when i was like 14 or 15 and first encountered the question of whether and how numbers exist i immediately considered mathematical realisms trivially false and was absolutely baffled when it turned out that most mathematicians were mathematical platonists
i still can't do it. i still cannot get my brain to think of numbers existing in a way where we didn't just make them up to serve a purpose, in the same way we did language. the mind boggles
nobody gives a shit about like, the twin prime conjecture or riemann-zeta because of their *practical* applications. it's because they're beautiful. the *aesthetic* value of being able to say that under these rules we made up, there will always be infinitely many examples of this category we made up vastly outweighs anything you could *do* with the results in terms of motivation for the extremely hard work on these problems.