Saturday, February 26, 2011


One of the strongest pieces of evidence for the continual mechinization of our society is the ubiquity of obsession with numbers. They’re everywhere, these finite and quantifiable descriptors and limiters. Everything from the speed limits on our highways to exam scores to salaries to our weights when we step on the scale… every qualitative analysis seems to be based on numbers.

You might argue that human relationships avoid, or at least strive to avoid, such an overnumeration—but many of us still rate the physical features of potential mates on a scale of 1 to 10 or count the number of times you call each other or some other arbitrary feature of a relationship that could be counted. Numbers yield the processes of cold, calculating logic: of machines, of computers, and of detached, impersonal evaluations. Any implementation of a number-based system immediately diminishes (if not destroying) all humanity in an evaluation or in a behavior.

It might not be so bad if we didn’t become so obsessed with these numbers’ functions. We constantly suffer the thought that everything in our lives would be better if we could just achieve better numbers… if we could be 10 pounds lighter… if we could make $1000 a year more… if we could get 2 more points on the ACT…

Granted, the quality of our lives is often dictated by the status of these evaluative numbers, so attempting to improve them is only natural. But do these numbers really have to exist? Does everything have to be so objective, so qualitative, so unemotional and dismissive of undefinable characteristics?

I just wish I could overcome the haunting nature of these numbers. Not think about my weight, or the money I make, or even my goddamn high score in Super Mario. But at the moment it seems inescapable.


  1. It's just the way our society has developed. People can't live without them, however hard they may try.

  2. Think about the concept of duality, it's probably the most basic concept; black & white, yes & no, 0 & 1, existence & non-existence. That's pretty mind blowing... Glad I'm following!

  3. just finished school my life is all about numbers right now....=[

  4. I think numbers are key to how we live and govern the rules of physics and the to me they seem vital.

  5. didnt really think of it that way :|