An Exploration of Sacred Parenting and Education

Why the smartest man in the world is so smart

In Uncategorized on February 24, 2012 at 2:08 pm

What would you do if you were offered $1 million dollars for the work you did? Or offered the Nobel Prize? The most irrational of us, I doubt, would even think of turning that down. Russian Mathematical genius Grigori Perelman did. He solved the a millennium problem; Poincare Conjecture which is said to have baffled the smartest minds for the past century. So concise the complex his solution it took the world’s leading Mathematicians several years to verify Perelman had definitely solved the problem in a paper published in 2002. He was awarded the Field Medal in 2006 (equivalent to the Nobel Prize for Mathematicians) given once every four years and turned it down along with the $1 million dollar prize money.

The link below is an explanation of the Maths problem . It is one of seven major mathematical puzzles for which the Clay Institute is offering $1 million each. I doubt all seven have been solved 😉

I admire him for his lack of interest in fame and fortune. He once said ” I don’t want to be on display like an animal in a zoo,” he added. “‘I’m not a hero of mathematics. I’m not even that successful, that is why I don’t want to have everybody looking at me.” Living jobless, with his mother in a small flat he refuses to answer the door to journalists or even those who have persuaded him to accept the prize. Neighbour Vera Petrovna said: ‘I was once in his flat and I was astounded. He only has a table, a stool and a bed with a dirty mattress which was left by previous owners – alcoholics who sold the flat to him.

There is however another reason which occured to me recently about what made him so smart for me. He once told a reporter ‘I have all I want’.He is said to live on bread, butter, cheese and milk. May be with a roof on his head and some privacy that’s all he needs in life. How many people are clear about what they need in life? I’m still finding and addressing mine. How many could look after an elderly mother? I still have my buttons pushed! How many are absolutely content with what they have? I still desire more. May be he see’s something in the ordinary and is content with it? I was reminded of this when I was reflecting on what makes my day so worth while in a world so unpredictable and unstable. For me, it turned out to be the small things that filled my heart with gratitude. Sitting in a cafe listening to jazz music with a late, buying the paper every morning from the same person, greeting my Arab friends who run a bakery every other day, seeing my son play or wanting to hold my hand and pull me to get up and take him out, seeing my daughter smile when I’m about to give her a lecture on behavior and making me laugh in return, seeing my wife walk, smile, getting annoyed at me …   It’s these small things I can’t find anywhere else on the planet and fill my heart with gratitude. It’s these small experiences, almost unnoticeable to another, that bring Life to a day for me. Somewhere in these brief moments lies eternity; how amazing it is to have a glimpse of it.

As I explore the art of soulful living, what makes the process particularly beautiful is cultivating the arts as a response to seeing the poetry of everyday life. One needn’t write poetry or paint to be a professional or to have it published. The soulful musing, is for me, like Perelman’s joy for solving a Maths problem, complete in itself.  “A soul-centered understanding of art sees the interpenetration of poetic image and ordinary life. Art shows us what is already there in the ordinary, but without art we live under the illusion that there is only time, and not eternity. As we practice our daily arts, if only in the composing of a heart-felt letter, we are unearthing the eternal from within ordinary time, engaging in the special qualities, themes, and circumstances of the soul. Soul thrives as we jot down a thought in our diary or note a dream, and give body to a slight influx of eternity. Our notebooks then truly become our own private gospels and sutras, our holy books, and our simple paintings truly serve as icons, every bit as significant in the work of our own soul as the wonderful icons of the Eastern churches are for their congregations.” Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul.


  1. Greetings,

    Thank you for this!

    This is a wonderful post, not only about the astounding Grigori Perelman, but also how you wove into the story the beauty of gratefulness.

    All good wishes,


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