The intangible do not feed a man’s ego. Any measurable quotient does. And there is no better measurable quotient than numbers. So numbers do play on a man’s ego. Time, money, material, machinery, space etc are all resources. If ‘x’ is a resource and n(x) is the return from ‘x’ to maximise n is management. What cannot be measured cannot be monitored, what cannot be monitored cannot be controlled, what cannot be controlled cannot be managed. And unless managed, effective resource utilisation is not possible. So numbers and the number game play a big role in economy and in management of economy. We cannot do without numbers. But you are right… we have stretched it too far. Today, we encourage people to trade human qualities to achieve numbers.
Attitudes don’t care where you shape them and once shaped, they do become your behaviour. This attitude to measure materialistic progress by numbers has in turn become the very behaviour of a man in all aspects of life.
Even in matters of love, we ask ‘How much do you love me?’ The number of votes cast in a website measures Gandhi’s impact on the world. The latest development in cricket is that a big player is not decided by his performance but by the amount for which he was bought. A disaster is considered popular if more people die in that disaster. The more the merrier, for the right reasons and for the wrong reasons. But we must realise that to achieve peace of mind one must be content and not compare.