There are three reasons that I chose the title and topic of this post.
- Today is the 94th day of M.M.X.I.V. As I mentioned in a post a long time ago, the number 94 corresponds to the numerical value of the Hebrew word צד (side).
- I like the eponymous Kansas song…
- In some sense, this may be a warmup for M.A.P.L.E. this year. More to come about that later!
So, the words in the Kansas song seem to be pointing at something religious, with lines like “everyone needs something to believe in,” “if I seem inconclusive, it’s just all so elusive,” and “it will fill you with emotion if you let it be your guide.”
In some sense, the words of this song really speak to me in my research difficulties. The first lines, “The words don’t come easy, but I’m trying” relate to the difficulty in finding out how to proceed on my research, especially when I get stuck and don’t always know what the proper questions to ask are! Although research questions should never be solely taken on faith, sometimes I believe that a researcher’s instinct can give very insightful results.
The lines that REALLY explain why I picked this song for today’s post are in the last stanza:
Desperation shows its ugly face in many ways
No one can escape the times we live in
The answers are so simple and we all know where to look
But it’s easier to just avoid the question
And if I seem too inconclusive
It’s just because it’s so elusive
Even if this is some sort of religious or deep philosophical reference, I will apply it to my research (I guess I can do that if I am vying for a Doctor of Philosophy, even in applied math :)). Sometimes, I think that the answers to all research questions are “readily” available. However, the search can definitely prove elusive, as it may require very creative combinations of previously-known knowledge.
The “other side” mentioned in the song is something that I interpret as something that can be reached by asking the difficult question, or perhaps answering it. The frustration of being “so close” is what I have struggled with for a while. It’s finding that one question or answer in order to turn the corner!
Have I mentioned before how I love applying my favorite songs to my life?
Today is the ninety-fourth day of M.M.X.I.V. That makes thirteen weeks and three days.