Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

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Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:48 pm UTC

My username is to say the least of the extent my obsession. I'd rather not delve into exactly how obsessed I am with the subject, but everyone else thinks I need to be in the looney bin for being as obsessed and dedicated to math as I am. I disagree. I don't think it's possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy. It makes me extremely dedicated to the subject, and perhaps, one day, I'll solve one of the Millenium Prize Problems or some of the other great conjectures and problems because of this dedication. I don't see how it could ever be unhealthy.

What do you think? Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy?
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Jul 25, 2014 1:35 pm UTC

Sorry, is your question 'is it possible for an obsession to be unhealthy'?

The answer is yes. Math or sex or drugs or coffee or woodworking or your kids or your relationship or your pets or taking naps; there's a reason it's called 'obsession' and not 'something you enjoy doing'.

Which isn't to say that 'people who don't understand your hobbies giving you shit for them' is an indicator of an actual obsession. Which ALSO isn't to say 'your friends calling you out for not having reasonable balance with your hobby' is an indicator that they don't understand you.
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Cleverbeans » Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:53 pm UTC

It's very common to see a math obsession as the result of either delusional disorder or schizophrenia so yes it can be unhealthy. That being said there is nothing wrong with being passionate about math and dedicating yourself to the subject assuming it doesn't have a significant negative impact on other areas of your life. Say for example someone begins to neglect their children while chasing a proof, or spends rent money on textbooks instead of meeting their financial obligations. Math is really a wonderful subject and those who see it's beauty do tend to get excited about it and spend a lot of time studying it because it's very enjoyable to do so and that's just fine.
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish » Fri Jul 25, 2014 6:29 pm UTC

Cleverbeans wrote:It's very common to see a math obsession as the result of either delusional disorder or schizophrenia so yes it can be unhealthy. That being said there is nothing wrong with being passionate about math and dedicating yourself to the subject assuming it doesn't have a significant negative impact on other areas of your life. Say for example someone begins to neglect their children while chasing a proof, or spends rent money on textbooks instead of meeting their financial obligations. Math is really a wonderful subject and those who see it's beauty do tend to get excited about it and spend a lot of time studying it because it's very enjoyable to do so and that's just fine.


I... don't know. I don't think I can conclusively say if it's unhealthy for me yet, as I'm only 17, and my only "real" responsibility is school--where this math obsession helps me a lot. I'm so obsessed with the subject. I'm more or less in love with my calculator, plan to legally change my name to the Riemann Integration formula + Fractal + Nspire-CX (because I plan to marry said calculator), plan to almost completely cover myself in mathematical tattoos... just... *sigh*
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Cleverbeans » Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:00 pm UTC

Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:I... don't know. I don't think I can conclusively say if it's unhealthy for me yet, as I'm only 17, and my only "real" responsibility is school--where this math obsession helps me a lot. I'm so obsessed with the subject. I'm more or less in love with my calculator, plan to legally change my name to the Riemann Integration formula + Fractal + Nspire-CX (because I plan to marry said calculator), plan to almost completely cover myself in mathematical tattoos... just... *sigh*

Sounds slightly eccentric but pretty harmless to me. In my experience people will often think you're crazy for liking math but that's just the way the world is. It's totally ok to be an oddball. :D
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:36 pm UTC

Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:
Cleverbeans wrote:It's very common to see a math obsession as the result of either delusional disorder or schizophrenia so yes it can be unhealthy. That being said there is nothing wrong with being passionate about math and dedicating yourself to the subject assuming it doesn't have a significant negative impact on other areas of your life. Say for example someone begins to neglect their children while chasing a proof, or spends rent money on textbooks instead of meeting their financial obligations. Math is really a wonderful subject and those who see it's beauty do tend to get excited about it and spend a lot of time studying it because it's very enjoyable to do so and that's just fine.


I... don't know. I don't think I can conclusively say if it's unhealthy for me yet, as I'm only 17, and my only "real" responsibility is school--where this math obsession helps me a lot. I'm so obsessed with the subject. I'm more or less in love with my calculator, plan to legally change my name to the Riemann Integration formula + Fractal + Nspire-CX (because I plan to marry said calculator), plan to almost completely cover myself in mathematical tattoos... just... *sigh*
Shrug, I think you sound borderline unreasonably obsessive, and given that you've given us no other information about your personal life and/or ability to balance it, I think it's hard to tell you whether or not the behavior you've listed is unhealthy.

