Not sure if this is appropriate to Math Overflow, but I think there's some way to make this precise, even if I'm not sure how to do it myself.
Say I have a nasty ODE, nonlinear, maybe extremely singular. It showed up naturally mathematically (I'm actually thinking of Painleve VI, which comes from isomonodromy representations) but I've got a bit of a physicist inside me, so here's the question. Can I construct, in every case, a physical system modeled by this equation? Maybe even just some weird system of coupled harmonic oscillators, something. There are a few physical systems whose models are well understood, and I'm basically asking if there's a construction that takes an ODE and constructs some combination of these systems that it controls the dynamics of.
Any input would be helpful, even if it's just "No." though in that case, a reason would be nice.