Et cette série m’ennuie; il me semble que je l’ai déjà écrit, dans ce même codex. My intellectual formation, comment elle s’est donnée, on le sait. And: did one need my life to become me? My friend Nicky has a formation very like mine but did not come to it by the same paths at all. What is the question to which this series responds? Is it one I have not yet answered? Je me le demande.
Nonetheless we will persist a bit, having already covered the first perceptions, about language and the research orientation. Now we have foreignness, most specifically shifting cultural and cognitive systems: my favorite book has always been Eva Meets Noriko-San. In the first grade we studied SNCC and the incipient war in Viet Nam, and I was interested in contemporary history; I spent the third grade on study abroad in Madrid and liked the large city, the high, dry air, the museums, the streets. In the sixth grade we studied Latin America; I learned to do research and started writing my famous papers.
In third grade I had also started studying mathematics. Nobody I knew understood it but me, and I soon learned how to go to office hours for consultation on difficult problems. I became good at math; it is also because of math that I became an independent learner, since nobody understood it at home. I am still one of the few people in humanities I know who appreciates engineering and likes mathematics; this difference may be fundamental.