Georg Cantor. Kurt Gödel. Alan Turing. Isaac Newton.

Mad Mathematicians all, and some of the brightest people ever to incarnate upon this Earth.

What is it about the mathematician which so often ends in the wearing of underwear on the head, so to speak? Or at least, so often ends in a sanatorium for the not-quite-right in mind and thus in body?

It is not, I submit, merely the pursuit of mathematics which turns brightsparks into self-devouring infernos.
Rather, the furnace of the Universe has submitted into incarnation a mind which is capable of grasping, albeit around the edges, the concepts of both infinity and underlying structure. Both, at once, seem to characterize the Cosmos in which we’ve placed ourselves this time around.

Did we think this was funny? I mean, from the limited viewpoint of 3 spatial and 1 temporal dimension, mathematicians deal in the idea of limitlessness, which keeps on coming at them from within their efforts to limit, or formalize, the study of the structure of the universe – otherwise known as mathematics.

Keep your Thermogoddamics; Entropy may well be a very localized phenomenon. One which, moreover, requires a closed, or limited, system in which to apply.
But math produces infinity in the very act of trying to capture and tag the structure and behaviour of the Cosmos. It pops up in the darnedest places, too: in the denominator of a fraction, blowing the entire equation to kingdom-come and forcing the mathematician to apply limiting factors to the equation. Often hilariously termed ‘normalisation’.

While all the time, at the root of these frozen slices of dynamics we fiddle around with to satisfy our craving to know about the place in which we are incarnate, lie the grounded, unbudgeable terms we call Universal Constants. Hah! As if that ever explained it all!

Mankind may have discovered the Natural numbers, but God created the Integers, so the saying goes. There’s a certain inevitability to a figure of One Whole, which when it meets another Whole is termed Two (or Three, or Twenty, depending on the Arithmetical system you’re working in). In addition, deeper than this, are the constants Pi, e and i.

None of these three is a natural number. One of them, indeed, is not even Real.
And yet they are integral to the foundation of the very Universe. Moreover, they are all related, one to the other, in a very short equation indeed.

A case can be made ( and I’ve made it, often, as a Materialist) that these constants have to be what they are, related as they are, precisely because we can abstract them. If we couldn’t, we wouldn’t be incarnate in this Universe, or the Universe wouldn’t be capable of hosting our particular consciousness, so the question is, in reality, begged.

And that’s a very fine way of looking at the so-called fine tuning of the Universe.
If it weren’t like that, in other words, we wouldn’t be here to ask the questions.

But what, and here I come back to my entry remark, is it about dealing in the Fields of the Infinite, i.e. Mathematics, which causes so many of those who try, and often succeed brilliantly, to end up in the gutter of what humanity considers sanity?

Perhaps certain minds are preconfigured to be able to ask these questions in the first place, and, asking, to go some way to answering them. But, like Gödel’s own Incompleteness Theorem, we are forever lost for a sturdy and unshakeable foundation for all our formal logic. It simply refuses to hold still under our probing.

And that’s maybe all for the best – I have a really deep suspicion that we’ll supply ourselves with all the missing pieces in Time.

And those poor loons who died outside of society’s definition of sanity?
Well, they undoubtedly already know the answers, for they are no longer incarnate.

For myself I have found that discovering one’s Inner Loon, or Shaman as I like to call Her, is a sure way to avoid the Loony Bin, in the long run. For when I tried to suppress Her, I sure enough ended up in the physical gutters of this world, nearly dead, and being pronounced mentally ill by all those around me, including myself.

But, once I found Her and started to integrate Her knowledge into the mundane learning I had accumulated from years in this sick civilization, I found also that I was nowhere near insane. Merely, as they say, Human.

3 responses to “Madematicians

  1. The cosmos doesn’t give a rats ass about math, that is just something the monkeys use to try to prove things to understand it all better.But there are things about the cosmos that they can’t prove with math, or have to. They will have to figure out other ways to prove creation. And Anne Johnson over at the Gods Are Bored thinks that writing more fiction will fix this planet. What a frigging idiot, fiction is just an escape from reality.


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