I got up early this morning (actually I never did get to sleep). The first thing I saw was the sunlight in a million pin-points lighting up the blind in the bathroom after refracting through the frosted glass. I'd say it was a profound moment but I don't want to sound like that idiot in American Beauty ranting about plastic bags in the wind.

The vibe was lost completely when I looked out of the window. The garden had completely reverted to jungle so a couple of days ago I had a gardening company come in and chop it all down. All that's left now is a lawn and lots of gravel, a scene totally lacking in aesthetic qualities. My garden looks like a huge Kitty Litter!

For some reason while I was shopping I started reflecting on the nature of genius. I've never actually met one of these creatures and I doubt I ever will. For a simple reason, they don't exist. If you're hoping to meet one someday get over it! The idea of a genius is someone who is naturally gifted and never has to do any actual work and yet comes up with brilliant insights that no one else can match. Think of the character of the mathematical genius in Good Will Hunting. This guy never actually does any math and yet he's supposed to be hot stuff. But when I think about the many brilliant mathematicians that I've met this is what strikes me about them:

  1. They can concentrate very well for a sustained period.
  2. They don't let setbacks put them off, they persevere.
  3. They work all hours like maniacs.
At no stage do they slack off and say "Heh! I won't do any work today I'll just rely on my incredible gift to come up with the theorems". I mean, what do you think Andrew Wiles did for those seven years? You think he was sitting by the pool sipping cocktails and saying "Heh! I know the insight will strike me. Pass the ice"?

So why is this false idea of the genius so pervasive in our culture? I think it's because people would rather believe in magic than believe that someone else is just prepared to work so much harder than they are. Having said that I would love to have met Leonardo da Vinci or Einstein. Computer! Start holodeck program...

Noether's cool constant is 0.25.

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