Poetry of thoughts

September 12th, 2014, 6pm

Having allowed my mind to rest for a while, having dismount from my bike, I can now watch it to cycle by itself; resting from the side of the road, with a book of poetry in my hands.

The reading of poetry is not an easy activity, and against that I was certainly warned by Paul Valery’s “La plupart des hommes ont une idée si vague de la poésie que ce vague même de leur idée est pour eux la définition de la poésie”; the danger for the reader to confuse his experience of reading with the experience laying beyond the words. When compared to other arts — more than representative painting, but less than dance — this characteristic of poetry, to recover our own process of experiencing rather than the object of experience itself, makes it very close from mathematics compared to other sciences.

When presented to non-professionals, why should the essence of mathematics be reduced to formulas, to logic — aka “the hygiene of the mathematician”1— to proofs, to Theorems or even Lemmas; to other impenetrable but reassuring things all well locked within dusty books? The essence of the art of mathematics is within the process2 not within the result; like others forms of art, the art of mathematics should be widely disclosed to public spaces.

Choose topics, choose mediums, find galleries and offer it to the world; wait for it to resonate with people’s soul3.

Well, my bike is nearly falling now, certainly time for me to mount back.

  1. In The Future of Mathematics by André Weil, 1947. 

  2. more along these lines in the famous short text of William Thurston, On proof and progress in mathematics

  3. Fondation Cartier, Mathématiques, un dépaysement soudain

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