…an essay from her collection “Men Explain Things to Me,” refers to something a friend of hers calls “the tyranny of the quantifiable.” In such a system, Solnit writes, “what can be measured almost always takes precedence over what cannot: private profit over public good; speed and efficiency over enjoyment and quality.” This she attributes partly to the failure of language to communicate the value of “slipperier thing…
Jennifer, Mara, Astrid & Aniyia
Numbers are scientific. Numbers are real. Numbers speak for themselves. [Really don’t.] Numbers can’t be argued with. [Really? I do it all the time. How many legs does a dog have, if you call a tail a leg?] Numbers are revered by people who have no freaking idea what the numbers really are. Numbers are held sacred by people who never grasped that a number derived from opinion and guess looks identical to one based on careful observation and measurement.
When someone tells you, “I like these numbers. I feel good about these numbers,” I’m pretty sure they made my point.
I love numbers. But there are other things in life and the universe. And there ought to be when deciding who gets funding.