HOME PAGE History of mathematics' didactic What is the mental representation? Matematical mental representation Recording interview: René Thom, Dominique, Rosine... Write to me Author
 Projection Another loosely grouped set of statements included

 Q16:- In mathematics there is no place for personality; all that you do has been done before, everything has been seen already.  Q18:- Mathematics sometimes risks bringing destruction, you only have to think of the atomic bomb.  Q23:- When one is deep in maths work, it's difficult to get out of it, that's why it doesn't do to get involved with it.  Q24:- Doing maths oversimplifies everything, it takes the poetry out of things.  Q25:- Those who do too much mathematics some times risk not having your feet on the ground. QUESTIONNAIRE

 The negative characteristics attributed here to mathematics present it as something dangerous where there is "no place for personality". This feeling of danger can only come from a projection of the self onto mathernatics which in itself is neither dangerous nor reassuring.   The danger is inside the individual. To protect yourself you project the danger outward onto an object, in this case mathematics.   The statements include suggestions of danger for the individual arising when personal expression is not a possibility. There is also the danger of losing your own physical boundaries: notions like "being deep in" or "having difficult getting out of" express the risk of leaving your element, of losing one's way, of being on the verge of "destruction". The danger of no longer "havîng your feet on the ground" can lead as far as the idea of going mad. That mathematics provokes a state of madness is a theme often taken up by student

 FOR EXAMPLE A 17-year-old boy from the arts   stream helps us understand how far mathematics can take on this aspect: <>   Note during this passage how the student is gradually taken by his story. From the opening "I knew a shepherd" to the final "I don't know" he moves on to a more impersonal "we" when it comes to the subject of madness. This fear of madness, or more plainly this "risk of no longer having your feet on the ground" may surely be explained by the fact that for certain individuals, the need to invest energy in abstract representations, which have not yet been incorporated into their psychic reality and into their own mental mechanisms, seems to constitute a traumatic experience. It breaks relationship with reality, and cuts off a channel of instinctive discharge - that of the flow of sadism sublimated into an activity of mental control of the outside world. The ego finds itself somewhat disconnected, in danger of a loss of meaningfulness and of depersonalisation

 HOME PAGE History of mathematics' didactic What is the mental representation? Matematical mental representation Recording interview: René Thom, Dominique, Rosine... Write to me Author