Annoyance at bad writers

When I look at a mathematics paper, often I am annoyed at how badly is written. Once I decode the underlying idea being so poorly expressed, often I am annoyed at its shallowness. How can this person be so dim?

There’s an obvious paradox here. My success as a mathematics professor results precisely from my thinking more deeply and writing more clearly than most of the competition. If they were all like me, I would be just average. So why am I annoyed by the very thing that has made me successful?

I tried to figure out a resolution of this paradox and eventually realized that not every paradox has a resolution. My love of strong ideas clearly expressed is genuine. So is my love of personal success. Sometimes, one’s loves may point in contrary directions.

[8 January 2023]

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