Pills and Potions

I am identified by a number.
School ID – N19142692
Universal Music Employee ID: 2345149
Social Security Number: 724-5 –Oh wait… let’s not get too ahead of ourselves…haha


I am translated by a number.
Local Address Zip code – 10009
Permanent Address Zip code – 92807
See this website? You can determine what kind of person I am, how much money I make, and how I spend my free time simply by knowing what numbered territory I live in within the United States. I am translated by a five number combination that represents my location, my interests, and my demographic.


Therefore, I am interpreted, understood, and determined by numbers.
That employee ID can determine how much I ultimately get paid by tracking my clocking in and clocking out hours. My school ID can essentially allow me to access food, transportation, and shelter under NYU. Without it, I can’t go to class, I can’t buy food, I can’t ride the bus to go home, I can’t go to events. The set of numbers that identify me as Heidi Seo contains an omnipotent power that inevitably shapes me for who I am. Numbers play an important role in our lives, simply because they are the means to our survival in this world.


Andrew Goffey emphasizes in the book, “Software Studies: A Lexicon”, that algorithms come from logical sets of calculations and numbers in order to make functional statements about lifestyle. Computers run through sets and sets of numbers, often times called source code that helps them accomplish tasks and functions for better usability. The more intricate the algorithm is in the computer, the more “useable” and functional it is, allowing more users to better interpret and understand the program that the algorithm is creating.


Just like computers, our lives have been calculated by logical calculations and algorithms for many, many years in order to help organize and determine the status of our lives. If we are more “productive” human beings, our number can allow us access to more resources than some other people. Our net annual salary, our credit score, and our social security number give us information that classifies people into organized strata. We are all part of a large database of numbers, an intricate matrix that contains the most logical and mathematical representations of our own sole identities.


However, what about emotions?
I am identified by an emotion.
I am particularly happy. I am a happy person.


I am translated by an emotion.
Being a “happy” person has placed me in social groups that fit to my character. I’ve received jobs particularly in customer service and sales, because of my happy emotion. Each person’s identifiable emotion can essentially determine where we work, how we live and communicate in this world.


Therefore, I am interpreted, understood, and determined by emotions.
I can particularly be cheerful most of the time, or sad, or angry. We all play to a specific emotion very comfortably and naturally in our lives, because of our past experiences and influences. These emotions help determine our identities as people, although not as logically as numbers do. However, as such, emotions change over time. They are unpredictable in nature, helping us progress and transform as individuals. Without emotions, we won’t be motivated to explore and design new innovations. Without emotions, we can’t affect and acknowledge others at a deeper level. We can’t make any profound impact for the good of society nor make an effort to achieve enlightenment and spiritual wellbeing within ourselves. However, having too much emotion can blind us from logic. We are lost in a sea of information, images, and social pressures when we use a computer and go online. We don’t realize that we are actually swimming in a sea of logical numbers and algorithms, carefully and purposefully calculated to make us emote feelings and senses. Emotions can be dangerous in that essence.


I believe both numbers and emotions have equal importance when identifying an individual, but in today’s society, there has been a huge imbalance between the two, causing many consequential actions and damage. The Virginia Tech massacre was the deadliest gun shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history. The student, Seung-Hui Cho, allegedly injured 17 people and shot 33 people, including himself. The student had a very unstable emotional background, but sources claimed that much of his instability was due to his obsession in violent video games and multimedia. Events like these portray the worst kind of consequences that can be traced from an imbalance between emotions and numbers.


As we slowly become more emotionally connected to technology through the software we use, the messages we send on our smartphones, and the visual spectacles we see on screen, we must recognize the balance – the fine line between emotions and numbers that both equally identify and determine who we are. Failing to recognize this balance can ultimately lead to huge consequences and missteps in society that might quite possibly cost us the lives of loved ones or even ourselves. We are definitely at a point where numbers and emotions are at an imbalance in our society. The only solution to change this is to simply recognize it. That’s all we need to do.


Pills and potions…we’re overdosing…

~ by Heidi Seo on October 18, 2014.

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