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Opacity

Shared by JohnH

From NNT’s homepage. Continued at link above. Hat tip to Dave Lull.

118– 2009, Annus Mirabilis

I thought that calendar 2009 was a good year for my thinking activities; taking stock I thought I had satisfied my new year commitment to not be late once, satisfied my ancient Mediterranean avoidance of vulgar work (called “laziness” in modern days by philistines and modern slaves), brought down my “work” activities to under 3 hours a week, while (of course) increasing my income, reduced boring exercise while increasing my fitness, never uttered the word “I am busy” (meaning I was in control of my life), drank good wine, etc. I had spent minimal time with philistines and businessmen, blew away a few heads of state and ministers of finance because I despise bureaucrats & journalists & find them both boring and intellectually inferior to my friends Dupire, Douady, the philosophers & philosophasters, etc. You know you are free when you prefer to turn down invitations by the glorious to accepting them –the first step towards withdrawal and seclusion. I did more raw thinking, pure abstract thinking than ever before, except perhaps in childhood as I had no soccer mum so I could lounge and meditate. I figured out mathematically why nature could not have an animal larger than an elephant, why size is a handicap in complex systems, the “too big WILL fail”, etc. but all these seemed child play. For I never thought that I would see in front of me the result of my life with disastrous consequences for LOGIC, EPISTEMOLOGY, DECISION THEORY, STATISTICAL INFERENCE. Thanks to my friend Raphael Douady who lets me borrow his brain, his intelligence, and his mathematical erudition–he has more mathematical culture than anyone in modern times,except perhaps for his late father Adrien Douady. 16 years of conversations with Raphael … Only he could bring up cylindrical (even spherical) Brownian motion, Sobolev space, etc. into normally bland discourses. All it took is a long conversation in Raphael’s kitchen last November. Now I feel I did something deep.

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