I once watched a show on a young girl named January who was a schizophrenic. Childhood schizophrenia is not a common mental disorder, but what fascinated me in this particular case was the fascination January had with numbers. In fact, she even “felt” numbers and had a certain emotional relationship to them. What immediately struck me was the insight in the midst of this dark situation that January gave: what if, aside from her real mental problems, January was actually on to something—something that her parents and counselors had never considered. What if January was right, and that numbers do have a “feel”?
I once interviewed a recognized mathematical genius who explained that when he was younger, math was difficult because he was more interested in the look of the numbers (as symbolic representations), than in the actual conceptual manipulations of the integers…
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