Life is one big numbers game — whether or not we're partial to mathematics. Unfortunately. More than a few aspects of our lives revolve around them. And though we try to focus on the quality of our lives, these quantities tend to intervene and make various elements of life more tangible.
The most common one, I would presume, is money. Whether or not this is the most important, you decide. However, money faces a lot of mixed reviews in the world. Some don't think anything of it, some long for it, some make it their priority… and some even worship it. We devote almost half our lives (maybe even more) trying to earn money and making those figures in our bank accounts fatter and fatter. In exchange for what? Material objects that are yet again measurable by quantity — more cars in the garage, higher carats of diamonds, a big house with more rooms than the old one, more pairs of shoes even? Relatedly, everything around us seems to be labeled with a price tag — rent, phone bills, damages on the credit card after a shopping spree, insurance fees, and the list goes on. More numbers that plague us.
We work to be able to get our numbers up, just to fulfill the requirements of these other numbers.
Is it me, or does that not make any sense when it's put that way?
Another big hoo-ha… age! We like convincing ourselves that age is just a number. However, in reality, it grates us all inside knowing that the number that indicates our years of existence is piling up everyday. If only there was a way to stop it… and yet be able to keep the wisdom and knowledge that we've swept up along the way.
Even growing up, during our school days, our lives revolved around numbers. We worked hard to attain high grades, to get as many credits for college, to get the topmost rankings in our class — essentially to be numero uno. And you'd think that the number fever stops the moment you write off that last calculus exam. It's only bound to get worse.
We, as people, get characterized as numbers as well. Regardless of the fact that we all have names, we are still numbers in many places. We are in possession of various numbers that identify us such as our social security numbers, drivers license numbers, identification card numbers, passport numbers, name it! Surely, we have at least half a million of numbers tied to our names. And these lurking chatter about getting microchips inside us with unique barcodes on them? I won't be surprised if governments spring that on us one of these days. Ethical or not, that's saved for another day.
Economic indicators have also become a strong foothold in our lives. We even use it as excuses or motivation sometimes. “Times are tough and a little bit tight because the economy's down.” Or perhaps “Oil prices are skyrocketing, it's time to save up.” Economists — a special type of mathematicians, safe to say — swim in a sea of numbers everyday. And through these numbers, lifestyles and living standards are dictated. Everything is measured from poverty to per capita income to gross domestic products to inflation to trade. It's all these numbers that we bank on everyday… and it's through these numbers that we fashion our lives on.
Furthermore, evolution and technology have made it possible that we can be profiled by using pure numbers — our age, how much we make, how many kids we have, what grade point average we achieved, how many of this and that we own, and so on. Why? Why is everything quantified? Sure, to make assessments clearer and quicker. But tell me — how accurate is it? Numbers may say a lot about us, but it definitely does not tell the whole story.
One set of numbers that we are definitely conscious of is time. We are conscious of it, yet we don't necessarily appreciate it. The numbers on our clocks, our watches, the corners of our computers, those on the towers of municipal halls — they all indicate time. We find ourselves constantly asking what time it is because usually, each hour of the day is connected to a particular activity such as eating a meal, working, sleeping or resting. However, we don't realize that time actually runs out. Unlike most of the other numbers involved in our lives, this one doesn't pile up. Quite the opposite, it dissipates.
Maybe there is a reason why God has created people who are good in math… and people who are not. It's bad enough that our lives are composed of so many numbers. There has got to be some people who look at quality, too. If everything in life can be specified and quantified, then risks, mistakes and trials are all thrown out the window. What else is there to live for? Numbers allow us to concretize certain concepts… but words, allow us to live them.
After all, if not for the letters in the alphabet, what else will algebra use?
I will not deny, however, that mathematics and life have something in common: that both start off simply… only to end in an utterly complicated mess!