The Fragility of Mathematics




As with any simple concept, it requires many words. 


Fragility is the condition of what breaks easily, of what is delicate, of what manifests vulnerability as a state of being. Fragility is the desire to be there, the intention to be there, despite the risks and despite the effort. It is the willingness to pay the price of existence with the awareness of possible pain. Fragility is the acceptance of imperfection as a desire for perfecting. 


When it comes to numbers, technological futures or digital universes, imagination leaves no room for inaccuracies, delays or hesitations. Everything is secure, everything is safe, everything is tremendously, dangerously fast. Humanity almost seems to lose itself in the euphoria of acceleration, as if time were passing away, as if lingering were no longer useful, as if doubt were no longer a necessary luxury. Fragility is not conceived in contemporary mythologies. Fragility is not accepted. It is a variable to be ignored, a voice to be sacrificed - among many others - for the benefit of efficiency, always and at any cost. It is negligible because it is irrelevant, without a useful value, in the logic of things. That's what they say. Or so at least, too often, what we choose to believe. 

The Manifesto of Experiential Rationality was conceived as a provocation, as an invitation to reflection, as a moment of evocation of the profound beauty of doubt. Launched by Energy Way on 13 September 2019, it was created to promote the value of human imperfection, the vulnerability of thought and the volatility of science. It was written to introduce unusual, apparently dissonant words into the language of those who use numbers as an instrument of knowledge and as a work tool. Beauty, harmony, weakness, responsibility, sensitivity. We do not seek to break the necessary processes of mathematical thinking, but we believe in the value of mathematics as a creative dimension and as a sensitive experience. Sensible rationality is our language, our poetics, our key to understanding the world. Talking about Artificial Intelligence, for us, only means talking about a new tool - one among many - created by Human Intelligence. Numbers are words, they are colors, they are notes to be recombined in poems, in mosaics, in harmonies. Mathematics is imperfect, it is sensitive, it is instinctive. 


The fragility of mathematics is the story of each number that takes shape in a child's fantasy, in the craftsman's calculation and in the artist's imagination. It is the story of each number calculated by the entrepreneur, who discovers the pleasure of the challenge and who translates a dream into action. It is the story of every inch added with the pencil on the door jamb, as we grow and discover that growing is also a matter of numbers. It is the story of every vote collected in school and every number in the sports rankings. It is the story of counting the days left until holidays or the years that are added to anniversaries. The fragility of mathematics is the history of imperfect humanity, and of every attempt to perfect it with research, with study, with the discovery of new interpretations and new themes to explore. The fragility of mathematics is the voice of the desire to continue growing, in a balance, beautiful and precarious, between senses and reason. 


As with any complex concept, a few words suffice.


Sensitivity thinks. Fragility counts. 


"The fragility of mathematics" is our communication campaign for the dissemination of a culture of fragility as a value. Starting from the concepts expressed in the Manifesto of Experiential Rationality, launched on 13 September 2019, wey set out to promote a conception of mathematics and Artificial Intelligence based on the centrality of human sensitivity.