I'd say whether or not it's unhealthy has way less to do with how much you like the subject, and way more to do with how capable you are of balancing that with other interests/life.
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby notzeb » Sat Jul 26, 2014 2:51 am UTC

If you were truly obsessed with mathematics, you wouldn't be posting on this forum. You would be hanging out in the mathematical library of your local university until closing time, finding a place to work out your ideas for solving whichever problems interested you, or discussing ideas with friends who have similar interests.

I find that as long as you remember to eat at least once every two days there is no real danger to your health.

(Given your particular infatuation, I'd recommend the book "Fractals, Chaos, and Power Laws" - I really liked it when I was in middle school. edit 3: also check out stuff like this (it took me a while to track down the right link))
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Jul 26, 2014 3:09 am UTC

notzeb wrote: find that as long as you remember to eat at least once every two days there is no real danger to your health.
Sigh... Thinking that being able to at least solely care for yourself is a sufficient bar for being 'healthy' is pretty narcissistic, and a pretty low bar.
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby notzeb » Sat Jul 26, 2014 3:50 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
notzeb wrote: find that as long as you remember to eat at least once every two days there is no real danger to your health.
Sigh... Thinking that being able to at least solely care for yourself is a sufficient bar for being 'healthy' is pretty narcissistic, and a pretty low bar.
Sorry, I meant "as long as you remember to destroy an evil crime syndicate once every few days there is no real danger to your health".
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish » Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:39 am UTC

Cleverbeans wrote:Sounds slightly eccentric but pretty harmless to me. In my experience people will often think you're crazy for liking math but that's just the way the world is. It's totally ok to be an oddball. :D


\o3o/
Because IDGAF what anyone else thinks about me anyways. xD
One day, I'm going to solve a Millenium Prize Problem.
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish » Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:40 am UTC

notzeb wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:
notzeb wrote: find that as long as you remember to eat at least once every two days there is no real danger to your health.
Sigh... Thinking that being able to at least solely care for yourself is a sufficient bar for being 'healthy' is pretty narcissistic, and a pretty low bar.
Sorry, I meant "as long as you remember to destroy an evil crime syndicate once every few days there is no real danger to your health".


*hides Aperture Science employee badge*
Suuuure :P
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Jul 26, 2014 1:20 pm UTC

Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:Because IDGAF what anyone else thinks about me anyways. xD
Then why did you ask whether your obsession could be unhealthy?
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish » Sat Jul 26, 2014 8:18 pm UTC

notzeb wrote:If you were truly obsessed with mathematics, you wouldn't be posting on this forum. You would be hanging out in the mathematical library of your local university until closing time, finding a place to work out your ideas for solving whichever problems interested you, or discussing ideas with friends who have similar interests.

I find that as long as you remember to eat at least once every two days there is no real danger to your health.

(Given your particular infatuation, I'd recommend the book "Fractals, Chaos, and Power Laws" - I really liked it when I was in middle school. edit 3: also check out stuff like this (it took me a while to track down the right link))


Well, I would, if there was such a place where I live. If you know any place in or near Orlando, Florida that has such a place, please let me know. The university is a really crappy one, and is 45 minutes away. I also can't drive, nor are my parents ready to pay for insurance or let me drive. My mom doesn't understand intellectuality. I have no friends IRL that are obsessed with math.

And hmm... I'll add that to the list of books to read. I already have two more fractal books I have (two are at an advanced high school level, and the other--a Falconer book--is at an advanced undergrad level o_o) that I need to read xD

Thanks for the link. I uh... hope it has English things, too, because I got a C in French 3 (I hated my teacher lol).
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish » Sat Jul 26, 2014 8:20 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:Because IDGAF what anyone else thinks about me anyways. xD
Then why did you ask whether your obsession could be unhealthy?


