The Rapture of Mathematics

March 9, 2009

The Rapture of Mathematics

Filed under: Uncategorized — Guillermo @ 9:26 pm

The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as in poetry. What is best in mathematics deserves not merely to be learned as a task, but to be assimilated as a part of daily thought, and brought again and again before the mind with ever-renewed encouragement. Real life is, to most men, a long second-best, a perpetual compromise between the real and the possible; but the world of pure reason knows no compromise, no practical limitations, no barrier to the creative activity embodying the splendid edifices the passionate aspiration after the perfect from which all great work springs. Remote from human passions, remote even from pitiful facts of nature, the generations have gradually created an ordered cosmos, where pure thought can dwell as in its natural home, and where one, at least, of our nobler impulses can escape from the dreary exile of the natural world.

Bertrand Russell.

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