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Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty – a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show. The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as in poetry. What is best in mathematics deserves not merely to be learnt as a task, but to be assimilated as a part of daily thought, and brought again and again before the mind with ever-renewed encouragement.
With even a superficial knowledge of mathematics, it is easy to recognize certain characteristic features: its abstractions, its precision, its logical rigor, the indisputable character of its conclusions, and finally, the exceptionally broad range for its applications.
Theoretically, I grant you, there is no possibility of error in necessary reasoning. But to speak thus "theoretically," is to uselanguage in a Pickwickian sense. In practice, and in fact, mathematics is not exempt from that liability to error that affects everything that man does.