Because regardless of what anyone else thinks, things can be unhealthy. Few people care if other people are smokers. But that doesn't make smoking healthy. Regardless of whether someone thinks this is unhealthy, if this could potentially be a detriment, it should be cut back on. I don't know how of if I even could, but it's still good to know.
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Jul 26, 2014 8:25 pm UTC

So... I think you just answered your own question...
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby notzeb » Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:37 pm UTC

Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:Orlando, Florida
There's your problem right there. Nothing good can come of living in Florida. Have you considered running away from home and moving to a state that doesn't suck? (Full disclosure: I used to live in Miami)

If you are curious about what the rest of math looks like and unwilling to run away from home, I can recommend some textbooks which are available online for free. Hatcher's Algebraic Topology is pretty great, and Herrmann's Nonstandard Analysis is rather amusing. The book Algebraic Combinatorics on Words is basically about fractal words, and is closely related to my current signature. If you want to try something harder there are Ravi's notes on Algebraic Geometry (I have actually seen high school students reading this before) and Milne's notes. There are probably a ton of other good ones, but these are all that are coming to mind at the moment...

Oh yeah: if you are still in high school, you don't necessarily need to run away from home. You could just apply to a math camp (such as Mathcamp or PROMYS) and escape Florida for a month or so during the summer.
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby z4lis » Sat Jul 26, 2014 10:37 pm UTC

plan to legally change my name to the Riemann Integration formula + Fractal + Nspire-CX (because I plan to marry said calculator)
I suggest you wait a few years and get some more experience with math and life before going through with that. You might reconsider. Also, mathematicians don't really use calculators.
What they (mathematicians) define as interesting depends on their particular field of study; mathematical anaylsts find pain and extreme confusion interesting, whereas geometers are interested in beauty.

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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Lopsidation » Sun Jul 27, 2014 2:22 pm UTC

I think it's important to find people who share and understand your obsession.

Try out some math competitions. If you're in high school, take the AMC 10 or AMC 12, and/or join an ARML team. If you're in college, try the Putnam. If you're in middle school, do MathCounts. Warning: the problems may be (a lot) more difficult than you're used to!

Check out the artofproblemsolving.com forum for people who are only slightly less obsessed than you. They make up and solve math problems for fun there!

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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby doogly » Mon Jul 28, 2014 12:24 am UTC

If you take amphetamines in order to do more math it is unhealthy, and if the math you wind up doing is as good as Erdos's we'll forgive you anyway. Short of that you're probably fine.
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish » Mon Jul 28, 2014 8:59 am UTC

notzeb wrote:
Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:Orlando, Florida
There's your problem right there. Nothing good can come of living in Florida. Have you considered running away from home and moving to a state that doesn't suck? (Full disclosure: I used to live in Miami)

If you are curious about what the rest of math looks like and unwilling to run away from home, I can recommend some textbooks which are available online for free. Hatcher's Algebraic Topology is pretty great, and Herrmann's Nonstandard Analysis is rather amusing. The book Algebraic Combinatorics on Words is basically about fractal words, and is closely related to my current signature. If you want to try something harder there are Ravi's notes on Algebraic Geometry (I have actually seen high school students reading this before) and Milne's notes. There are probably a ton of other good ones, but these are all that are coming to mind at the moment...

Oh yeah: if you are still in high school, you don't necessarily need to run away from home. You could just apply to a math camp (such as Mathcamp or PROMYS) and escape Florida for a month or so during the summer.


Math camps? o.o
Ahahah I wish I knew about this sooner!
Summer vacation ends in a few weeks Dx
But hey, on the plus side, I'm going into 12th grade :P
Means in about a year, I'm off to college xD

Thanks for all the links :P I'll look into all of em :3
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish » Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:00 am UTC

doogly wrote:If you take amphetamines in order to do more math it is unhealthy, and if the math you wind up doing is as good as Erdos's we'll forgive you anyway. Short of that you're probably fine.


Perhaps one day :P
You can't expect Erdos quality work from a 17 year old xD
I DO have a theory though, but it requires I have my computer so I can code something.
It's about a fractal visualization of the Lucas Sequences on the Euclidean Plane :P
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish » Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:02 am UTC

Lopsidation wrote:I think it's important to find people who share and understand your obsession.

Try out some math competitions. If you're in high school, take the AMC 10 or AMC 12, and/or join an ARML team. If you're in college, try the Putnam. If you're in middle school, do MathCounts. Warning: the problems may be (a lot) more difficult than you're used to!

Check out the artofproblemsolving.com forum for people who are only slightly less obsessed than you. They make up and solve math problems for fun there!


