Mathematics was born and nurtured in a cultural environment. Without the perspective which the cultural background affords, a proper appreciation of the content and state of present-day mathematics is hardly possible.
There is nothing mysterious, as some have tried to maintain, about the applicability of mathematics. What we get by abstraction from something can be returned.
Probably no branch of mathematics has experienced a more surprising growth than has... topology... Considered as a most specialized and abstract subject in the early 1920's, it is today  an indispensable equipment for the investigation of modern mathematical theories.
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