Thursday, May 09, 2013

memories of a familiar land: epilogue .. and self-criticism.

my mind is used to the slow-ness again, that slow pace which is conducive to long, drawn out contemplation. ΙΡΛM was great, but frenetic. apart from the mornings (as i've pointed out before) i rarely had any real time to think deeply on any one idea.
i hesitate to generalise and moralise about the nature of research and collaboration, primarily because i can talk with authority only about my own habits and inclinations. even then that is suspect, as i'm no psychologist.

(most likely this rant is highly specific to the degenerate ways in which my mind works.)
at any rate, this is what i remember:

in the busy-busy pace of IPΛM life, one encounters one's peers more often, they more often than usual have questions, and one is more prone to answering them quickly. there's an advantage in this, of course, because one generates more ideas and obtains more flashes of insight and connections between initially separate topics.

on the other hand, i felt that most of these kinds of ideas are of less quality. i found it very hard to "build" anything .. at least in the there-&-then.
it could also be the nature of my work;

most of my best work in the last few years (based solely on my personal bias, that is) comes from rather intricate constructions that rely equally on geometry and on functional analysis.

put more plainly, i like taking weak limits, blowing spaces up, and building crazy functions that obey speed limits.
again, i hope none of you misconstrue my meaning. i'm only talking about my personal tastes. in retrospect it was wise for IPΛM not to fund me for the entire program, because had i participated for 3 months straight, what would probably have happened was:
  • i'd show up to the institute only 1/2 the days of the week,
  • of those appearances, they would largely be for seminars and other short events, leaving little time for discussions,
  • i'd probably hide out for a week after each workshop, just to get my head straightened out again,
  • of all the meetings during the entire program, only a handful would probably be highly professionally relevant ..
.. and, related to the last point, there's no reason why one cannot stack the situation so that these meetings occur in a short span of time ..

so .. why not just a short visit? (-:

this kind of program is meant for quicker, more gregarious minds than mine .. namely, those that work best in communities and most easily create by talking with others. as for myself, i build more than i talk .. and i'm glad that the institute didn't choose the wrong person.

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