Friday, October 10, 2008

D. F. W. cont

. . . G. G. L. P. Cantor is the most important mathematician of the nineteenth century and a figure of great complexity and pathos. He was in and out of mental hospitals for much of his later adulthood and died in a sanitarium in Halle in 1918. K. Gödel, the most important mathematician of the twentieth century, also died as the result of mental illness. L. Boltzmann, the most important mathematical physicist of the nineteenth century committed suicide. And so on. (5,6)

. . . It might be that philosophers and mathematicians, who spend a lot of time thinking (a) abstractly or (b) about abstractions or (c) both, are eo ipso rendered prone to mental illness. Or it might just be that people who are susceptible to mental illness are more prone to think about these sorts of things. (12)
Everything and More: A Compact History of ∞-David Foster Wallace

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