Quantifying fear: a micro-essay

  • 14 March 2011

Through the eyes of a student in the numerical sciences it is natural for me to attempt to quantify things. At the Poroporoaki of the recent MAI doctoral conference Dr Simon Lambert's Korero include the statement, “The enemy is not the Pakeha, but ignorance”. In my own personal post conference evaluation, I kept coming back to Simon's Korero and that statement. Delving a bit deeper, I would like to say our enemy is fear. Not good old fashion boogy man fear, but a particular type of fear, fear that has been consciously generated, fear with a purpose.

Having no academic background in social sciences or colonisation, and when discussing this broad subject in relation to us as Māori colleagues often say to me “you should read this book by so & so”. I have to confess that I feel that reading such books will result in a Heisenburg Uncertainty Principle happening in the way I view this subject, that is, “the act of measuring something will change that which is being measured, so the measurement itself becomes inaccurate”. I mean no disrespect to the endeavors of those authors and I am sure that I will be berated over this but I believe it to be true for me at this particular point in time while I am trying to view the material in question through the eyes of a “number cruncher”. In saying this we a bombarded with views and interpretations all the time through modern media, and while watching the film Avatar there was a bit when someone said “Its that simple, when people are sitting on top of something you want, you make them the enemy, and then you can justify taking it” or words to that effect