Also an adept statement of many aspects of the human condition.

How could something grow closer and closer to another thing and never touch it? It's only hard to understand as mathematics (I first learned about it studying Apollonius' Conic Sections, and I'll say it was hard to understand!) -- but as a concept, a reality, something which might be sensed and experienced? The simplest possible description of what it's like to eek ever closer, and never touch? To catch endless glimpses and never see? To race horizontally off into the unknown, still staring at your goal, just a fingernail away? To get so close, maybe, that being close becomes indistinguishable from being there?

One of my favorite applications of this concept was the slogan, "I'm going crazy on an asymptotic curve". Though the curve is not the exact same thing as the asymptote, still, you all know exactly what that signifies, don't you? It's obvious, from a human perspective. Of the many who have experienced it, quite a few have written it down; but none so succintly as the mathematics department. Ah, the savor of irony.

Math. Through human eyes. Isn't that fantastic? I think it is.

Try these other thoughts on: