Not exactly that I was incorrect in what I said, but I worked hard to climb a ladder that was leaning against the wrong building. Sales calls for social graces, the ability to handle rejection, and real persistence, and while you may really and truly learn persistence in math, I sincerely doubt that mathematical training is a sort of industrial strength preparation for social graces and dealing with rejection. I would still stand by a statement that if you can handle the abstraction in math, you can probably handle the abstraction in anything else. Why study Mathematics? I may be concerned with flaws here, but they are not the whole truth.
However, there are some things I would like to comment on, some flaws to point out. And I mention this as a then-mathematician who wrote A Treatise on Touch , which may be seen as interesting, may be seen as deep, and may have something in common with the mathematician purchasing a book so he could know how to hug. Part of what I have been working on is how, very slowly, to become more human. This struggle is reflected in Yonder , which is at its most literal a struggle of philosophers to reach what is human.
There is an outer story of disembodied minds set in a dark science fiction world, who are the philosophers, and there is a story within a story, an inner story, of the tragic beauty of human life. When I showed it to a science fiction guru, he suggested that I cut the philosophical dialogues down by quite a bit. The suggestion had a lot of sense, and quite possibility a traditional publisher would want to greatly abbreviate the sections that he suggested I curtail. When literature builds up to a success, usually the path to success is filled with struggles and littered with failures.
This is true of good heroic literature, and for that matter a lot of terrible heroic literature as well. Just watch a bad adventure movie sometime. Yonder is a story that is replete with struggles and failures, only the failures of the disembodied minds have nothing to do with physical journeys or combat. They begin stuck in philosophy, mere philosophy, and their clumsy efforts to break out provide the failures, and therefore to greatly abridge the philosophical discussion would be to strip away the struggle and failure by which they reach success: a vision of the grandeur of being human.
The dark science fiction world and its mere philosophy provides the vision of Hell that prepares the reader to see the humanness of Heaven and the Heaven of humanness. The inner story can be told by itself; it is for that matter told independently in A Wonderful Life. But there is something in Yonder , as it paints the stark, dark, disturbing silhouette of the radiant, luminous splendor and beauty of human life. That work has its flaws, and I may have drunk too deeply of Taoism, but there was a seed planted that I would later recognize in fuller forms in the Orthodox Way.
I had in full my goals of studying and thinking, but I realized by the way that there was some value to be had in stillness. Later I would come to be taught that stillness is not an ornament to put on top of a tree; it is the soil from which the tree of life grows. After I completed my studies in math, and having trouble connecting with the business world, I took stock, and decided that the most important knowledge of all was theology.
I had earlier planned to follow the established route of being a mathematician until I was no longer any good for mathematics and then turning out second rate theology. So, in this spirit, I applied to several schools and began the study of academic theology. Perhaps he wants the same thing, but perhaps God first wants to free me from the chain of being too much like a mathematician wanting to learn how to hug by reading a book.
During my time studying theology at Cambridge, I was received into the Orthodox Church.
I am grateful to God for both a spiritual father whose lenience offered a corrective to my legalistic tendencies, and for a godfather who was fond of reading Orthodox loose cannons and who helped me see a great many things that were invisible to me at the time. And in that response, my godfather helped me take one step further away from being a mathematician trying to find a book that will teach him how to hug. He also gave me repeated corrections when I persisted in the project of trying to improve Orthodox practices by historical reconstruction.
And eventually he got through to me on that point. Becoming Orthodox for me has been a matter of becoming really and truly human, or at least beginning to. There is a saying that has rumbled down through the ages in different forms: in the second century, St. He also became man that I might become a man. If Christ became man that I might become human, this is manifest in a million ways in the Orthodox Church.
Let me give one way. When I was preparing to be received into the Orthodox Church, I asked my godfather some question about how to best straighten out my worldview. He told me that the Western project of worldview construction was not part of the Orthodox Way: I had been invited to walk the Orthodox Way but not work out the Orthodox worldview. They are important, and you need to strive for strict excellence, but you are not treating them in the right spirit if you hold them rigidly and legalistically. Work out with your priest how you will best bend them. The rhythm of the liturgy and its appointed seasons, the spiritual housecleaning involved with preparing for confession, the profoundly important community of the faithful: all of these are part of how it works out in the Orthodox Church that God became man not only so that I might become divine, but also so that I might become more truly man.
Part of this becoming human on my part also has to do with silence, or as Orthodox call it, hesychasm. Part of the disorder of life as we know it is that our minds are scattered about: worrying about this, remembering that pain, and in general not gathered into the heart.
Mathematical training is a training in drawing the mind out of the heart and into abstract thinking. Or even think that is something we could accomplish? What about an altar at which to worship? A workshop? A bridge between Heaven and earth, a meeting place where eternity meets time? A treasury in which to gather riches? A spark of divine fire?
A line in a strong grid? A river, ever flowing, ever full? A tree reaching to Heaven while its roots grasp the earth?
A mountain made immovable for the greatest storm? A home in which to live and a ship by which to sail? Kortext is an ebook and etextbook provider for universities, university students and for anyone who loves to read. We have a wide range of , ebooks in our portfolio and the number of titles are increasing daily. We offer a free ebook reader to download with our books where users can freely make notes, highlight texts and do citations and save them in their accounts. Best selling eBooks. Principles and Practice of Marketing.
Free ebooks with your Kortext account. Principles of Macroeconomics. Most popular free ebooks. Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus. Most popular eBook categories. Earth Sciences, Geography, Environment, Planning. Most popular eBook sub-categories. I have read many memoirs but none regarding your life story. Your writing is so succinct and compelling.
Many people have helped me in finding my voice and putting thoughts on paper. I want to thank Benjamin Yosua-Davis who worked with me through early drafts while I was still puzzling different pieces of my memory into something readable. I want to thank Beth Brinsfield who ensured that I had a strong voice and purpose and connected the dots, so I could say what I wanted to say more clearly. To Bernard Chen and Margery Hauser, as my first readers and collaborators of writing, thank you for encouraging me when I first started searching for ideas and reasons to put words down on paper and share.
To my family and friends, Dr. Freudenreich and Deborah, and other caregivers, thank you for reading the countless versions of drafts, starting from the first shitty and fragmented draft and for boosting my confidence to continue my writing journey. Most of all, thank you for being part of my life. The book cover was designed by my good friend Frederikke Tu , a Danish American artist. She drew inspiration from my story and the Swedish artist Hilma of Klint. Frederikke combined the idea of the brain with scientific and mathematical, beautiful and calm images.
When I saw her design, the cover immediately resonated with me. Here is how I interpret the cover art: In the middle is my brain.
the reality oriented mathematician a memoir Manual
The white sparkles around the brain are synapses that fire in the brain. I have lots of them and sometimes extra ones. The black dot in the yellow circle could be Joe, my first voice and a voice that I thought about often. The yellow circle is everything that happened around Joe. Then the purple circle is everything that happened with voices of my friends and family.
An Author’s Musing Memoirs: Retrospective Reflections, Retracings, and Retractions
All of these experiences light up in my brain. Other experiences are depicted by the black circles. The bottom part is my normal brain, which let me live and work. My brain is split apart. In December , I read this memoir and felt that I was good with it. I have done what I can. The imperfect book that gets published is better than the perfect book that never leaves my computer. The dinner party of take-out Chinese food is better than the elegant dinner that I never host. Share this: Twitter Facebook. Like this: Like Loading