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February 20, 2011

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Kapitano

There's a quote from GK Chesterton which I'm sure you've heard:

"Imagination does not breed insanity. Exactly what does breed insanity is reason. Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom."

Someone else (I forget who) said "Insanity is not unreason. Insanity is reason with nothing else".

After reading about Goedel and now Bloch, I can't help suspecting Chesterton had a point. Highly focused people are often eccentric, but that's not the same thing. What do you think? Is there a significantly above average proportion of mathematicians and hard scientists who (by whatever standard) go 'over the edge'?

Romeo  Vitelli

My impression is that madness can strike someone from any walk of life. Scientists and mathematicians can go mad, but so can poets, artists, and writers. Madness is truly democratic.

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