Sunday, February 27, 2005

Melancholic Moods and Road to Reality

These periods of stagnation are difficult to tolerate. You have been experiencing a flow of mathematical ideas continuing more than year with only brief periods of recovery from physical exhaustion. Then you lose the contact. No ideas pop up. You have been asked to write articles but you cannot do it: a passive organizing of existing material into articles simply cannot motivate you, and you cannot develop enough self discipline to do this by brute force. Chess problems are your latest invention in the war against depression: your brain gets depressed unless it receives its daily portion of problems. You also write to your blog page these melancholic musing to stay sane. You begin to feel more and more strongly your role in the society: an unemployed academic village fool, trying to survive with a minimum possible unemployment money. Without any future and thus without any hope. The academic world of Finland will never forgive you that you have carried out without their permission a lifework summarized in these four 1000-page books which have become your identity. The punishment is the cruellest possible: they have stolen your future. You feel that you have lost completely your faith in humanity but at the same time know that you should be able to cheat yourself to believe on the ultimate justice. Fear fills you: how could you recover some of this naive and healthy belief that all power holders of science are not gangsters. In this mood you open monday's email box and ... experience something completely unexpected. An email tells that Sir Roger Penrose mentions in his newest book "Road to Reality" your work relating to p-adic physics. Although you have talked a lot about name magic, you cannot hide your happiness. You feel it really consolating that there are also honest and intelligent people in this cruel, and you notice notice it now, beautiful world. You know that this kind of gesture has miraculous effect: some collegue might lower himself to touch your work. Even better, this book will inspire many young people who still have an open mind. While looking out you see that Sun is almost shining. You hope to have some day the opportunity to read Road to Reality yourself and remember that there was a discussion in Not-Even-Wrong about Road to Reality. Matti Pitkanen


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