I’ve explained group theory to fifth graders. People who haven’t tried it don’t realise the difference between explaining something to a group of a group of 8th graders, a group of 5th graders, a group of 2nd graders, or a group of college freshmen.

How did I do it? I used salt and pepper shakers. I talked about horsies and doggies. It may sound funny, but it’s actually just effective. Today’s mathematicians think that if something isn’t unreadable, then it can’t be serious, worthwhile, or good. But obfuscation doesn’t make something more valuable; just the opposite.

My advice is to write the opposite way the Bourbaki group does. Never write

when

will do.

—rough paraphrase of Doug Hofstadter

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