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Measure for Measure


Has anyone noticed that everything seems to have a measurability to it? Machines at bakeries and fast food shops will tell you exactly how many calories your almond croissant has. Rate Your Professor is a website that reduces the quality of teachers to numerical evaluations. There is room for commentary, granted, but the numbers are what sticks. Focus groups ask people to rate their experiences with products based on numerical rating scales. Pollsters gather opinions on candidates and issues using concise clear-cut yes or no questions. Economists look at purchasing patterns over time. Measurements are king.

The problem of reducing everything to measurements and scales is that you lose the grey areas in-between numerical assignments. You don't look at gradations.

Psychologists evaluate patients based on progress they have made, on changes of perception and action over time. Psychologists take in all factors of the patients' case histories and personalities. The total picture is what they view.

The pollsters and chart-masters think every experience is finite and reducible. They are charting the experience, but they leave out the human factor. Humans are complex, unpredictable creatures. Their likes and dislikes are personal, so they depend on all the quirks and aberrations of personality. Economists are now looking at the human factor when they make predictions. The economy and all social sciences are not extant independent of us. We created them. Human nature is the lynchpin that keeps a product or service connected to our habits.

Don't worry about using that calorie counting machine, though. Your waist line is measurable.

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