Creativity and “The man who knew infinity.”

Where does your creativity come from and similar questions?

Thoughts about creative authority mingled in my mind this week along with seeing the film about an Indian mathematician: The man who knew infinity.

Pre first World War, a young Indian man, Srinivasa Ramanujan, from low caste (no food, no home) and naturally without an education was able to write down, or rather intuit unfathomable maths. Eventually he was called to Cambridge university and was finally awarded a fellowship. That’s  after being abused for most of his time here for being variously: Indian, too clever, shirking the war. He died so young from the way he was treated  Even his mother made things worse back home by not sending his wife’s letters nor giving his wife the letters he sent from England.

At Cambridge university, even the professor who championed him, pushed and prodded him to explain — give proof as to how he came up with all his knowledge.

Finally, he answered:

He believed… that his Goddess (whom he prayed to) left the equations on his tongue in the night. He woke up to them in the morning.

He was finally awarded a fellowship at Cambridge, but died at about 31 because he had been starving in England (war time with no vegetables and he was a vegetarian) bullied, and had pined away believing that he’d lost his wife as she didn’t write to him.

Great film; tough life.

Guard your creativity well.


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