Friday, December 1, 2023
Speak Your MindThinking in numbers

Thinking in numbers

Many people feel safe in doing what everybody else is doing or what the majority is doing. It feels safe to fit in. Who wants to stand out right, especially if what we are standing out for is something that goes against what the majority tend to accept. People would say, “Everybody is doing it? So what is the problem?”

This question in itself shows that the number of people that accept something as right justifies its rightness. The larger the number of people thinking it is right, the higher the likelihood of it being right. Just like anyone else, there are many times when I felt that something should be right, if it is being accepted by a majority of people. But there are also times when I wonder if thinking in numbers is the right thing to do.

Often, when people are asked to let go of their bad habits, whatever that bad habit might be, they justify their loyalty to the habit by mentioning other people they know who despite of having the bad habit, have faced no consequences. They would say, ‘even X does that, so what happened to him or her? Why should I stop if others who did the same as me have faced no consequences in doing so?’

It is true that a person weighs their options of dis/continuing certain bad habits by comparing the probable impacts of the two options. If the probability of facing a bad consequence for pursuing a certain habit is a low one, the risks of facing a bad consequence are presumed would be low.

So, in a way, you might say that what the larger group or a majority does, says or thinks, is important when making different life decisions. But regardless, I still believe that just because the probability of facing a bad consequence is low, it does not justify to pursue the habit.

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These days, I feel that we are only thinking in numbers, in the number of deaths to be more specific. We are hearing bad news after the other and it seems that we have become numb to what is happening around us to a point that the unjustified death of a child is not that bad if it is “only” a couple that have died.

The number of innocent people dying around the country has become so big that we stopped thinking about the individual child. To those who think in numbers, I only have one question to ask. Will a person who had two children but lost one to unimaginable brutality say “come on, it is only one of my children that I lost. It is not a big deal.”

Does the number matter here? Does it matter how many of our children we lost, when it is OUR own children that died? Where are we heading with this kind of mentality? Why have we become so cruel to have reduced the death of hundreds to mere statistical numbers? In fact, those of us who think in numbers are those of us who have not lost anything. We think in numbers because we have not yet lost even one, or hasn’t hit close to home yet.

So I wonder when will it be high enough to say “ok now, too many have died and we need to do something about it,” When is high, high enough?

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