از "دفاعیه یک ریاضی‌دان" - 3

A mathematician, like a painter or a poet, is a maker of patterns. If his patterns are more permanent than theirs, it is because they are made with ideas. A painter makes patterns with shapes and colours, a poet with words. A painting may embody an ‘idea’, but the idea is usually commonplace and unimportant. In poetry, ideas count for a good deal more; but, as Housman insisted, the importance of ideas in poetry is habitually exaggerated: ‘I cannot satisfy myself that there are any such things as poetical ideas.… Poetry is no the thing said but a way of saying it'. l

Not all the water in the rough rude sea

   Can wash the balm from an anointed King

Could lines be better, and could ideas be at once more trite and more false? The poverty of the ideas seems hardly to affect the beauty of the verbal pattern. A mathematician, on the other hand, has no material to work with but ideas, and so his patterns are likely to last longer, since ideas wear less with time than words. l

G.H. Hardy, A Mathematician's Apology

 

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