An open letter to the mathematical community

Daniel J. Woodhouse in McSweeney’s:

Dear colleagues,

There is no escaping the widespread dissatisfaction within modern academia. With neoliberal upper management, bloated administration, recklessly expanded undergraduate programs, and shrinking departmental budgets, there isn’t much to be optimistic about. Those joining the ranks can look forward to bleak job prospects, excessive teaching loads, and writing stupefying grant proposals. All disciplines will have to adjust to the changing landscape. Within the sphere of pure mathematics — the oldest and most successful of humanity’s intellectual endeavors — I believe our best chance at preserving the integrity and dignity of our tradition is to return to our Pythagorean roots. We should become a cult.

Let us do away with the job market and and reference letters. Let us stop pretending we understand each other’s respective sub-fields. Let us abandon those fuck-ugly Brutalist travesties we call our department buildings and leave them to those shills in applied math. Let us seclude ourselves in mountain caves and daub mysterious equations in blood across rock-faces to ward off outsiders. Let us embrace our most impenetrable mathematical texts as sacred and requiring divinely distributed revelation.

More here.