Go with a smile!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Sieteocho’s 254th retirement.

I have the same birthday as David Bowie. Like David Bowie, over the years I’ve had my share of false retirements. I had said that I was going to stop blogging – I didn’t. I said that I was going to slow down to 1 post a month – it didn’t last. I even killed this blog until the reason for killing this blog itself died in a car accident. So bear that in mind when I say I’m going to stop blogging (or slow down).

I think that a great impetus for my blogging started when I was in the uni, and discovering a lot of knowledge – well, the bookish kind – when I was studying there. And I was in the middle of what I recognise to be a 10 year love affair with books. And even then I knew that this was a temporary love affair even though I found myself buying many more books than could have been finished in 10 years. Well that’s that, I suppose. I had built a cocoon around myself, but I need to get out.

Something struck me, in my first year in the uni. I said to my Maths professor, rather rashly, “Mathematics doesn’t really teach you anything, does it?” And it was a bit impudent of me because he was famous enough to be mentioned in James Gleick's "Chaos". And the conversation went right ahead because luckily he didn’t really understand me.

But what I meant was that mathematical knowledge is not empirical knowledge. It teaches you how to analyse things, how to properly understand things that you already know. But it doesn’t teach you how to see things.

Well, I don’t know if I’m making a logical leap here. But I do draw boundaries. No matter how much of a brash loudmouth I have appeared to be on these pages, I don’t really blog about my personal life. And talking about bookish knowledge is something that really fits that. But as reality creeps in, I’m beginning to find myself distanced from the world of books that I used to inhabit.

And whereas I thought that I was being quite a “realist” because I read non-fiction and not fiction, I’m beginning to wonder if the difference is specious. I think I read pseudo non-fiction. Recall that non-fiction is a book which is supposedly based on fact, not an invented story. But if you were to read a lot of esoteric knowledge that’s not really related to your life, and if you’re only reading it for general knowledge, or maybe one day you can learn some lessons from it, it’s not really non-fiction, is it? It’s more like historical fiction.

Anyway, I’ve been blogging since 2003. I’ve kept a journal for an even longer time, maybe since 1999. I just feel like I got to engage with the real world a little more. And since I’m not really going to blog about the “real world” here, there’re going to be fewer updates.

It’s been great having you guys around. Or maybe a few of you are no longer around. I’m not going to disguise the fact that I blog mainly for myself, but it’s been great having readers around for so long. I never expect them to stay forever. It’s too easy to get tired of a blog but it’s great to have you guys around.



Blogger Shingo T said...

My Maths professor told me that it helps to develop logical thinking, when I asked him the same question - what's the point of studying all these abstract stuffs.

I came out of his office unconvinced, only to finally understand what he said after I started work.

12:46 PM

Blogger 7-8 said...

First I made a mistake - that prof was not mentioned in "A Beautiful Mind" but in "Chaos". I have made that correction.

For me it was the opposite direction. I started off Mathematics fully intending it to develop my logical thinking.

Halfway through uni, I realised that it was not enough, that I also had to develop logical thinking in other fields of knowledge.

After leaving uni, I realised that logical thinking itself was not enough, and that I had to develop practical thinking - something I missed out on when I left the College of Engineering for the College of Arts and Sciences.

1:35 PM


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