How Mathematics Changed Me

Alec Wilkinson at The New Yorker:

I did not expect that studying a childhood discipline would lead me to wonder about divine matters, but the possibility of a divine entity is threaded throughout mathematics, which, in its essence, so far as I can tell, is a mystical pursuit, an attempt to claim territory and define objects seen only in the minds of people doing mathematics. Why do I care about abstract possibilities and especially about God, when I have no idea what such a thing might be? A concept? An actual entity? Something hidden but accessible, or forever out of reach? Something once present and now gone? Something that ancient people appear to have experienced at close hand?

I seem temperamentally drawn to the idea of a divinity. As a child, I sometimes had the feeling of an accompanying presence, usually when I was by myself in the woods, a feeling of something infinite behind everything.

more here.