Minsky: “If you’ve done something, you should be ashamed of it instead of proud it.”

Minsky interview at MIT150 Infinite History
Marvin Minsky: “Why bother?”

First, Marvin Minsky on mathematics and being slow:

MINSKY: I think when I was a child I didn’t have the feeling that I could solve problems that other people could solve. On the contrary, I found things were quite difficult. And when I tried to read mathematics it would take an hour a page and I’d get some of the ideas but not others. And usually it would be six months later that suddenly it would click. And so I think I thought of myself as sort of slow. On the other hand, I thought of everyone else as incredibly slow. But I didn’t think of myself as particularly creative.

And then the shame and never growing up:

MINSKY: And it’s just–but I never grew up in some sense. And as far as I can tell, I’ve been getting better at things slowly and steadily. It was only when I was older that I noticed that most people work on something, they do something wonderful, and then they get stuck. And I started to make theories of why do people get stuck and how to avoid it. And the best thing is if you’ve done something, you should be ashamed of it instead of proud of it. And I notice a lot of people keep saying, well I thought of that a long time ago and that sort of thing and they keep trying to get recognition and why bother?


From an interview in MIT’s Infinite History series.

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