Saturday, March 15, 2008


JSH: Winning is hard

I think the problem of the modern mathematical community is that people within it were satisfied with the appearance of success versus understanding that the accolades for achievements are secondary, but should come because what has been accomplished is actually difficult.

People give you some respect for having accomplished something very hard to do.

But math society replaced that with faking mathematics and getting the rewards, without the actual success, and then compounded the problem by going after people who actually DID get the accomplishments, as if all that mattered was the appearance of success.

What I've had to do is very difficult. First I had to actually find a proof of Fermat's Last Theorem, which forced me to move into an entirely new area of number theory that I designated non-polynomial factorization, and then I had to deal with a math society that didn't follow its own rules.

Publication didn't even matter, and looking at an entire math journal go under and nothing happen I was gripped with the fear that I might completely fail in getting acknowledgment for my research just because some people had managed to get themselves in a powerful position where they could lie about it for their own selfish reward.

And then I even could poke holes in research claimed to be top of the line.

Moving to factoring was about desperation as much as anything as my other mathematical research didn't have an impact and I realized that a deep corruption had taken over the mathematical field and realized it expanded beyond that into other areas of academics as I could look at the story of Dr. Halton Arp, and compare my situation with a LEADER in his field who got the crackpot label, who had compelling evidence to support his case, but he couldn't get past a group decision to just ignore the evidence. And this guy was an assistant to Hubble.

To keep doing his research he had to leave this country, his own country, to go to Germany so that he could get telescope time. A leader in his field.

Watching the world I could see the rise of George W. Bush who came forward with supposedly easy answers that boiled down to go to war, even if you had to lie to do it, and bankrupt the U.S. Treasury if you could, but just keep smiling, and I understood that my world had a problem.

Winning is hard.

Declaring success like George W. Bush did in Iraq, years ago, is a lot easier.

And if you look at people with the idea that what matters is what you can get from them, and think that it would be nice to, say, get treated like an Olympic athlete even if you cannot make the accomplishments, then you can do things like modern mathematicians have done and actually fail but congratulate yourself on getting the accouterments of success, without actually having accomplished anything.

But at the end of the day, the real judgment may be on the human race itself as with so many massive failures in our world, and with it harder and harder to see a good ending, maybe George W. Bush and mathematicians and cosmologists are just the outward sign of our coming failure as a species to have what it takes to survive, long-term.

The next step for humanity clearly is to push out into the greatest frontier, if it has what it takes, and make no mistake, sure, you may hear that faster than light travel is impossible, or that there is no way that our descendants could travel to other galaxies but your ancestors didn't believe men would ever fly.

The decision point is coming for our species, and it looks close. I can easily see a steady drumbeat of failure to a muddled extinction and if it happens how can I say it's not completely fair?

We ARE failing as a species. More and more that is clear. We are failing.

Winning is hard.

If our species loses, it dies. Others will someday take our place as we took the place of others.

It's that simple.

There will be no acting then. No faking success as survival is success. And if that happens at least this planet saw centuries of real accomplishment by people who did their best because for them there was no other way and I deeply believe that counts for something, somewhere.

As at the end, if there is no way to stop these people who fake it so viciously, then that may be all we have at the end.

Winning is hard. Losing is eternal.

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