I did MathCounts in middle school x3 I still have all three years of the T-Shirts. Though my eighth grade one "Southwest Mathlete" makes no sense if you didn't know my school's name was "Southwest" x'D Unfortunately, I'm not sure my high school has a math-club (save for Mu Alpha Theta) xD
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish » Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:03 am UTC

z4lis wrote:
plan to legally change my name to the Riemann Integration formula + Fractal + Nspire-CX (because I plan to marry said calculator)
I suggest you wait a few years and get some more experience with math and life before going through with that. You might reconsider. Also, mathematicians don't really use calculators.



I hardly use mine save for doing arithmetic that I'm too lazy to do. I just love mine (really long story that could leave you thinking bad of me) :P
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby PsiSquared » Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:32 am UTC

Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:My username is to say the least of the extent my obsession. I'd rather not delve into exactly how obsessed I am with the subject, but everyone else thinks I need to be in the looney bin for being as obsessed and dedicated to math as I am. I disagree. I don't think it's possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy. It makes me extremely dedicated to the subject, and perhaps, one day, I'll solve one of the Millenium Prize Problems or some of the other great conjectures and problems because of this dedication. I don't see how it could ever be unhealthy.

What do you think? Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy?


Possible, yes. But extremely unlikely.

Since you like math, let us look at your question from the perspective of probability theory:

There are many many people, who will think any person with an interest in a "nerdy" subject as "crazy". On the other hand, out of all the math geeks out there, there is only a tiny percentage who have an "unhealthy obsession" about mathematics.

So given the data you've provided us, I'll say that the conditional probability that your interest in math is "unhealthy" is very very low. I think you should be proud of yourself, that as a 17 year-old, you are interested in things which is more profound than the latest pop groups or football scores (talk about obsessions...).

Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:I did MathCounts in middle school x3 I still have all three years of the T-Shirts.


Ah, MathCounts... That sure brings up memories. I represented my school something like 20 years ago. That was one unforgettable experience.
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby PsiSquared » Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:42 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
notzeb wrote: find that as long as you remember to eat at least once every two days there is no real danger to your health.
Sigh... Thinking that being able to at least solely care for yourself is a sufficient bar for being 'healthy' is pretty narcissistic, and a pretty low bar.


I'm curious... What else do you expect a person to do, in order for you to consider him (or her) healthy? Go to social gatherings? Hang out with friends and talk about stupid stuff that doesn't matter? Answer with care. Remember that this is XKCD ;-)

The way I see it, the only thing a person needs besides physical sustenance to be healthy, is a purpose in life. And it's pretty clear that the OP has that in spades.

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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Jul 29, 2014 12:04 pm UTC

PsiSquared wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:
notzeb wrote: find that as long as you remember to eat at least once every two days there is no real danger to your health.
Sigh... Thinking that being able to at least solely care for yourself is a sufficient bar for being 'healthy' is pretty narcissistic, and a pretty low bar.


I'm curious... What else do you expect a person to do, in order for you to consider him (or her) healthy? Go to social gatherings? Hang out with friends and talk about stupid stuff that doesn't matter? Answer with care. Remember that this is XKCD ;-)

The way I see it, the only thing a person needs besides physical sustenance to be healthy, is a purpose in life. And it's pretty clear that the OP has that in spades.
I think you'd find that the majority of XKCDians have a pretty balanced social life, at least, a social life they are interested in engaging in. The vast majority of us are not solitary, basement apartment dwelling recluses pursuing some esoteric passion. I... don't actually know of any XKCDians like that. But hey, you could talk about stuff that does matter!

But no, a 'balanced social life' isn't the only thing nor even the most important. I'd say having even an iota of roundedness to yourself is key. Remind me again what XKCD is a comic about? IIRC, it's not a comic about one thing?

So, yeah; if all you want to do is keep yourself alive, I'd say that's a pretty narcissistic low bar to set.
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Cleverbeans » Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:16 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:So, yeah; if all you want to do is keep yourself alive, I'd say that's a pretty narcissistic low bar to set.

For many people it's a perfectly reasonable bar to set. It's not narcissistic if you don't want to leach off of others and sustain yourself. I know many people who would love to take care of themselves without help.
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:20 pm UTC

That's rather not what I was referring to, nor is that really apropos of what we're talking about.
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish » Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:23 am UTC

PsiSquared wrote:So given the data you've provided us, I'll say that the conditional probability that your interest in math is "unhealthy" is very very low.


