Measure the beauty of that girl, the one who’s running barefoot through the still-wet grass. Factor in all the children like her, all the children dragging kites through the sky or peering into goldfish bowls. All the children sitting in treehouses, or in classrooms with their hands raised, the answers on the tips of their tongues. Give me a rough estimate of the circumference of an old man’s love for his wife, as he sits quietly at the side of her hospital bed. Google up for me the weight and volume of a woman’s laugh.
Take up and put a definite number to all these things, if you can. Use a scale. But not just any old scale. The best scale in the universe. The most accurate scale your imagination can devise. The sort of measuring device capable of telling you the weight of the moon and of a hummingbird’s brain. The sort of scale that can quantify a human soul, the tail of a comet, and the weight of a dream.
Take up all of the things that make life worth living. Take up birthdays and weddings. Take up stories and paintings. Take up poetry and music, warm fresh bread and belly laughs. The smile on the face of a Buddhist priest, and the warmth of a hand when it’s holding yours. Take up candlelight and gospel choirs. The way the sun illuminates your lover’s hair. Take them up and place them carefully on the plates of the scale, like the rarest of spices, being careful that they don’t blow away in a sudden apocalyptic wind.
On the scale’s other side, place a barrel of oil. Place a stock certificate and the cartridge clip from an AK-47. Place an SUV and a grinning politician. Throw in a land mine and a chemical plant. Find a board of directors sitting on their leather chairs. Find a news network and an advertising agency (and weigh their wallets, Rolexes, Blackberries, and golf umbrellas too). Weigh a battleship headed to the Middle East, and a transport plane loaded with weapons. Take the average weight of a CNN journalist and a reality T.V. host.
Take all of these things, and put them in the balance. Take careful note of all the results. Sift through the data and compile your research. Pay careful attention to your findings. You do the math. Do the math. Tell me what you find.