The Soul of Research: A Repetitive Search

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Matthew 5:6, NIV)

I just came back from Everland, the largest amusement park in South Korea, yesterday night. Anybody who has ever visited Everland must know that the most stunning attraction people want to see (and ride) there is T Express, a giant rollercoaster with the steepest ride in the world and a top speed of 104 km per hour at 77 degree angle. While I was waiting in the queue, I marvelously wondered how awesome the human’s effort that was involved in its construction, such that amazing creation could be successfully made into reality. The construction should be “zero-error” to guarantee “zero-accident” for the sake of people’s safety. I imagined what would happen if there was only even the smallest error in the details of the construction… how many soul would directly go to heaven…

I came to a conclusion that it is surely possible for human-being (in a great teamwork) to build a “perfect” creation. The T Express is only one of so many examples of human’s mind-blowing masterpieces in this world. It was built by conforming the laws of Physics, such as law of gravitation and other Newton’s Laws. I would have no time to mention all the other incredible works or inventions of mankind throughout the history in many fields such as science, engineering, information technology, arts, etc. I believe that all the truths that have been found in all the disciplines of knowledge belong to God. All truth is God’s truth. They are truly tremendous that it is definitely impossible for one to grasp, understand, and comprehend them all. During our brief lifetime here on earth, we can only live and work for a very small section of these extremely wide, deep, and high knowledge (wisdom, insights, understandings, or any other terms you can mention). We are all born without exactly knowing where we are from, where we are going, and what we are to do. But… there is one thing we all can do… that is research.

By the term, we can easily define “research” by its acronym: “repetitive search”. I have personal opinion that no matter what is the job’s title, people need to do research as long as they live in order to survive. You don’t need the label of “researcher” in order to find truths in the field you are working (or studying) now, either scientific, social, artistic, of sports, or any other else. Everyone has been equipped with a potential to research. How do I know? Because everyone is born with brain in his/her head, isn’t it? So, do I agree that everyone is basically a researcher? Yes, indeed. What makes a difference is whether you are a passionate researcher or just a mediocre ones. I would say this: the main indicator that defines a great researcher is his/her great desire (determination) to find the truth (righteousness) which I would love to describe further as follows:

A repetitive search: keep searching, keep studying, keep reviewing.

Search and we will find. Ask and we will receive. Knock and the door will be opened. Searching, studying, and reviewing (examining) can’t be separated from each other. We know that searching, studying, and reviewing are so tiring works, yet that is the only way by which we can make progress. Why do we need researching although we know that there are unlimited things to research? We can’t just simply ignore our ignorance. Have you sensed the satisfaction of a man who found the answer for his most difficult life’s question? Did you know that the truth has a power to give people freedom? Did you know that people would willingly die for the ultimate truth they found?

I hope that you would agree about what we need in this life-long repetitive search:

Faith

Faith is indispensable in our pursuit of knowledge. In some difficult tasks we face, there are times when we can only believe without actually seeing what we are believing. Some people may argue that science often contradicts faith. However, instead I experienced that there are so many things that science can’t explain. No matter how hard we try to satisfy our minds with so many scientific arguments, we would end up reclining to our faith. God is the source of everything we need, we look for, and we desire. God is also the greatest mistery in this world. In research, people dedicate their lives to reveal what is hidden, unknown, or remains a mistery. That’s why I personally believe that the ultimate goal of human’s pursuit of knowledge, wisdom, and understandings is to understand God, the greatest of all in this universe. When we are full of faith, we will be faithful and able to passionately endure the long journey of our researching lives.

Honesty (Integrity)

We all have purpose in our researches which generally is to find the answer (or conclusion). In the journey (or process) of finding conclusions, we have to be honest to ourselves. Conclusions are made based on the data we have, which are obtained either from our own experiences (or experiments) or other people’s (whom we should give credits later). So, we can make conclusions after working with the data and we can’t do the reverse: making the data after first setting up the conclusions (merely to approve our hypothesis). If we created the conclusion first, then our data would be manipulative and thus not trustworthy. I agree that sometimes we can predict or estimate the results without having to do the experiments, but we should not make any final conclusion based on our predictions or forecasts. Say “good” if our experiences showed good and say “bad” if our experiences showed bad.

Humility

Often we make mistakes during the journey of our researches, studies, and reviews. Not all the things we think right is actually right and not all the things we think wrong is actually wrong. We need to humbly admit our failures and mistakes once we find the truths, although our convictions (maybe) have been established for many years as a solid foundation of our understandings. It is good to frequently ask and examine ourselves whether we are doing right and walking in the right track. We need to be fair and objective, don’t deny the truth, and don’t ever be ashamed to renounce our former “faith” if it is proven wrong. Sometimes the decision to follow the truth is not popular as many people might reject us because of our “conversion” (change in our beliefs). Don’t be afraid and keep moving forward! Truth is worth dying for. A great research demands a great humility.

Seoul, April, 26, 2015

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