Yet someone has to be that statistic for that cohort of 17 year old girls.
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby cphite » Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:45 pm UTC

Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:My username is to say the least of the extent my obsession. I'd rather not delve into exactly how obsessed I am with the subject, but everyone else thinks I need to be in the looney bin for being as obsessed and dedicated to math as I am. I disagree. I don't think it's possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy. It makes me extremely dedicated to the subject, and perhaps, one day, I'll solve one of the Millenium Prize Problems or some of the other great conjectures and problems because of this dedication. I don't see how it could ever be unhealthy.

What do you think? Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy?


It's possible for an obsession with anything to be unhealthy. The question you have to ask yourself is, does the time and energy you spend on math have a negative impact on your life? Is it preventing you from taking care of yourself, or from doing other things that you need or would like to do, or from having relationships, etc.

In other words, as long as your obsession isn't interfering with the rest of who you are, you're probably fine. Do math, solve something big that changes the world, and be happy.

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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish » Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:09 am UTC

cphite wrote:
Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:My username is to say the least of the extent my obsession. I'd rather not delve into exactly how obsessed I am with the subject, but everyone else thinks I need to be in the looney bin for being as obsessed and dedicated to math as I am. I disagree. I don't think it's possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy. It makes me extremely dedicated to the subject, and perhaps, one day, I'll solve one of the Millenium Prize Problems or some of the other great conjectures and problems because of this dedication. I don't see how it could ever be unhealthy.

What do you think? Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy?


It's possible for an obsession with anything to be unhealthy. The question you have to ask yourself is, does the time and energy you spend on math have a negative impact on your life? Is it preventing you from taking care of yourself, or from doing other things that you need or would like to do, or from having relationships, etc.

In other words, as long as your obsession isn't interfering with the rest of who you are, you're probably fine. Do math, solve something big that changes the world, and be happy.


Well technically I'm not focusing on things that I need to be doing, but that's not caused by my math obsession. That's just me being lazy. xD I don't want a relationship, because who needs that when I've got the beauty of math to capture my heart? xD My obsession sort of defines who I am... plus a furry component. xD
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Forest Goose » Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:34 am UTC

Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:Well technically I'm not focusing on things that I need to be doing, but that's not caused by my math obsession. That's just me being lazy. xD I don't want a relationship, because who needs that when I've got the beauty of math to capture my heart? xD My obsession sort of defines who I am... plus a furry component. xD


I said, and thought, a lot of similar things when I was your age (almost 30 now), but my interest was less in fractals (though we went through a spell) and more in topology and foundational areas. At any rate, I, personally, found that a lot of hyperfixation of mathematics was more "avoiding doing other good things because I was doing something seemingly productive that I was good at, so it was simple" than it was "I have a healthy deep passion". Then, later, I realized that wasn't so good, started doing other things too, got a lot happier, and started working on the things I loved purely for their own sake - which was fantastic since it also made me about ten times better at doing it; life was less stressful, things had a definite context, and I "depsychologized" the matter.

Now, I'm not saying you are doing anything similar, I don't know you, and even if I did, it would be hard to know for sure - only you can really know. However, from the way you talk and how you present yourself, the similarities seem hard to dismiss. If I were you, I'd suggest keeping the deep love of mathematics (it is so beautiful and rewarding), but also examining yourself and seeing if you don't have any additional motivations* - and if you do, resolving them.

*Beyond what was mentioned, I had others: I grew up in a fairly poor area with a rather bad education system, being good at relentlessly pursuing something esoterically academic let me feel smug in what I perceived to be a crummy area - and I had a rather chaotic life, so it was something dependably structured that didn't rely on others. Of course, as mentioned, I realized that this wasn't so great, that being smug sucks, and that my area was full of lots of awesome people, and, as such, abandoned all of that. And, again, not saying you're doing the same, but it's good to consider/be aware of. --Sorry for making this over-personal, I have a knack for that:-)
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby doogly » Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:36 am UTC

Forest Goose wrote:[ "avoiding doing other good things because I was doing something seemingly productive that I was good at, so it was simple"

This is the how the dishes get done.
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Forest Goose » Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:18 am UTC

doogly wrote:
Forest Goose wrote:[ "avoiding doing other good things because I was doing something seemingly productive that I was good at, so it was simple"

This is the how the dishes get done.


