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Gauss - Solved by a flash of illumination



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

An Essay on the Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field – Jacques Hadamard

Gauss, referring to an arithmetical theorem which he had unsuccessfully tried to prove for years, writes:

Finally, two days ago, I succeeded, not on account of my painful efforts, but by the grace of God.  Like a sudden flash of lightning, the riddle happened to be solved.  I myself cannot say what was the conducting thread which connected what I previously knew with what made success possible.”

It is unnecessary to observe that what happened to me on my awakening is perfectly similar and typical, as the solution which appeared to me

  1.  Was without any relation to my attempts of former days, so that it could not have been elaborated by my previous conscious work
  2. Appeared without any time for thought, however brief

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps