THE ILLUSION CREATED BY IMMEASURABILITY

THE ILLUSION CREATED BY IMMEASURABILITY

Often when I drive behind a truck (with a notice: “No driving in the yellow lane”) driving in the middle of the road with an endless queue of cars behind it, I wonder by myself: How many more accidents are there because people get frustrated and impatient with a slow moving truck obstructing the road by not pulling off into the yellow lane, and then overtaking causing a head to head accident? Not pulling off into the yellow lane probably causes between fifty and a hundred more accidents I would guess, but it’s not measurable. When the police gets on the scene of a head to head accident they would not know that a truck not pulling off was actually the trigger leading to the accident, but if the truck driving in the yellow lane collided with a stationary vehicle, the cause would be obvious and thus become a statistic. That is the reason why we see that notice on the back of many trucks.

Statistics require measurability. Arguments need (does it?) statistics. Science needs measurability. What cannot be measured may be much more important than what can be measured. How does one measure love? So is love meaningless because it cannot be measured? How does one measure happiness, joy, sadness, pain, hunger? Are we living in a world where those things don’t matter because they cannot be measured? Do they play no part in decision making? Have we really gone that far down the road where these things don’t count anymore because they cannot be measured? In what kind of world are we living?

In the Covid-19 battle we hear everyday that decisions must be based on scientific data. So the welfare of our people, or the lack of it, hardships and hunger does not even come into play when making decisions about the lockdown because it cannot be measured. Have we then become a total heartless society? The internet is full of arguments about the merits of the lock down ito saving lives (actually deferring deaths) vs people dying of hunger because of the impact on the economy. The point is a life only becomes a statistic, and thus a point of argument when it ends, when the person dies. Death is only the point at which consciousness changes. What is far more important here on earth than death, is life, the quality of life, things like freedom, contentment, happiness, joy, having adequate  nutrition, feeling supported and of course love.

In a way, it is the same with ourselves. Death is a great teacher, but we only allow it in as a teacher when we are on our death bed. Only then we become aware of what was actually important in our lives. Only then do we get proper perspective. But then it is too late to reap any benefit from the lesson. When will we learn to get proper perspective in time so we can enjoy the fruits of the lessons from our death bed?

Is it possible that our president and his advisors really are so blind, so removed, so cold hearted, that they cannot feel the anxiety, desperation and hunger of the poor people of this country in their hearts and stomachs because it has not become a statistic yet?  Is it possible? 

Simon van Deventer 17 April 2020