Extremely beautiful minds is a phrase I use for good geniuses (there are evil geniuses). The burdens of extremely beautiful minds are many. They range from poor performances in some simple everyday tasks to the intellectual rigor necessitated by the arduous intellectual paths to their enriching discoveries. Yes. Great minds performing poorly in some simple tasks.
"How canst thou know what is doing in the heavens when thou seest not what is at thy feet"?
The above quote is credited to an old woman who lived in ancient Greece. She was an attendant of the great Thales of ancient Greece. The quote was her response to Thales when he fell into a ditch while deep in thought about the stars and cosmos during an evening walk. Thales was (for those who don't know who he was) one of the Seven Sages Of ancient Greece. He was a wealthy merchant from Miletus and lived from about 640 to 550 B.C. He traveled frequently to other countries of the ancient world, particularly to ancient Egypt where he had Egyptian elites as friends, especially Egyptian priests who were custodians of the practical knowledge of ancient Egypt. Thales eventually retired from commerce. Thereafter, he devoted his time to philosophy and mathematics. The world is a better place today because of this devotion. He was a great mathematician and astronomer. It was Thales who accurately predicted a solar eclipse in 585 B.C. It was Thales who brought the practical geometric knowledge of ancient Egypt to ancient Greece where it was subjected to the abstract reasoning pursued by ancient Greek mathematicians who became adept at deducing the general nature of figures. The general mathematical truths that a circle is bisected by any diameter; angles at the base of an isosceles triangle are equal; the angle in a semicircle is a right angle; proportionality of sides about equal angles in a similar triangle; are attributed to Thales. Thales is also credited with the discovery of the notion of the geometric locus of a point subjected to a specific law; the correct number of days in a year and the observational method of determining the distance of a ship at sea. The great mathematician, Pythagoras of Samos, who gave the world the Pythagoras Theorem, the Musical Alphabet and other mathematical treasures was his pupil. In fact, Thales in his old age advised Pythagoras to go to ancient Egypt to visit Egyptian priests in order to be exposed to the Egyptian knowledge in their custody.
What would the old wise woman whose quote was previously stated had told some of my favorite mathematicians if she had been there when simple logical reasoning eluded their extremely beautiful minds.
What would she had told the Great Archimedes who gave the world the Principle of Buoyancy and other mathematical treasures had she been there when Archimedes was slain by a soldier as he was deep in mathematical thought and oblivious to the imminent sack of Syracuse. Perhaps she would have said:
How knowest thou the ship's nature in water but seest not it when its nigh with roaring cannon sounds?
What would she had told the Great Rene Descartes who gave the world Analytic Geometry and other mathematical treasures had she been there when Descartes died as a result of the severe cold of Sweden, shortly after arriving at the court of Queen Christina Of Sweden. Perhaps she would have cried and said quietly in tears:
My dear Rene, how knowest thou Space but seest not the climate of Sweden. Knowest thou not that winter is very cold in Sweden?
What would she had told the Great Paul Erdos, the mathematician who loved numbers and believed that the meaning of life was to prove and conjecture. Erdos was perhaps the most prolific number theorist who ever lived. He gave the world mathematical treasures that have been central to the advancement of computer science. He had neither a permanent home nor job and poorly performed in simple household tasks. What would she had told Erdos had she been there when Erdos could not fry an egg? Perhaps she would have said:
How knowest thou the ins and outs of numbers and the meaning of life but knowest not how to fry an egg?
Extremely beautiful minds burdened by depth of thoughts in their travels in arduous intellectual paths to great discoveries. Paths that sometimes cross into the insanity zone or at minimum into some amount of absent-mindedness.