Numbers

We live in the world where everything is measured by numbers. Intangibles have to be transformed into tangibles that can be represented by certain numbers.

In society today, if we do not measure, we do not comprehend. Those that cannot be translated into something measurable seem to loose their place in society, not because of their insignificance, but because of our lack of understanding on how and where to place them.

Universities measure the quality of their students by numbers that result from various test, believed to signify students academic capabilities. People’s stability are measured by numbers in their bank statement. Our health is measured by digits stated in our medical lab report. The food that savors our life, which involves the complicated concept of taste starting from delicacies touching our taste buds and ending in chemicals released by our brain, is measured in calories. A painting is measured by numbers in a price tag. Earthquake is measured in richter.

Representing everything with numbers is an act of human to simplify matters so that comprehension can be equal. However, problems arise when this way of communication is considered to represent the whole meaning. We sometimes forget that numbers are representation of something being measured, but not the essence of that being measured.

Integrity, personality, and attitude come next after GPA or other numbers representing academic achievement.

Happiness becomes a mere vague desire as compared to digits in bank statement or value of assets

Balance of body, mind and soul is less flashy than cholesterol indicator.

The sensation of taste is nulled and replaced by the so-called health pills that supply the needs for calories.

Vulgarity wins over complex beauty.

Appreciation of a painting comes from interpretation of numbers instead of from what is whispered behind each stroke. 

The words of a shaky mother earth are lost in messy graphs, and all numbers associated with the event (numbers of casualties, financial destruction, etc).

These obsessive behavior to measure have caused reductions of meaning and hide connections between all things. We crave for meaning and understanding of life, but no clue on where to search them and how to find them, because all we see are numbers. These numbers should have been enough, that’s what we have been told and believed, but apparently they are not. No matter how much we can brag about our accomplishment in terms of number, like the huge amount of our assets, the low cholesterol level that signifies our health, the number of high-rated paintings that are lining on walls in our house, there is a huge spot in our life that is still missing. In fact, the spot is getting wider and wider until it stains the sense of accomplishing all those numbers, and in the end we realize we have nothing but numbers, literally.

Afterwards, there comes the task of unveiling each layer of those numbers, until we see the connection between what we are looking for, which is what we think we lack of, and what has always been there, in ourselves and in all things.

After that, numbers do not seem to matter although they still exist. And there is only peace and a simple thanks to what lies beneath.

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