Some realize the Self within them through the practice of meditation, some by the path of wisdom, and others by selfless service. Others may not know these paths; but hearing and following the instructions of an illumined teacher, they too go beyond death.
I wanted certainty in the kind of way in which people want religious faith. I thought that certainty is more likely to be found in mathematics than elsewhere. But I discovered that many mathematical demonstrations, which my teachers expected me to accept, were full of fallacies, and that, if certainty were indeed discoverable in mathematics, it would be in a new field of mathematics, with more solid foundations than those that had hitherto been thought secure. But as the work proceeded, I was continually reminded of the fable about the elephant and the tortoise. having constructed an elephant upon which the mathematical world could rest, I found the elephant tottering, and proceeded to construct a tortoise to keep the elephant from falling. But the tortoise was no more secure than the elephant, and after some twenty years of very arduous toil, I came to the conclusion that there was nothing more that I could do in the way of making mathematical knowledge indubitable.
There are two kinds of teachers of the Morality of Death: the mystics of spirit and the mystics of muscle . . . those who believe in consciousness without existence and those who believe in existence without consciousness. . . . No matter how loudly they posture in the roles of irreconcilable antagonists, their moral codes are alike, and so are their aims: in matter - the enslavement of man's body, in spirit - the destruction of his mind . . . make no mistake about the character of the mystics. To undercut your consciousness has always been their only purpose throughout the ages - and power, the power to rule you by force, has always been their only lust. . . . But it cannot be done to you without your consent. If you permit it to be done, you deserve it.
Each generation has its few great mathematicians, and mathematics would not even notice the absence of the others. They are useful as teachers, and their research harms no one, but it is of no importance at all. A mathematician is great or he is nothing.
Alfred Adler (1870 - 1937)
Source: "Mathematics and Creativity." The New Yorker Magazine, February 19, 1972.