I have always believed that what essentially forms the core of my self and my truest identity is my sense of beauty. I have always had a sensitivity for beauty. Its obviously a very deep question as to "What is beauty?" . Perhaps the like of Keats in the "Ode to an Greecian Urn " , "Truth is beauty , Beauty is truth" is a very hard hitting statement . But I think that it is more of a pessimism and placebo effects rather than a true appreciation of beauty. The truth is that few millions of children in India die because of malnutrition. What is the beauty on it ? Or is it some kind of a beauty of the state of the human mind of NOT being in an illusion that India is on the road of great progress , but that it is aware of the ground realities . Perhaps yes , perhaps not.
My artistic insights and inclinations are what form my first instinct and it has been always a difficult thing to live with. On one side my artistic sense of beauty has been a source of great joy for me as a fountain head of poetry or paintings but on the other hand I have always felt that it was my excessive artistic inclinations that have hindered my progress in science and mathematics. The essential beauty of a geometric shape like the mobius strip has always appealed to me as the first instinct and its a second thought that it is a non-orientable manifold .
I have observed from my experiences that people who are great in science and especially mathematics have very little human sensitivities especially a sense of art/music or beauty . Feynman himself had claimed in his autobiography how he looked down upon all kinds of artistic activities as base compared to the precise world of mathematical physics. But it obviously remains a debatable question since he had also done a huge number of paintings when he was a professor of Caltech. Similarly Einstein was a good violinist and Seshadri is a carnatic singer and so is Ramanan.
Hence it is highly debatable as to what exactly is the relation between artistic inclinations and scientific ( especially mathematical and mathematical physics ). My hunch is the following :: the age group of mathematical talents that I have had personal experiences with are of the middle school and above to undergraduates. May be the mathematical geniuses by nature look down upon artistic and romantic aspects of life as if they were some foolish trivialities and later as they grow up they get interested in it.
But it could also be possible that given these people's tremendously high intelligence the form in which they appreciate such aspects of life and how this appreciation manifests is beyond the comprehension of the common lay man like me.
I as a part of the crowd of commoners may be totally incapable of understanding how they appreciate such things as their ways of manifestations are totally anti polar to how I ( as a representative of the common crowd) would express these sensitivities.
But of course the above topic is only a digression to the main focus of this sequence of blogs.
I shall return to the main topic in the next blog.
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