Giving pause...:

Over the weekend Mike Lawler, posted about two items ("

*two incredible descriptions of what it is like to do math research*") he wished he had seen in graduate school in order to maintain his avid prior enthusiasm for math (one is a

**Numberphile**interview with Ken Ribet, and the other is Cedric Villani's current book, "

**Birth of a Theorem**"):

**http://tinyurl.com/q355eyo**

The post contains these sentences that I find oddly-riveting about Mike's sudden loss of interest in math after a 5th-grade-to-grad-school infatuation with the subject:

How bizarre is that??? But then I know that I too sometimes have flashes of wondering if perhaps mathematics is just a boring .00001% smidgen of what there is to know out there, and that"Towards the end of my third year in graduate school, though, I completely lost interest in math. It didn’t happen gradually, either – I just woke up one day and wasn’t interested in math anymore. I’ve never known why."

*real*knowledge resides elsewhere in some metaphysical/paranormal/spiritual/mystical/other-worldly realm... the power of mathematics being but an illusion! A bit reminiscent of the 2nd Bertrand Russell quote I employ above:

**"**I have come to believe, though very reluctantly, that it [mathematics] consists of tautologies. I fear that, to a mind of sufficient intellectual power, the whole of mathematics would appear trivial, as trivial as the statement that a four-legged animal is an animal."*---Bertrand Russell (1957)*That was Russell summing up close to 70 years of philosophical contemplation. ...Frustration, or epiphany?

(Yesterday at

*, I used quotes from Richard Feynman to stress that "UNCERTAINTY" is the hallmark of all our knowledge.)*

**Math-Frolic**On-the-other-hand, we have current-day physicist Max Tegmark arguing that

__ALL__there is to the Universe is mathematics... ultimately, there is

*nothing*else:

(Max's book "

**Our Mathematical Universe**" HERE.)

**Sometimes math seems like a Necker Cube, changing appearances when stared at long enough... penetrating and insightful one moment, trivial and mundane the next.**

Anyway, I'm left to wonder, do other mathematicians experience the flashes of doubt and lapses in math-veneration of Lawler and Russell (and me), from time-to-time??? Or are these rare occurrences, from too much beer and pepperoni pizza? ;-) Anyone...?

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