Numbers and Questions

Why?

Why do kids always ask

why?

Why do parents always say

‘because’?

Why don’t parents say

‘I don’t know’?

Why do the kids grow up like that?

Why can’t they admit

their ignorance?

Are they only proud or is it

taught?

How do you stop one of these

vicious cycles?

And how do you finally get

an answer?

Why

in algebra

don’t you solve for variables in polynomials?

Why do you

evaluate

but don’t search for a simplified

identity?

What is a real

number?

What is

the only real number?

Why is

 the only real number

one?

Why am I asking and answering

these questions?

Why am I so serious

about them?

Why am I still unanswered?

Why do I still not know

the answers to the unanswered?

Why can no question be answered

without another being asked?

Why can curiosity never be

satisfied?

Why must we

leave a question alone?

Why is there

never one completing answer that

argues and satisfies the question

and all its curiosity?

Why is

‘that’s the way it is’

not a satisfactory answer?

Because that’s

the way it is, because

we cannot always understand it.

A question unanswered is like a

variable without an identity.

Painful,

but you can’t

solve it.

This interesting poem came from one prompt: “Question marks catch the reader’s attention more than exclamation marks. If you use a question, your statement becomes a question and the reader tries to answer that question before they move on. Write a poem using as many questions as possible…”

When I was solving polynomials and doing other such silly things that had to do with moving stupid variables around, I hated it. A variable stands for a number, but the number is unknown. In an equation, you solve for the variable and find its true identity. You can think of it as sort of a number in disguise and you have to hire a P.I. (you) to find out who/what/which it is.

Then let’s look at polynomials and linear equations. Okay, give me a break. We’re unable to actually simplify the variable because we don’t know what it is. You learn to toss them around and rearrange them backwards and forwards (multiply, then factor). But what’s the point? How do you use these in real life?

And what about linear equations. Those, too, make me irritated. The variable in a linear equation stands for any number that fits onto the equation’s graph. Confused? I know I am. Let’s take a trip back to middle school…

Each linear equation has a graph with little dots drawn on it. This line, like the graph of an inequality, shows all the solutions to the equation. Well, not all on one sheet of graph paper, but the line would if you had an infinitely sized piece of paper…which nobody does. The equation is a rule that tells the solutions. The dots stand for two numbers, like so: (x, y) The x-axis goes horizontal, the y-axis goes vertical. They’re coordinates, like latitude and longitude, only a little less confusing for people to understand.

Now, the variables in a linear equation are not meant to be answered. They are placeholders for any number on the equation’s graph.  Get ready for the most confusing part for my brain: there’s no one identity for the variable.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH–

Hang.

On.

One.

Second.

No, that’s wrong.

There is one identity for each variable.

Recall my post Infinite Identity: A Theory of Numbers. Go back and read the post if you can’t; the theory is too complicated to say in here. I’ll wait.

You back? Good.

Do you know what I’m going to say? You do? I’m going to say it anyway, just in case.

Since each number has an infinite amount of identities, each variable has that at more. In a polynomial, a variable could be any number. Thus it has an infinite number of identities, but each number that it can be also has an infinite number of identities! So, a polynomial or any equation containing unsolved variables has a variable with an infinitely infinite identity!

For this reason numbers are often weird.

And for this reason I don’t really like algebra anymore.

–Aidyl

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