Friday, September 07, 2012

literally, seeing an idea through.

some people can just work out ideas in their head; i can't.

i need paper .. at least for the amount of certainty that i want out of an idea. i have to be able to see it, see the words and the diagrams, and my mind's eye just isn't clear enough.

maybe i even need to feel them.
there's a common analogy [1] with mathematical discovery being like exploring a room in the dark, feeling one object at a time, remembering its location, and upon finding the light switch, seeing things as they really are.

i don't care if the light switch is on or not: if my back is turned, i want to know whether the remote is where i left it when i turn back towards the table ..!

[1] i think the description is due to andrew wiles, when asked about mathematics and the proof of fermat's last theorem.

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