The problem with big numbers

The problem is that they’re big, and that they’re numbers.

Our brains are not capable of thinking about “1,000 people” in a real way, let alone 10,000 or 100,000 or more.  We don’t know how take something amazing, or tragic, that happened to one family and multiply it by 10,000.

Emotions, whether joy, fear, or disgust, don’t amplify that way. We just hear a number.

And that fundamental limitation too often insulates us from reality and from action.

2 thoughts on “The problem with big numbers

  1. The opportunity with big numbers is that hidden inside those numbers are stories. And for those who care enough to bring to life the characters, conflict and cause in those numbers, they can drive change.

    No one has given their life for a number. But millions have sacrificed their lives for a narrative (freedom and love are two biggies that comes to mind).

    I love how Acumen is bringing “numbers” to life through Acumen Ideas on Medium.com. Well done.

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