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.