Institutional Math

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Long exposure of simulated galaxies colliding

I’m not interested in money or fame; I don’t want to be on display like an animal in a zoo.

— Grigori Perelman

I’ve been wanting to write something terse, dense, with academic heft on this subject for so long. Sadly, I fear I I’ll never write that, and I frankly need to vent. I need to say what’s on my heart. I left the mathematical asylum, but I need some closure, and eating Curry isn’t cutting it anymore.

Grigori Perelman rejected the fields medal, and the clay institute awarded monetary prize for solving one of the “Millenium Problems”. Evariste Galois laid dormant for 10 years after his death in the drawers of Liouville. Gauss and Newton let their personality disorders lead them into missuing their powers, hindering and harming scientific progress1. Grothendieck left the whole thing behind, burned all his papers. Kaczynski became a domestic terrorist. Lovely field indeed.

The QED project is but ruins of visions of better times. If the proof isn’t surveyable, then it isn’t solvable! Mathematics aren’t just syntactics, no, they’re new age incarnations on the platonic plane of ideas, they’re universal truths of the universe! Nonsense.

Mathematics is circlejerking on tautological systems.

Lockhart can lament all he want’s, at least in primary school the problems are trivial, and you have time for explorative and exploitative inquiry. At the prestigious academy, the queen of sciences is ever more complicated but ironically perfect problems for proof systems, making them easy to validate. Since the primary concern of these problems is less work for the validator2, the true test of your “learning outcome” is your ability to solve solved problems systematically. We must preserve the human validator, by turning said human into a mistaken mockery of the computer.

Science, knowledge, the university itself. Open is its doors to any and all3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 14. Come reaseach for Boing and Lockheed, at the factulty of partitioning of 7 hole donuts by means of ballistics, or if it feels too theoretical to indirectly maime and kill people in foreign countries, why not study applied mathematics, and develop social models for companies like Palentier? Profiling, what’s that? Do you not believe in the infallable probabilities?

“We need a new Bourbaki” we young people may say to each other, but we all know well that we’d rather get ours and leave this corpse rotting and dying. If anything, what’s needed isn’t more fuel on the fire. Institutional science is systematically pissing in the super soaker wielded by various tyrants, profiteers and oligarchies around the planar graph we all live on. If we are to change mathematics, we should get to the roots of the problem, like we have always done. The foundation on which we built has a crisis, and that foundation isn’t mathematical, it’s social.

And for myself, for my mathematical circlejerking? I keep it between friends, private, like good sex. The smut we produce we encrypt and keep safe so as to not show something profane to the plutocrats of the academy. Encrypting — hoping to be kept in those drawers until saner heads emerge to open it.



As if such a thing existed.


And don’t get me wrong, that poor TA does deserve some help.


Except those that can’t afford it.


Or can’t attend due to distance.


Or have to take care of their or others children.


Or those that fall below the cutoff due to hostile home environments.


Or those that fall below the cutoff due to unalleviated learning disabilities8.


They also often happen to be poor.


And of course women can come in if they try especially hard, but don’t expect the same grants or even just respect as the men.


Those that are unable to follow the schedule due to disabilities.


Or frankly, as has been seen with e.g. dyslexia, those that don’t have the social, cultural, or monetary capital to attain necessary diagnosis12.


Not to say those who fall outside the boundaries of these diagnosis13.


Or are excluded from them under dubious reasons.


And of course, people of color, women, trans people, etc etc that manage to get in but find the environment toxic.

Date: 2023-11-10 Fri 14:03

Author: Christina E. Sørensen

Created: 2024-04-14 Sun 11:02