Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The dilettante connoisseur

When I imagine creating mathematics, I try to disavow the notion it is different from creating art. I have never created any mathematics; I do not have the talent or the drive. I have written bad fiction and painted bad pictures, yet that is not creating art. Most likely, I poorly reproduced something I had read or seen even if I did it unconsciously.

Raphael’s School of Athens is no more a picture of Plato and Aristotle talking than Fermat’s Last Theorem is about a tricky number problem. I know a bit about both. Even if I spent a prodigious amount of time studying them, I would probably never understand the painting’s meaning or the theorem’s proof.

When it comes to the sciences and the arts, I am a dilettante connoisseur. I do not apologize for that. The arts and sciences may need dilettante connoisseurs. Support for the sciences and arts must come from somewhere.

I try to educate myself and satisfy my curiosity. I have devoted much of my life to doing exactly that. I associate part of my identity with being a dilettante connoisseur. It adds meaning to my life.

Books of mathematics, philosophy, and art sit beside my table. I hope their creators do not mind them sitting next to an admiring and sometimes fawning dilettante.


At 4:45 PM, Blogger Renegade Eye said...

Same here.

At 11:42 PM, Blogger Lynn said...

Renegade eye,

Glad to hear I ain't alone.


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