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Things I Know About Numbers...


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Things I Know About Numbers...

Numbers get such a bad rap by people who don't understand them, or even fear them - it's like numerophobia, or something. I love numbers, and not because I'm particularly good with them, not at all, I have average to poor maths skills, but I really do like numbers.

People often say numbers don't MEAN anything, but these people also like to bandied about the term 'quantity versus quality', which to me, just shows they don't get the beauty of numbers.

One of the reasons I love numbers is that they are all about relationships! Each number is, itself, a static phenomenon. One is always one, under no circumstance does one ever become eight or five. Anywhere around the world throughout time, you can say 'one' and people know exactly what one is.

I love words, but the meaning of words change all the time 'gay' in 1911 didn't mean the same thing as it did in 1961, or what it means in 2011. Words mutate and take on different common meanings.

I like numbers. They stay the same, but they are constantly marking relationships. Take the number one, again; it can be the first, or the last, the whole or only a very small part of the whole. It can be the top rank, or the first rung...

And numbers can represent your personality, a pattern, the key to entering. They can be anonymous, or denote, very specifically, a person's position in a company or family.

Numbers don't judge, they merely impartially represent change. That something is growing or shrinking is neither intrinsically good or bad, it just 'is' to numbers.

Numbers intrigue me.
Numbers are fun.
Numbers are reliable accountants of change.
Numbers are stable.
Numbers are egalitarian and coperative.

I love them!

PS. Letters? Don't get me started on letters! Is there anything as obnoxious as an A, with all his 'I always need to be first and I don't need to work with other letters' - or smug little E, you just know she knows she's the most valuable letter in English literacy... Letters annoy me with their inconsistencies and their cliqueyness!

Comments

Kate said…
I actually really love numbers and stats. I've learnt not to base too much on them in terms of blogging though, over time.

I'll happily admit I run Google Analytics, Stat Counter, Feedburner on my blog as well as the Nuffnang Analytics and the blogger stats. Mostly because I find the huge discrepancies between them all very amusing ;)

Which stats do you use?
neesay said…
I have a definite number allergy so thanks for showing them to me in a different light!
Jayne said…
I wish I shared the love (STATS!!Groan) but I don't. Numbers are ok, they fulfil their purpose and they're kinda necessary. Like work, taxes, toilet paper and sanitary products. But the fact they don't change, the fact they are never open to interpretation-I don't like

However this:

"I love words, but the meaning of words change all the time 'gay' in 1911 didn't mean the same thing as it did in 1961, or what it means in 2011. Words mutate and take on different common meanings."

sums up (ha! see what I did there?!) why words have it all over numbers, any day of the week :D
Sif said…
LOL, Kate! I wasn't just talking about blogging and stats, though our conversation did get me thinking about my love for numbers. I was talking more generally about how people dismiss or fear numbers - Jayne is no fan of them, but she is certainly not alone, as neesay pointed out :) - like the innumerable (pun intended) times studies are ignored because of numbers and the 'lies, damned lies and statistic' quote - who said that anyway.

I was thinking about how I love numbers. I religiously weight and measure my children's growth to see the change. I look for patterns in number plates, phone numbers and family birthdays (like the time I figured out that Jaynes kids birthdays blended together consist of the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).

People tried to make qualitative judgements using numbers, and that's where the end up disappointed, because numbers can't really be qualitative - when they are, it's always a manipulation, but the can and are quintessentially quantitaive, and in that role - their nature state - they gleam as reliable constants, a universal language accessible to all!

(that bit about letters and words was more tongue in cheek - as a writer, I have a deep and abiding love-hate relationship with words and letter, they are my complex, mercurial children!).
Sif said…
Story about all the wordos, lol... Tried = try, 2x the = they...
Rhianna said…
What a great post! I am a numbers fan but I a also love words as well. Nothing like sitting on the fence :)
mamabook said…
I grew up with a mother whose passion is numbers and find myself far more passionate about words. But I think some of that fascination with numbers rubbed off on me in spite of myself! I love it when I find number patterns in the everyday world and remember playing with numbers in my head as a kid. I remember times when I really enjoyed the maths homework and I think it was partly the certainty. Having fun with mum visiting right now watching her passing on her number passion to the kids. Briliant at really explaining mathematical concepts and for her solving a number puzzle is as fun as writing or reading is to people more like us.
Michelle
Kellie said…
I became a journo for a reason - I don't do numbers! LOL! ;)
Dorothy said…
Strangely enough I hate numbers, even though I'm good with them. As soon as I see a page with numbers, they start swimming before my eyes. And to think that I got a high distinction at uni for Statistical Maths! I can do it, I just don't understand it....
I don't think I have ever thought about numbers so intensely. Thanks for making me think about it :)
Sif said…
I'm really enjoying everyone's reaction to this post - a lot of people have quite strong uncurrent feelings about numbers! I'm very much like a person who enjoys listening to music but cannot play an instrument when it comes to numbers. I'm not good with them - in fact I transferred from a degree in computer programming to a degree in creatove writing after just one week of Discrete Maths A (I had NO interest in signing up for DM B!)... Still, I love numbers...
Kellie said…
I have a love/hate relationship with numbers.
I respect their necessity, but I would much rather words!
Life on a Hill said…
This is what I love about blogging! That you can write about your love of numbers and people respond!
To be perfectly honest I have never considered whether or not I love or hate numbers. I just use them!
Jess said…
I would always say that I don't like numbers at all!Maths freak me out & I go all mental blockish & say I don't do numbers but I loved your point about numbers staying the same.My little boy loves predictability and likes to watch the time and therefore I have begun to see the comfort numbers can bring in certain situations.Funny old world isn't it :-)
I suck at math and counting change. I have to deal with money figures all the time though with the business.one day I'll get comfortable with them. I do love stats though.
Deborah said…
I hadn't thought about numbers this way... how they stay the same. I thought I always had an adversarial relationship to them. You have shed new light! I still think my first love is words though. :)

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