Only the unique is permitted to the realm of joy and pain. The unique is uncountable. Two is inapplicable to it. Two negates, even slays, the unique’s raison d’être. So, the unique is not one. One merely exists to pave the way to two.
As uniqueness dissolves, ordinariness emerges and similarities bloom, objects begin to gather around labels. They, in the eyes of categorising criteria, become similar, interchangeable and indiscernible. In short, they mature to be counted because interchangeability is the foundation of counting.
The joy of the unique withers as similarities flourish. The unique loses its defining quality. So it dies and resurrects as a number. It, however, won’t be enjoyed as before.
The first experience is what matters. It’s the still-unique. It’s still uncountable. The next encounters lack its exclusive quality, its uniqueness. They are replicas that, as Leibniz say, lack individual existence, they are the same. They lack the unique’s intensity in stimulating the nerves. They are ordinary. They can’t be remembered. They can only be counted. Counting begins with the numbness of the nerves.
Human beings have witnessed the death of the unique befall billions of objects throughout thousands of years. We have suffered the boredom of the ordinary for times and times again. We, however, managed to discover a cure, a vastly popular one indeed. A cure that lets the spectre of the joy of the unique linger a trifle longer: we began to count. Counting aspires to revive the joy of the first, the still-unique. But as the numbers grow, as we become accustomed to it, counting, which was a means to keep alive the joy of the unique, becomes an end in itself. Obsessive compulsive enumeration supersedes the joy of experiencing. And so begins the fetish of numbers.
Greed is the fetish for numbers. It’s by instinct the unique’s antagonist for it feeds on enumeration. And so does the market. The market worships numbers, longs for enumeration and loathes uniqueness to the extent that it rids objects of their exclusive joy only to increase the count of the countables.
There are experiences in life that are supposed to be enjoyable; we are expected to enjoy them. But we fail to do so, either we do them too frequently or simply they fail to satisfy us. We, on the other hand, want to fit in, to be accepted; we can’t bear to be different. We fear to love the unique and in doing so, become unique. For the unique is alone, it’s not seconded. We, thus, pretend to enjoy. We do our best to persuasively pretend; to the extent that we manage to deceive even ourselves.
Here are some examples:
|Physical activity||calories burnt, kilos lost|
|Making love||people slept with|
|Seeing new places, people and cultures||travels and countries visited|
|Friendship and intimacy||likes, shares and visits on social media|
|creative/productive work||hours worked|
|Creative writing||words written, books published|
 Interchangeability is also the fundamental idea of currency. Every 10c coin must be considered as perfectly similar, equal and interchangeable with any other 10c coin. Otherwise, if each 10c coin was unique, the whole notion of currency would fail and monetary trade would collapse.
Photo credit: PICHOST