Wednesday, February 10, 2010


JSH: But what is right?

For years I've preferred the argumentative style for multiple reasons, where one is that I think that there is a battle of ideas. Correct ideas cannot be defeated so there is no reason for social niceness or jumping through hoops to convince others. Right is right. And wrong is wrong.

However, it occurs to me that others see it differently. And rather than continue in the old style I'm considering evolving my style, and moving away from antagonistic bashings. Those are a lot of fun, but maybe not as productive as I'd like.

So I'm asking the question, what is right?

Years ago I noticed that I started having a lot more fun doing my own amateur musing on mathematics when I lost interest in convincing people, and quit caring if what I found was a really big deal. I'd just work on things for the fun of it. But very soon thereafter I found myself with what looked to me to be the very kind of ideas I'd been looking for before, when I was looking for the BIG IDEA.

So I put them out, and what do you know, ended up right back arguing with people. So it has occurred to me, maybe part of it is, I like to argue! Ok, that self-analysi was easy.

Arguing with people on Usenet, I got the same reactions as before. And to this day of course they say, I didn't change at all! And that NONE of my ideas are really all that important, either being re-hashing of previously known research or just being wrong.

So let's start there. I'll say that I will happily consider that possibility. And I'll note that I do like to argue (but will shy for this thread—I hope—from doing so) and I do like to just play with even simple mathematics for the sheer joy of it, even if I'm doing things already known!

So now what?

I'm not interested in picking up old texts. Not going to engross myself in current literature, and probably won't read many postings (if any) by anyone else. I will not take a math course.

So is there any hope?

What is the answer to the conundrum? Is endless arguing the only possibility? Or must someone give in, and if so, in what way?

There are lots of things I have no interest in doing, but one thing I can do in this thread at least, is try to listen.

Without doubt there will be some nasty replies. I suggest you mostly ignore those, which is what I do. Though I do read some for entertainment value as some can be rather funny. I will try to answer sensible questions, as I see them as being sensible. But may completely ignore people.

Usenet is a freedom of speech area. Posters who maintain that I should just shut-up if I don't follow their rules or some other person's rules are automatically idiots. It is also stupid to request that I just leave the newsgroups as maybe hundreds of people have made that request over more than a decade. You can see how well that has worked for them.

I'm suggesting you use your energy wisely. Moving down old paths that I've seen before will just bore me.

By now I've heard just about every angle a poster can manage.

Try to be creative. Or simply wander off. You need say, nothing at all.

What is right? For discussions. In mathematics. On sci.math. Or alt.math.undergrad.

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