few housecleaning things. For one thing, my FLT proof draft 12 post doesn't consider the case where two of the roots for 'f' are rational. That was covered, in my draft 11 post by a nifty subproof that I really liked but thought I didn't need. I'm happy to realize now that I do need it.

I've also come up with (I hope) a better way to handle the problem of defining f. Instead of the complex field I'm certain that I can define it as a complex irrational. Undoubtably not the correct terminology so I'll describe: Something like sqr(3)i+2 or sqr(sqr(5)+2i)+sqr(5)i, or (5)^{1/3}i. As I'm dealing with a polynomial of finite degree and rational coefficients I figure this is safe but I'm not totally sure so this post.

It does seem to me this offers the weird consideration that at infinite p, maybe my proof doesn't apply, but that sounds sort of metaphysical.

Finally, it's been quite a bit of fun throwing ideas out and bouncing them off of the mathematicians of the world. I've gotten quite a bit of criticism for not being precise. I've tried to counter somewhat by noting that mathematics is a language (whether everyone excepts it or not) and like any language, initial ideas and arguments tend to be imprecise.

That's why authors do drafts. My public drafts allowed me to absorb a large number of ideas and opinions quickly. Now it's time for that information to incubate. Of course, the drafts would have stopped sooner if I had a complete proof sooner! I'm just lucky enough (or destined?) that I did stumble (bumble?) upon it eventually.

Incubations are over when you know they're over so there's no time frame here. I'm an impatient lad so I've given the figure of six months, hoping that it'll be much sooner. I will undoubtably email a select group during that time with questions but I will not post further on FLT, unless I see an important reply to one of my previous posts that I need to answer (hint, hint, if you hate my posting don't reply!).

Happy holidays to every body out there! Try not to think too hard or take yourself too seriously!

And goodbye 1998! You're end can't come soon enough as far as I'm concerned. Here's to the New Year! A year when I plan to "party like it's 1999!"

Friday, December 04, 1998


JSH: Miscellaneous

Really looking for answers is putting your head on the chopping block because you don't really have anything unless you present it to someone else. And criticism can be like dying slowly by torture.

Being wrong can hurt. Being wrong while strongly believing you're right can suck the marrow out of you. Then again, delusion is so common that we make fun of it. Everybody has heard of the jokes about the mental patients that think they're Napoleon, or Jesus or God (wonder if any think they're Bill Clinton?).

I think there's some need being expressed that's not being checked by whatever mental forces control most of us. I'll admit that I've been fascinated by this, but I've never quite been willing to truly risk my own sanity or maybe I've simply not been capable. Besides, how many who for whatever reasons make the descent in the Hell of insanity ever fully make it back? (Weirdly enough, medical science claims that at least for schizophrenia it is a third. Hmmm…well, in any event, I don't like long odds unless I completely understand them.)

Most of us have these mental checks and balances that keep us from hearing voices that aren't there or from seeing things that aren't there. Or, from truly believing that the government or aliens are out to get us or controlling our minds. And what this gives most of us is stability (and for some, good credit—Visa or Mastercard? or is crushing debt just another form of insanity?).

But, is stability just an illusion (maya? to Zen enthusiasts)?

Magic and mysticism are sisters to delusion and madness, but to many they are safer because there is the sense of control. Or maybe, there is the representation of a need that is simply exaggerated or uncontrollable in the mentally ill.

Why do so many scientists and mathematicians believe in God?

That's another thing that I've wondered a lot about. I use to joke that I believed in God only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (physics humor), but now I usually just feel sad when I think about the question.

What does all of this have to do with math, science and, of course, FLT?

Answers. As human beings we're all incredible problem solving machines. Someone like me might argue that that's really all we are.

So what happens to us as we find the answers? Do we all die just a little bit?

Will the final testament to humanity's prowess as problem solver be a future written in stone? as rigid and immovable as the Absolute itself?

No magic, no mysticism… no delusion, no maya.

I wish I knew if that were a "good" or "bad" "thing".

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