Saturday, August 09, 2008


JSH: Confronting my fatalism

For various reason I've been looking more at my own behavior in looking at why some of my mathematical research has failed to gain more mainstream acceptance, and I've had to admit to myself that I've been looking for failure, expecting it, partly from being a student of history and knowing how hard it is for new ideas to be accepted but also because of some personal background I have brought up years before, as I was born into a fundamentalist Christian family that among other things believed that God would soon literally destroy the world, killing every other person not a part of this religion, ushering in a paradise on earth afterwards.

As a kid there were times based on what I was taught that I didn't think I'd have to worry about graduating from high school because this world would probably be destroyed by then, by God.

Oh yeah, also I was taught that the world is actually governed by Satan the Devil, who is in charge of all world leaders, so true Christians are supposed to be separate from the world, work only so that they can survive, and devote most of their time to preaching to others to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.

And those are some central tenets of the Jehovah's Witness religion and while I let go, or thought I'd let them go, looking back I can see how my postings have often been impacted by the world view that was drilled into me, and it's time for me to just honestly look at that and make a better effort to not look for and expect the worst from others.

And to not get preachy about my own mathematical discoveries, I guess.

Functionally, most of that means I will no longer rant against mathematicians, math society, or "math people", as I've done in the past.

I have no intentions of picking up a renewed posting frenzy either as I fear a need on some level to "preach" may have driven a larger than necessary posting volume in the past—maybe with all those threads I was doing the equivalent of JW's knocking on a lot of doors—though I was also brainstorming so it was a mixed bag. Life is complicated, eh?

And think about one interesting thing of how I was trained: I was brought up to go to the homes of strangers and knock on their door to tell them their religion was wrong, as that's what Jehovah's Witnesses do.

I was 4 years old going with my parents, helping them. Later before I escaped to college, I was a kid facing resistance from strangers in arguments on Christ and the fate of the world.

You might say I was trained to do what I did for so many years on math groups, and with that training, I have to say, I was pretty damn good at it.

Time to let it go.

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