Measuring humanity fragments our understanding of it

People are not machines.

Trying to measure humanity fragments our understanding of it. We need to start accepting ourselves as an inherent part of nature, just like the trees and the animals themselves.

Bateson, the illustrious anthropologist and social scientist, made the observation that the difference between the way human beings think and the way nature works is, nature doesn’t measure. Nature deals only with the pattern which connects, not with quantification.

There is no objective standard for how high a tree should grow, or how fast an animal should run.

His philosophy resonates with me, as someone who measures almost nothing in his life.

Maybe it’s just me, but this obsessive need to quantify everything just sucks the joy out of existence. It’s so cold and sterile. Measuring certainly helps when we’re trying to make technological progress. That’s a fine place to play the numbers game. But we’re not this distant, separate entity from the divine pattern which connects all things. We live at one with it.

And so, whatever direction of personal growth nature has in mind for us, it doesn’t matter what the metric is. Or how fast it happens. It only matters that we get in tune with that knowledge and apply it the best we can.

Gallup recently reported the percentage of engaged employees, those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace, is now over thirty percent. Apparently, it’s the highest level since the organization began reporting about this national figure twenty years ago.

Big deal. That amorphous number doesn’t actually tell us anything about our company. The data might be interesting, but it’s not an accurate reflection of what’s going on in any specific organization.

In fact, even if our company does run its own survey and collect and analyze that data to build a picture of the collective feeling tone at the office, again, so what? It’s probably full of bias on both sides, and by the time employees fill it out and leaders see it, much less take action on that data months later, it’s already stale and irrelevant.

And let’s not forget the inherent paradox of these kinds of surveys. The same leaders who are trying to solve the problem are the ones who created it.

Point being, if nature doesn’t measure, why should we? Trying to force objective standards for how a group of human beings should be feeling isn’t helpful.

Dylan once sang that you don’t need a weatherman to know the way the wind blows.

Nature, deals only with the pattern which connects and not with quantification, and we’re still a part of that.

Let’s start acting like it. 

What if you stopped measuring and rolled with the joy of letting life progress by its own accord?


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