Lost Horizons

There is no Shangri-La, except in Fiction

But in life, there is hope,

until there doesn’t appear to be.

What do Ludwig Boltzmann, Alan Turing, Yutaka Taniyama, and David Foster Wallace have in common?  All were successful from a outside point of view.  Each were very smart, and many would say they were geniuses.  But, they all committed suicide.

I would posit, in the end of their lives, they had lost view of their horizons.  Lost Horizons.  Horizons of the mind.

A gypsy of a strange and distant time
Travelling in panic all direction blind
Aching for the warmth of a burning sun
Freezing in the emptiness of where he’d come from

Is that all there is?

Weltschmerz

Infinite Jest

olivier-hamlet

“Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!”

Ludwig Boltzmann:  Statistical Mechanics
Alan Turing: Entscheidungsproblem (decision problem)
Yutaka TaniyamaTaniyama–Shimura–Weil conjecture
David Foster Wallace: Infinite Jest

Successful people who commit suicide are a mystery why in they don’t see life is worth living.

Ludwig Eduard Boltzmann, Architect Rational, (February 20, 1844 – September 5, 1906) was an Austrian physicist and philosopher whose greatest achievement was in the development of statistical mechanics, which explains and predicts how the properties of atoms (such as mass, charge, and structure) determine the physical properties of matter(such as viscosity, thermal conductivity, and diffusion).

Alan Mathison Turing, Architect Rational, OBE FRS (June 23, 1912 – June 7, 1954) was an English computer scientist, mathematician,  logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher  and theoretical biologist. He was highly influential in the development of theoretical computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general purpose computer. Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence.

Yutaka Taniyama, Architect Rational, (Japanese: 谷山 豊 Taniyama Yutaka; 12 November 1927, Kisai near Tokyo – 17 November 1958, Tokyo) was a Japanese mathematician known for the Taniyama–Shimura conjecture.

David Foster Wallace, Architect Rational, (February 21, 1962 – September 12, 2008) was an American writer and university instructor of English and creative writing. His novel Infinite Jest (1996) was listed by Time magazine as one of the hundred best English-language novels published between 1923 and 2005. His last novel, The Pale King (2011), was a final selection for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2012.

“Until yesterday I had no definite intention of killing myself. But more than a few must have noticed that lately I have been tired both physically and mentally. As to the cause of my suicide, I don’t quite understand it myself, but it is not the result of a particular incident, nor of a specific matter. Merely may I say, I am in the frame of mind that I lost confidence in my future. There may be someone to whom my suicide will be troubling or a blow to a certain degree. I sincerely hope that this incident will cast no dark shadow over the future of that person. At any rate, I cannot deny that this is a kind of betrayal, but please excuse it as my last act in my own way, as I have been doing my own way all my life.”  — Yutaka Taniyama

To attain insight, to see what no others see, to be on top of that mountain:

We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.  — Alan Turing

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