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Why we love mathematics?
It is because we are *abnormal. We think the platonic world behind mathematics is worthy of our precious time, energy and social life. While others in our college social circle are earning millions a year in the Wall Street, we are working on papers that give us little monetary reward and be forced to compete against each other.
It is because we are *obsessive. We think that what distinguishes “good” and “bad” is something subtle. We insist that to understand something completely one needs a proof illustrating the mechanism behind it, and nothing less will satisfying [sic] our intellectual needs. For most of us, we pretended that the world is black and white, such that for what we believed to be true there is either an answer somewhere, or we can show there is no answer available. For a problem that puzzles us, we will try a million methods to attack it before we give up. We are obsessed with not just how to solve it, but to find the best way to understand it in a more general context.
It is because we are *socially inept. We are not afraid of point [sic] out others' mistakes so that he or she will feel embarrassed in front of the public. Instead we believe by pointing out the logical error we did an immeasurable service to the society. We believe one should never force others to do anything; and the only reasonable way to change others' opinion is through logical persuasion. By doing this, however, we usually make our lives much more difficult.
It is because we are *creative. We want to express our ideas in way like musicians and visual artists. We want to show something entirely new to the world by building it ourselves, not just enjoying the luxury of technology advancement from our parents' generation. Few of us eventually fulfilled our dreams, but we believed each of us is unique and our work would not be replaceable by other people. We want to contribute to our platonic world by increasing its vitality and diversity.
It is because we are *self-contradictory. We believe that if a proof is correct, then no other recognition is needed. We believe that good work would speak for itself for anyone who can follow every step in the proof. However, in the same time we understand that because of this belief we are placed in a small minority of humankind. We know there are only few people who can appreciate the true beauty lying behind a great piece of art. We need others like us to appreciate our work because no one wants to be socially isolated, but the nature of our work make this incredibly difficult.
Statistically, I believe people with such characteristics are very few. Therefore it is not surprising that we fall in love with mathematics, because there is virtually no other activity on this planet that suits these scumbags. In mathematics we found a sense of fraternity, that the beauty someone revealed accidentally can be appreciated by a similar mind. In mathematics we shared some hope of true equality, that what someone thinks matters and his or her physical identity does not matter. In mathematics we fought for the slim chance of immortality, that our work would eventually outlive us after we passed away. And our existence as random molecules in the universe would have a purpose.
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