Of late, I have watched few movies in which someone questions his/her faith, mostly in religion, prompting me to wonder if a complete surrender to an idea, a group, a religion or a person is at all possible. The single-mindedness towards significant achievements is cushioned by family and religion; the single-mindedness towards welfare of family is broken now and then by care for a career but a single-mindedness towards religion may or may not be broken. It is however tough to imagine even the most unflappable of minds not veering from this domineering faith in something, unless his faith in one is his faith in all.
I have no clue why it was so, but the first thoughts I got after watching Ingmar Bergman’s Winter Light and Luis Bunuel’s Nazarin (apart from of course the aspect of faith in god), was about mathematics (arithmetic, specifically), students of which devote themselves to the field. Maths for some is a far more compelling field than anything art can conjure. It might be true of exact sciences as well, but I can’t guess.
The thing about maths is, there is a definite answer for almost anything, the destination is not going to be new, but the path taken can be. It affords space for creativity, but doesn’t allow you to supercede it. If mathematics has an ego it will always be bigger than a mathematician’s.
With this as the basis, where someone is so devoted to his subject and whose future is dependent on the faith he has in its absolute nature, what happens if he suddenly finds one day that there was nothing absolute about his subject, and it was only his faith that had blinded him till then. On one hand it should shake him and his entire foundation up, after all, he spent a life on something that was fundamentally flawed. But on the other, would he even consider that it was he himself who superceded his faith?