Numbers Are Not Happiness

When Facebook bought Instagram and I wasn’t sure about what their rights of everything I posted in Instagram were, I took my original account and deleted it. At that time I had 8,000 or so followers and Instagram was (and still is) my favourite web thing, so it meant a lot to start from scratch and give it up.

I went briefly to Flickr as my only visual outlet, and then, after Instagram changed their policies I started again and came back, to start from scratch. And now that there’s 9,000 Instagram followers and I want to thank everyone there for playing along, watching what I do, liking, commenting and sharing. I can say Instagram has taught me a lot, brings me a lot of joy, and keeps on being a celebration of life, all things visual, art and beauty. I’ve met people, artists with whom I traded art, made new friends and learned to know old friends in new ways. I’m delighted by everyone’s sense of beauty, reflected in your own photos and art and try to see as much as possible and like as much as possible. And after all this, (and if you’re still reading) you’d be surprised to know that I’d like to share something I learned in this experiment: numbers are not that important. Not in Instagram, not in Twitter, not in your bank account, nor in life. We’ve been educated to praise numbers and quantities. The bigger the better. The more you have the more happy you’ll be. And so on. And it takes a while to understand this. As contradictory as this may seem, numbers don’t help us to be happy, although it would appear so. They’re an illusion. And sometimes a lie.

I recently cancelled my Twitter account, with thousands of followers, and went back to zero. We can fool ourselves with numbers. Sometimes numbers make us feel what we are not. I constantly need to reeducate myself in humbleness and in keeping an eye out for what’s important. In doing so I hope I can help some other people too. Numbers are not happiness.