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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