There is a view that:
- If it can’t be measured it doesn’t exist
- Reality is a number
Some people (mostly rich) believe numbers tell you all you need to know.
Well, the buck stops here, with me!
I reject the tyranny of numbers. I reject their posture as the only truth and sole ownership of reality.
Numbers don’t count when you talk about the real things in life:
- Do you know how much I love you?
- How hungry are you?
- Are we happy enough?
Numbers are man-made symbols and thus controllable, changeable and malleable; they are powerful propaganda and eminently susceptible to corruption. Despite this, they are used to predict the future and define the past.
Numbers dominate our lives and rule what, when, where and how we live: the budget, the speed limit, age, school grades, wage levels, taxes, social benefits, account numbers, pin numbers, street numbers, profit and loss…
The problem is that numberspeople extend number logic to dealing with people, but people never add up.
They look elsewhere and jump on different horses that pass by; they get bored and seek variety. The main thing about people is that they are wired to take shortcuts. Even though most shortcuts end up in thorn patches and the way back seems different… so they take time (another domineering number) to get home.
But getting lost is an adventure with new experiences, trials and people – horizons are broadened; America could be discovered – ask Columbus!
Do everyday people really need to know how many miles it is to Pluto? Or how long it would take to get there?
Can we not survive on:
- very far (the number of miles to Pluto)
- quite a while (how long it will take to get there)
- more than I can imagine or more and more each day (that’s how much I love you)
Let us practice the avoidance of numbers:
- describe goals and ideals without recourse to numbers;
- use words that are meaningful and emotive, passionate and powerful
- break away from the sterility and bondage of exactness!
So try a little absence of exactitude, bask in a bit of vagueness.
We can dream, can’t we?
One thought on “The numbness of numbers”
Herehere! Advice I occasionally impart on private school parents – that ‘4’ on her report doesn’t tell you how hard she worked to get that, or the progress she’s made, the resilence and persistence she’s developed…