I was looking through my journal yesterday and found this phrase: “the tyranny of the quantifiable.”
In Men Explain Things to Me, Rebeccas Solnit refers to this phrase that was coined by her friend Chip Ward. She also writes, “Ultimately the destruction of the earth is due in part, perhaps in large part, to a failure of the imagination or to its eclipse by systems of accounting that can’t count what matters.”
You can’t count what matters.
There is a rising need to measure things and to have the hard data to support choices that we make. Numbers and statistics are poured over and used as justification. Studies, analytic tools, and and standardized tests all have their place. But when bottom lines and bank accounts overshadow the unquantifiable like love and reverence for life, a disconnect can occur on every level – personally, community-wide, and globally.
And what about the unnameable? I can’t measure the quantity if I can’t even name it. But does that mean it doesn’t count? I can’t name the feeling I have when the miraculous happens – a sunrise, a deep connection with another family, finding myself alone by a lake at the brink of dawn listening to birdsong, feeling comfortable among like-minded people, a sibling showing a kind gesture to another sibling and just watching children explore the world with curiosity and wonder. There is no name for this feeling or a specific recipe to create it. But it exists.
These small instances, the almost imperceptible moments, rock my world and the only word to describe it all is LOVE.
It is all-encompassing, indescribable, unquantifiable, and its power is definitely underrated.
At the end of my days, I hope that my life won’t be measured in numbers – the money made or the years that have gone by. I hope it will be measured in only one aggregate – a life’s collection of these unnameable moments listening to the “messengers from the mystery.”
(Photo above from postcard package, Love…postcard, and all other supplies used are from Paper Plus Cloth.)
100 scribbles…hurriedly writing the here and now.