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Numbers

It is the 18th weekday I am writing in a row.

It's also the 16th of May 2024. The time is 18:24. My laundry will be done in 14 minutes. The paragraph interface tells me I have 32 published posts. My Twitter Follower Count is somewhere at 4,600. Farcaster is 2000 below that but probably 200x the quality.

I got about 5 Bumble Matches today, 3 unread WhatsApp messages, 100+ in random Telegram channels, and 800 spam emails (probably).

There are also 2 letters on my kitchen table, probably bills that'll tell me yet more numbers.

Numbers everywhere.

As I was walking toward the Aldi, I was trying to think of a topic to write about.

Numbers were the best I could do.

We often measure success in numbers.

They tell us you need to "pump the numbers" and make sure the "price goes up." And anyway, token price for a crypto project becomes the one measure of success, it doesn't matter what other good you've done.

But even outside of crypto, people like to put us into numbers.

Take stock price performance and this stupid notion of "shareholder value maximization."

On dating apps, apparently, a guy needs to be at least 180cm/ 6ft tall. That's a number there. Girls, of course, better not be that tall. That goes without saying. And then your BMI yet another number, isn't supposed to be more than 25.

Then there's the net worth, which some people care about.

Oh, and of course, how many likes do you get? How much engagement? How many flame emojis are in reaction to your mirror selfie?

How many people read what you write? Or at least view it. There's no way of knowing if someone really read something online except if they talk to you about it.

Then there is the Open Rate for the blogs you decide to send. Yet another number.

I, too, fell into the trap of caring too much about the wrong numbers at some point.

It felt like a good approximation of how good I was at something. Or how desirable.

It's easy when it's what's expected and encouraged.

But maybe those aren't the real numbers that matter. If even just one person reads what I write and it triggers something in them, then this is more than enough.

Even if no one does, I still get something out of it. A lot, actually. And that's one person that matters a lot to me.

Schopenhauer wrote the following in his meditation on reading:

Even the writings of an ordinary man may be instructive, worth reading, and entertaining, for the simple reason that they are the quintessence of that man’s mind — that is to say, the writings are the result and fruit of his whole thought and study;

I like to think that it might just be like that with me, too.

The numbers I care about then aren't how many people read what I wrote. I care about the people who do reach out, reflect, and collect. But it's not in the number that I measure.

I don't think a real interaction with another human can be put into numbers.

I just know that it's infinitely more valuable to me when someone tells me, "Wow, this resonated with me deeply," than seeing 5000 likes.

I know it's a luxury.

Carlos Ruiz Zafon begins his novel The Angels' Game with

A writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise in exchange for a story. He will never forget the sweet poison of vanity in his blood, and the belief, that if he suceeds in not letting anyone discover his lack of talent, the dream of literature will provide him with a roof over his head, a hot meal at the end of the day, and what he covets the most: his name printed on a miserable piece of paper that surely will outlive him.

A writer is condemned to remember that moment, because from then on he is doomed and his soul has a price.

At times, writing crypto articles about things I didn't care for much certainly felt like selling my soul.

Yet, with this publication of on paragraph that promises nothing, I might just have found a little refuge in that. A place where I write for myself and for anyone who's willing to read the words of a common woman - as Schopenhauer would say.


Thanks for reading. 💚

If you are intrigued by the Zafon Novel, it's part of a series starting with Shadow of the Wind. I love the entire series and have re-read the books multiple times.

Highly recommend.

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