Something To Think About: Mathematical Lunacy

The notion that mathematical reasoning is somehow linked with mental illness is not as far-fetched as it might first appear.  The late mathematician, Robert Brooks, provides an amusing analogy of his own in our discussion of mathematical shape;

RW:  Then it’s(the world of mathematical shapes) your world.  You’re immersed in this abstract universe that you’ve created.

RB:  That’s right.  My wife is a family physician, and she says that the patients that remind her of me the most are the schizophrenics, because they’re walking around in a world that’s very real to them, but invisible to anyone else….  I actually spend a lot of time just sitting with… paper models, playing with them, and asking myself what is the same about them, and what is different.

Mathematics and mental illness:  Something to think about.

About Robert M. Weiss
From an early age, I've taken great pleasure in reading. Also, I learned to play my 78 player when I was quite young, and enjoyed listening to musicals and classical music. I remember sitting on the floor, and following the text and pictures of record readers, which were popular in the 1940s and 50s. My favorites were the Bozo and Disney albums. I also enjoyed watching the slow spinning of 16s as they spun out tales of adventure. I have always been attracted by rivers, and I love to sit on a boulder with my feet in the water, gazing into the mysteries of swirling currents. I especially like inner tubing on the Rogue River in Southern Oregon. Since my early youth, I've been interested in collecting minerals, which have taught me about the wonderful possibilities in colors and forms. Sometimes I try to imagine what the ancient Greeks must have felt when they began to discover physical laws in nature. I also remember that I had a special passion for numbers, and used to construct them out of stones. After teaching Russian for several years, I became a writer, interviewer, editor, and translator. I continue to delight in form, and am a problem solver at heart.

3 Responses to Something To Think About: Mathematical Lunacy

  1. auntyuta says:

    I would say, this is definitely something to think about. Makes me wonder how ‘mental illness’ can truthfully be defined. We are very limited in our understanding. Mostly we all understand only our own little world. I reckon for a well functioning society some sort of communication is needed. People who do not learn to communicate with people in their environment are seen as being very odd. 🙂

  2. A very insightful and astute comment, Uta.

  3. rommel says:

    A Beautiful Mind come to mind. 🙂 Wait, I actually love Math. 🙂 Eeek!!!

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