Friday, February 21, 2003

Let's Talk About Quantification

What do I mean by "quantification"? This, my friend, is a good example:

Scholarship blabla
- IPK > 3.0

Let's face it, we were raised from baby by measuring achievements. It was still all fun being a baby. Everything was an achievement. "Look! He smiles!" "Look, he cries." "Oh, look, now he poops on your new shirt!"

We grew a bit more and achievements shifted into physical thing. "My darling weighs 10 kilos already," says a proud mother. "Oh really," responded another.
"Mine weighs 11." And we were introduced to the very first thing that once led to bloodbaths in the Collosseum: competition.

It matters a little to the mother if her baby looked like a big fat panda dressed for Mardi Gras, as long as the little cutie weighs more than the other 460 millions babies in the world. Hell, the baby could be so heavy it caused the Titanic to sink, and the mother would still be proud. "That's my baby who sunk the Titanic! She weighted 120 tons!"

Yes, we were raised to compete. We were taught to recognize our worth by comparing how we measure in the social standards to the others. "My two-year
old kid could memorize the names of all nations on earth! He's a genius!" a father would brag. "My one-year old could do integral calculation!"
The farther he can do and the younger he is, he becomes more "genius".

"My baby can recite a dictionary!"
"What baby? You're still pregnant."
"See! She's also a ventriloquist!"

Then we got acquainted with The Official Institution of Determining People's Worth: school. ABC&123 are elementary and integral calculations are high school to
college level. We got grades, and probably an IQ score. Your Intellegent Quotient. Good. Now we know how we fare, intellegently. We used to find out by slapping post-it notes behind someone's back that says, "I'm an idiot."

But then some official institutions figured they only need to educate people of their standards. So they slapped a number on the entrance, which is later called "requirement". Theoretically, requirement works like the height bar on the entrance of a roller coaster. "You have to be THIS high to ride." But some people that were born short must resort to riding merry-go-round education for the rest of their lives. And even if you can join the roller coaster ride, there's no seatbelt. Anybody not hanging onto the rules will be out before they can spell "gravity".

But that's not enough, some people came up with EQ, Emotional Quotient. Then SQ, Spiritual Quotient. And believe it, or not, somebody is actually trying to
sell the concept of Sexual Quotient. Look, I'd really love to see the women measuring process. But do we really need to find out how intelligent we are when it comes to sexual thing? I mean, wouldn't it be rather unfair for guys? In normal condition measurement, a guy could score really high then a babe walks by and BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!, the score monitor goes flat.

But I guess some guys would just love to embrace the concept. Why? Because it'd make a great pick up line. "Hello, there, beautiful. How's your Sexual Quotient these days? Not good? Oh, we should do something about that, shouldn't we?"

Because the whole point of measuring, which is to acknowledge growth, is abused way too often. Instead of recognizing growth and be content with it, we compare the measurements to justify our self-worths. It doesn't work that way. I mean, Olympics are cool because it occurs only once in four years. But the way we compare to each other, is like spending all our days competing in javelin throws. We don't even know why we are supposed to throw spears if we're going to take them back and do it all over again. All we know is that some numbers'll come up, showing how far we threw compared to others. And that'd be enough reason for glory or despair.

I like sleeping better. But do we ever compare how much we sleep? Nooo... on the contrary, we compare how _little_ we sleep.

The world's a funny place. I wonder how high it measures in the universe?