Dostoyevsky's underground man claims that pain is more valuable than mathematics. Without a painful education (an education that is inevitable although sometimes it comes too suddenly, too late, or too violently) an individual is oblivious to communication -- how things feel. Suffering sharpens consciousness, makes us sensitive to tragedy and loss. It brings us closer to our existence. Mathematics, in contrast, blunts dramatic being, sedates us. Since pain occurs at the limits of calculation, where calculation fails, it teaches the limits of reason; it introduces the unreasonable, uncertain, unstable, and incomprehensible. Since it is pain, it does so in the most intimate manner. We find ourselves becoming unreasonable, uncertain, unstable, incomprehensible. This anxious instability is our freedom. Who has not been stung by his or her wildness? Frightened by what he or she is?
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Bataille's Wound
Michael Greene