A damaging remark is not erased by 10 witty ones

  I have a strange tendency to stay in an environment with no desire of escape. Such is the case after classes these days, when I would loaf around in the department for some time before heading home due to extreme hunger. While I stay there, I tend not to settle down with reading or mathematication, but rather engage in conversation with other intellectuals, in search for interesting mathematics, and perhaps more importantly, social support. The targets are usually the most nerdy ones, and the ones who seem most idle and receptive to irrelevant ideas. In the course of long discussions, often spanning several mathematical fields, one inevitably feels the loss of opportunity to do more productive things and a sense of whimsical anger accumulates. Thursday this volcano of unsolicited anger erupted in the face of a chat buddy, in a form that seems rather naive and lackadaisical (which is a strange adjective itself). Simon asked me when I came out of the elevator:" so, are you coming to the colloquium"? Of course I know the subject is not my cup of tea, plus I won’t get much out of it. So first thing I thought of is, why the hell would I want to go? Next comes the ingenius idea of expressing the hellish feeling in a quirky, cryptic way back to the speaker himself. "So where room is it in?". "It’s right there". "Oh, I am not going."
  The order of question and response really matter. If a research question has been posed by someone before it got answered by another, possibly the same person, the effect is dramatically different from if the answer is given spontaneously to a premeditated question. The latter feels like a ponzi scheme in research. Same with ordinary speech, except in the opposite order. If I had refused to go to the colloquium first, and then out of curiosity inquire its whereabout, the story will flow much more nonviolently. Given the clever choice of order I chose, there is no positive interpretation of my intention with the exchange, except to express a sense of sneer and to capitalize on entrapping others with my tongue.
  I totally regret that. What I need to do in the future is never to manipulate ordinary conversation much as I do with an equation in math, and keep a conscious mind when spontaneity is required. Otherwise I should just go home and get energized first.

About aquazorcarson

math PhD at Stanford, studying probability
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