Method – Six Sentence Story

Brian tried method after method to prove the Collatz conjecture true, but every proof he came up with was flawed. He even studied defective proofs others came up with to see if there might be something he could salvage from them, but once he understood their methods he realized they weren’t much smarter than he was.

When someone suggested that he try proving that the conjecture could not be proven he felt defeated realizing he had no idea how to even begin proving something like that.

The problem with the conjecture was that it was so easy to state, and so obviously true, that the path leading to a solution seemed right around the corner, but no one could turn that corner. He imagined if he ever could then fame would compensate for his diminished sense of self-worth. The real problem, and Brian sort of knew this, was that even if he did prove the conjecture true, or prove it false, or prove it could not be proven either true or false, he would still need some other method, perhaps a transcendental argument or some other way to grasp that hand he wasn’t sure was even there reaching out to him, to overcome his ever present sense of existential futility.

Denise offers the prompt word “method” for this week’s Six Sentence Stories.

GirlieOnTheEdge Denise Farley's six-sentence-stories icon
GirlieOnTheEdge Denise Farley’s six-sentence-stories icon

Author: Frank Hubeny

I enjoy walking, poetry and short prose as well as taking pictures with my phone.

36 thoughts on “Method – Six Sentence Story”

  1. I’ve never been a math “person” Frank, so I looked up “Collatz conjecture”. Wow! That’s why I can’t wrap my head around math, lol. However, reading about the “conjecture”, then reading your story, allowed me to arrive at the summation (yes, bad pun intended 😆) this was a most excellent Six.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ha Ha. I had forgotten about that. I used to be good at math. I do not have a clue why I was. Between math problems like that and athletics, I learned you do not always win. But … you can enjoy playing the game. It is a challenge. What seems futile becomes fun. That is the freedom of Jesus.

    Blessings. That was a great story.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ha ha! I concur with all the comments concerning the impossibility of mathematics. Quoting one of my young characters: ‘I’m going to be a writer, what possible use could algebra be?’

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dude!*

    Totally cruel of you to write this!

    Two reasons: a) it re-confirms the mathematical insufficiencies that dwell in many of us and 2) you surely got any number of math nerds all excited by the sudden popularity of their websites as no small number of us Sixarians went out trying to figure out what heck the Collatz conjecture is.

    well done!



    *compliment on an engaging Six/metaphor

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This problem shows that all of us are mathematically insufficient. It is probably best not to know what the Collatz conjecture is lest one try to solve it. Thank you!


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