Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | February 19, 2013

The Narrow Logic of Numbers

Indian_pre-school_girl_in_pink_shirt_plays_with_abacusHere is another brilliant documentary by Adam Curtis, second in the series I posted on the other day. This film focuses on the narrow logic of numbers and how politicians have tried to use numbers in the service of their ideals with such hopeless results.
What is so interesting is the way he demonstrates how certain beliefs and ideas about what the human being is have been used by politicians and economists to startling effect in the very tangible worlds of health care, social mobility, and wealth distribution.

It shows us how vital the search for the understanding of the human being is –  how the study of philosophy, psychology and spirituality are of fundamental importance. The film is full of extraordinary information: about the Impossibility Theorem, hospitals taking the wheels off trolleys to classify them as beds to hit their targets, and of the similarity in responses between economists and psychopaths.


Responses

  1. This reminds me of how not all cultures even have numbers or a full counting system. Some don’t have a concept of zero. Others only have a “one, two, many” counting system. How does this shape their cultures? Are we really better off with our base 10 numbering system? What do we lose by having such a system?


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