Looking back, I was an absolute insufferable jerk prior to turning 20 - which is when I realized just that very thing. I was quite lazy about housework as a teen - I was talking to my mom a few months ago when this came up, she said it used to drive her nuts since I didn't really care if I was grounded since I liked studying and that she didn't feel right about taking math books and notebooks away from me as a punishment.

But, going on the topic of the thread, it definitely wasn't the math obsession that did the harm; it was the "being a jackass" that was the problem:p
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish » Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:49 am UTC

Forest Goose wrote:
Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:Well technically I'm not focusing on things that I need to be doing, but that's not caused by my math obsession. That's just me being lazy. xD I don't want a relationship, because who needs that when I've got the beauty of math to capture my heart? xD My obsession sort of defines who I am... plus a furry component. xD


I said, and thought, a lot of similar things when I was your age (almost 30 now), but my interest was less in fractals (though we went through a spell) and more in topology and foundational areas. At any rate, I, personally, found that a lot of hyperfixation of mathematics was more "avoiding doing other good things because I was doing something seemingly productive that I was good at, so it was simple" than it was "I have a healthy deep passion". Then, later, I realized that wasn't so good, started doing other things too, got a lot happier, and started working on the things I loved purely for their own sake - which was fantastic since it also made me about ten times better at doing it; life was less stressful, things had a definite context, and I "depsychologized" the matter.

Now, I'm not saying you are doing anything similar, I don't know you, and even if I did, it would be hard to know for sure - only you can really know. However, from the way you talk and how you present yourself, the similarities seem hard to dismiss. If I were you, I'd suggest keeping the deep love of mathematics (it is so beautiful and rewarding), but also examining yourself and seeing if you don't have any additional motivations* - and if you do, resolving them.

*Beyond what was mentioned, I had others: I grew up in a fairly poor area with a rather bad education system, being good at relentlessly pursuing something esoterically academic let me feel smug in what I perceived to be a crummy area - and I had a rather chaotic life, so it was something dependably structured that didn't rely on others. Of course, as mentioned, I realized that this wasn't so great, that being smug sucks, and that my area was full of lots of awesome people, and, as such, abandoned all of that. And, again, not saying you're doing the same, but it's good to consider/be aware of. --Sorry for making this over-personal, I have a knack for that:-)



Haha I love topology too :P
I used to have an unhealthy obsession with Portal. I recognized it as such. That's why I was quick to jump to math.
Oh I still love Portal. Just that... it was truly unhealthy.

Orlando is very boring intellectually, unfortunately :x
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Forest Goose » Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:11 am UTC

Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:Orlando is very boring intellectually, unfortunately :x


Sometimes you just have to look hard. I live in a run down neighborhood - my next door neighbor is a drug dealer, actually - that has almost as many bars as people, yet I have a personal library of over 6,000 books (...okay, less library, and a room full of books) over half of which are mathematics/physics texts; this isn't counting my electronic collection. However, if you walked by my house, you'd most likely encounter me smoking on my dirty porch and be none the wiser that I have any such interests.

More generally, though, if we aren't forced to talk about mathematics, specifically, there are plenty of intelligent people in the world, educated on a wide variety of subjects. And, if we aren't forced to confine ourselves to academic intelligence and "have a college degree", then you'll find almost everyone has something they are brilliant about, usually a couple things, and that, if you pay attention, are more than capable of teaching all sorts of novel things - it's wonderfully surprising how smart most people are, especially if you make yourself interested.
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish » Thu Jul 31, 2014 3:17 pm UTC

Forest Goose wrote:you'll find almost everyone has something they are brilliant about, usually a couple things, and that, if you pay attention, are more than capable of teaching all sorts of novel things - it's wonderfully surprising how smart most people are, especially if you make yourself interested.


No one my age, at least.
And my parents don't let me hang out with boys for stupid reasons, and for poor reasons, won't let me hang out with people that are past high school or undergrad. :S
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby skeptical scientist » Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:49 am UTC

Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:What do you think? Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy?

No.
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish » Sat Aug 02, 2014 2:37 am UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:
Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:What do you think? Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy?

No.


So blunt x'D
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Re: Is it possible for a math obsession to be unhealthy

Postby PM 2Ring » Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:02 pm UTC

Do you really love mathematics?
Spoiler:
Or do you just say that to get it into bed?

:)


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