Mind Blowing. Such a colorful word that aptly describes what happens during the times when we are utterly swept away by the magnitude of what we just learned / realized. Of course, there are no dynamites involved, but there might as well be because until the dust settles, we are left agitated, unable to contain the revelation within ourselves, and often look for outlets, aka annoyed friends, to share some of the impact with.
I, of course, used to bombard whoever happened to be within my reach with random facts that I’d read about the other day. And it certainly didn’t help that my mind kept being blown away by things ranging from astronomy, relativity, sociology, psychology, time-travel, quantum mechanics, algorithms and so on… and oh so on. Lest this turns into a self-boast, I was just someone who was very easy to impress while growing up. But it was disheartening to find that people weren’t always up for a high-pitched lecture on how space-time is a *single* entity (don’t you see, they are the same!) or how Quantum Immortality means that you never die at all (You are always alive where you are alive!) Eventually, though, I outgrew the compulsive urge to explain whatever had shaken me to the core the day before. This was partly due to the fact that I realized nobody really likes a know-it-all nerd who can’t contain his enthusiasm, but also because my mind eventually stopped being blown every second of the day.
But I still do go through such revelations from time to time, and to be honest, it does bother me a bit that there aren’t many with whom I can share these tidbits with a resonating enthusiasm. (My wife tries to be a good listener, but it’s no fun when you know that she’d much rather start a new episode of Seinfeld). So it is this feeling of loneliness that has somehow trained me to dampen my emotions and silently ponder upon by myself, the occasional flashes of insights my mind comes across. But honestly, I do wonder how it’d feel to have friends who’d actually understand and react to me saying that it’s such a miracle that mathematics works so well in capturing and predicting the real world with “Right!!? How did that even happen!!” (instead of being confused about what the big deal about it is.) Or exclaim “Yeah! That’s so crazy!” when I say that Neural Networks shouldn’t really be able to learn anything because the loss landscape should have been impossible to navigate efficiently (instead of saying “backpropagation, duh”), or even argue vehemently on whether life is as certain a process as two Hydrogen atoms coming together to make Helium? (Instead of treating it as this mysterious and divine phenomenon.) It is quite difficult to talk about all this without coming off as snobbish, but I guess what we all can universally agree upon indeed is that being different is being lonely. Perhaps I should start following MLB.