A life measured in numbers | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 08, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 08, 2020

life as it is

A life measured in numbers

If something is not countable, it simply takes a back seat today; the honour of the front seat is reserved for things to which numerical values can be attached. In modern times, we want to be able to measure everything that goes on in life!

We count everything — from the size of the paycheque deposited to our bank accounts to the number of 'likes' on our last Facebook posts. We count likes, follows, and views on our social media accounts. The more likes, comments, follows, and views our posts get, the more acceptable and popular we become to the world, or that is what the countable world would have us believe.

Our friends have become numbers. We count our friends — 500, 800, or more. The more friends and followers we have online, the greater the likelihood of pocketing more of those intangible 'heart' and 'thumbs up' ideograms. It's all about the number, you see.

We count seconds, minutes, hours, days, and months. "I had to wait 30 minutes get a call back from you." Or "Get that project done in no more than three weeks."

We measure our weight and count how many kilograms we have gained or lost. If I had gained two kilograms in the last two weeks, it means that I have to consume less calories the next two weeks to go back to my old body weight.

In the modern world, we count the calories in the food we eat, and the calories we need to burn on the next gym visit. We install mobile applications and wear technology devices to track our steps, heart rate and sleep quality. We must be able to count everything!

We use credit cards and we take out loans from financial institutions. We calculate monthly instalments and interest rates. The bigger loan we can take out from the bank, the better and nicer our home is going to be. In the countable world, one's value is determined by what one owns — the number of cars, homes, and vacations one take.

In the countable world, we count game scores, credit scores, and rewards points. We redeem our rewards points to pay our outstanding credit card bill!

We calculate our test grades and GPA, for we believe that they will one day determine where we will go in life. We check our phone's battery health and count its charging cycle. We are possessed by numbers!

But can everything really be counted? Can we count emotions? Can we count moments? Can we count the joy one gets from looking out over the ocean, or getting drenched in the monsoon rain, or playing with their children, or eating a meal cooked by their mother?

The countable world has consumed us to the extent that we have forgotten about the happiness the uncountable world has to offer.

For a change, look at the things to which you cannot attach a number to. Go on a vacation to relish the unique sights and sounds of a new place. For a change, shake off the obsession with taking countless pictures and posting them online to collect 100 'likes.' You do not know if life will give you another chance to watch a sunset from Mount Lycabettus. So, if you are standing on it, let this moment soak in.

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