The Qualitative Measurement Problem

Ah – My Qualitative Measurement Problem – the illusory act of ascertaining, developing, and sustaining a standard of measurement by which my ego feels justified in comparing the quality of a person or thing to my expectation of their impact on me. It is circular thinking – expectation affects measurement, which affects expectation, which affects further measurement, etc…

I define my existence and experience by comparing what I PERCEIVE is ME to what I BELIEVE is NOT ME – giving me a sense of measurement. I instinctively measure experience through my ego’s Standard of Threat and Benefit program – with heavy emphasis on my strong expectation of threat TO ME and weak hope of benefit FOR ME.

In the qualitative measurement problem, it seems like I’m making a true assessment of objective observed data – like when I watch someone’s behavior and determine something about their character. It FEELS as objective as when I stepped on the scale this morning and saw a number.

The quality of my “measurements” are based on perception and belief, both of which are subjective – and though such “measurements” may FEEL objective, they are NOT.

In order to conserve energy, I tend to reduce complex subjective considerations of Threat and Benefit to objective observations of bad and good, wrong and right. Neither is a real objective observation – merely an illusion of one that FEELS real to me.

The problem is – life is simply far too complex to be reduced to bad or good, right or wrong. In time, my judgmental errors multiply by the principle of Cause and Effect into a much larger issue – making my qualitative errors quantitative as well.

How Has this appeared in my life?

When I’ve felt I was in competition with others, I’d “measure” myself against someone else or a standard I’d been taught. I worked hard to maintain my edge over others by judging them as less than. In this case, my “measurement” worked as a defense, protecting me from my own perceptions of inadequacy. “I can run faster than you; therefore, I AM better at running than you.” The “faster” part can be measured with a stopwatch. The “better than” part cannot. Yet they both feel the same to me.


“Look at me! I’m better than you!” In this variation of the qualitative measurement defense, I measure my behavior/idea/worth against my perception of others, rather than looking within myself. When I’d release my fears concerning inadequacy, the competition would morph into awakening and the “qualitative measurement problem” would resolve into an opportunity.

Idea competition

Even when it appears I’m measuring one thing or person against another, I’m actually considering one idea in competition with another. This is another impossible competition as ideas are just ideas. One idea works in one way in one context while another idea works in another way in another context – or not! It’s not measurable!

Measurement is not a problem – qualitative or quantitative. Belief in measuring that which cannot be measured – like people – is the qualitative measurement problem. Qualitative measurement is simply another form of defense against perceived threat. When I let go of a fear, the qualitative measurement problem resolves itself for that context – thus chipping away at the underlying belief in measuring the immeasurable.


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