Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for December 2nd, 2017

Breaking down the door

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Nice general concepts do not fall into our laps by themselves. But definite concrete problems were first conquered in their undivided complexity, singlehanded by brute force, so to speak. Only afterwards the axiomaticians came along and stated: Instead of breaking the door with all your might and bruising your hands, you should have constructed such and such a key of skill, and by it you would have been able to open the door quite smoothly. But they can construct the key only because they are able, after the breaking in was successful, to study the lock from within.

Hermann Weyl, quoted by Charles W. Curtis in Pioneers of Representation Theory

Written by nevalalee

December 2, 2017 at 6:55 am

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