Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Something accomplished, something done :D
Just finished the first homework set for class. Took me long enough. But mixed in with the relief of being done, I must admit I'm a little proud of what I accomplished. Maybe the set was hard, and maybe it wasn't, but it demanded a use of Math skills I haven't exercised in years. And now that I'm done, I realize that I've missed this sort of intellectual challenge. For all the agony and frustration that make up trying to prove a theorem, there's an amazing reward at the end (if you ever get there). What you've done is right. Not just "feels right." Not just "sounds good." Not just "industrial-strength," or "professional quality." No, this is really and truly right. Perfect, in its way. And so the moment of proof is, in a sense, a perfect moment. The joy of proving something has an eternal feel to it - you are echoing back to the universe what it knows to be true about itself. With your finite and imperfect hands, you have grasped a piece of what has always been true, and always will be true. And in this moment, it does not matter whether there will ever be an use for what you have proved, or whether anyone else in the world understands what you have done. The only thing that matters is the joy of the sequence of thought expressed in the notations on the piece of paper in front of you. And that is what Math is really all about.