1.23.2012

Music is Math



As a language and literature nerd I have never fancied myself as one with a knack for numbers. In school growing up, I was always in advanced English, History, Science and Psychology classes while lagging one full year behind in Math. I was the student perpetually asking, "But why?! When am I ever going to use this?" lacking any foresight for practical application of the daunting equation. This is one part laziness (my part) but also I believe one part error of the school system. Math is never (or wasn't in my school district) taught conceptually. Conceptual, slippery language is what gets my brain riled up. Critical, theoretical analysis is what I latch onto and dissect slowly and meticulously, while taking joy in the puzzle's solution--solving the equation. You see? It's all Mathematics.

So maybe I'll make the excuse that Math wasn't presented on my terms and I therefore slumped my way though the courses in order to pass. BUT if my ignorant brain would have opened wider, if the Math metaphor could have been pressed a little harder, if I had looked beyond to see it's not about a particular formula, I would have had so much insight, so much sooner. Looking back on my years past, I think my one regret is the passivity which which I lived my life until I was 20 years old. I could have really had a head start if I had applied myself  (ugh, cliche!). But I was smart, and I was on or above grade-level, and I was doing the work, and was always told that what I had done was good. I wasn't nagged at to try harder (with the exception of dance) and I didn't, I was comfortable. I wasn't really pushing myself, for myself, until halfway through college when I realized I wanted to be better, to be more, badly. I started to give a damn. I blame no one, I'm just saying I wish I had done it differently. I find solace in reading that Melville once wrote that he had not begun to live until he was twenty-five; that when Whitman was twenty-nine years old he had not yet written a single text that we now remember. But what if, what if, what if...

Life is Math. Problems without solutions perpetuate problems. You have a problem, you find your solutions (sometimes x=0 and x=1), you fix it. Done.  In the most basic application to my daily life: it's walking my dog. My dog has social behavioral issues. Fears of strangers and children, especially on-leash. This can make going on a walk (not to the off-leash dog park) stressful for both him and myself. But these fears perpetuate themselves when we do not consistently practice walking in the busy city streets we live on. Submission/apathy/how does this apply to ME mentally is a severe regression in this case. Or dance class. The longer I stay out of class the more daunting and physically harder attending class becomes. Problems without solutions perpetuate problems. This concept is tendriling out into my thoughts, wrapping itself around the posts and climbing (beautiful, leafy vines) the lattice of my cortex. We can get-off making ourselves feel good in January by talking about the changes and resolutions we really intend to keep this time, but I'm interested in figuring out the practical application of solutions in my life. It's going to take some time, a lot of it. I know this. But I'm interested in my solution, even if/when I'm averaging 60 hours/week at work, even if time and money need strategizing to make it happen, even if, even if, even if...


(x + 1)^2 = 2x^2 + x + 1\,

What insight has the new year brought you?


2 comments:

Karalee Kuchar said...

I've been asking myself these questions all day. (all year?) How fitting. I'm going to think about this some more and come back to it. Maybe it will help me find some much needed solutions!
Love your writing, Love you.
-k

Ryan & Amanda said...

This is seriously something I think about often-did I really apply myself? Or did I settle for the "easy" option when possible. I feel like I could have done more (not exactly sure what more I wanted to do yet) if I had pushed myself and believed in myself more.