If we have to speak of languages then arguably humans are the only one who can think in numbers. We are surely the only one to have develop a concept to explain that and write it in symbols. Symbols may vary in the space-time continuum, but it exists in one or the other form pretty much everywhere on our planet. In pure mathematics infinity is the largest number that exists. For now let’s not get into the complexities of different infinities e.g. positive, negative or complex. I hope for the context of this article we can drop the mathematical debate and stay with the common understanding of infinity. Having settled that, zero also has a special meaning in mathematics. It is a very special concept and probably in daily life not appreciated much. Zero also has very special place in some spiritual cultures including some originating from Hinduism or in general from that geographical region. In those practices “zero” is like state of mind/soul that they try to achieve and to achieve that is arguably the ultimate purpose of mankind.
However, on a daily basis it is the number “ONE” that we consider as the most special number. This seems to be the number that is driving people across the world. It is usually valued in two different concepts. One the static one i.e. the current state e.g. I am the number 1 in the top richest people OR humans are the number 1 species in the food chain. The second one is about the flow, the change in the state or the action if you will. This is about being the first one. I want to be the first to reach mount Everest. The same first can be further categorized to make it special. Few examples of mount Everest first could be.
- First human
- First woman
- First teenager
- First female teenager
- First above 50
- First Transgender
- First gay
- First one in certain number of days
I hope you get the idea. This concept is valid in pretty much every aspect of life. It starts very early in life. E.g. first sibling to finish meal or a glass of milk. First to go to school, to ride a bike and so on. The whole education system and upbringing seems to be centred around this idea. Maybe I am wrong, but the world seem to be getting more aligned to being first. It can move in any direction. Being the first in the class to being the first to drop-out of the class. Being the first to prove a theory and being the first to prove that original theory was wrong. The scope of the comparison may also be used to satisfy or undermine a given first. Being first at home among siblings, then among class peers, to school, to state, country and to the world.
This year we have seen this idea at global level and at a visibility of ordinary citizen. E.g. scientist have been fighting to be the first at global level for long time, but not many people are aware of such fights. However, this year, thanks to COVID-19, every human (atleast the ones connected to the world by internet, TV or newspapers) was welcomed to see the power of ONE in action ; the race to be the first in COVID19. There were different firsts that gain attractions. Some may sound weird to a certain groups while the same may be the appropriate one for others. Some of the ones that I can think of..
- The first one to get COVID.
- First one to set alarm for COVID.
- First one to take action against it e.g. starting lockdown. (China ?)
- First one to deny it’s impact or relevance (was it United states ?)
- First one to develop a test to detect COVID.
- First one to say that a chip is being planted under cover of COVID test to monitor people.
- First one to relate it to 5G. (David Icke maybe ?)
- First one to blame it on Bill gates for his plan to kill people.
- First one to blame it on Pharma industry as their interest to make money.
- First one to say wearing mask helps.
- First to counter that wearing mask is useless. ( Sweden or US ?)
- Even the first identified clusters got more news than the other bigger ones later on.
- First one to release a vaccine.
- First government to allow the vaccine.
- First person to receive the vaccine.
- First vaccinated person who got sick after it.
- First one to say COVID is fake and is only a game of governments and corporates to make profit.
- First one to get COVID for the 2nd time. This is strange kind of first though 🙂
- First country to close borders.
- First one to deny employment to people who have not vaccinated.
I pushed myself to reach 20, but I am sure there were many more “firsts” achieved and followed related to COVID and many more will follow. COVID definitely takes the crown of attraction for year 2020. However, many other events happened during the year, which did not get as much attention at global level as they would have in the absence of COVID.
One such case happened in Croatia, where “firsts” were visible. Unfortunately, Zagreb (capital city) and its surroundings were hit twice this year with earthquakes. This happened to have occurred during lockdowns. Many buildings were damaged, people died and got injured. A lot of people were left without shelter and belongings, not to mention close ones. This was a tragic scene as it always is with such natural disaster. At the same moment the concept of ONE/first was in full action. Headlines with first to record the scene, first one to reach for help, first one to offer a place to stay, or first one to bring food/ clothes to the place. Although, a lot of people came together as community (local or distant), but what seems to catch the attraction is the “first”. People might seem to be driven by the feeling to be the “first” rather than simply helping. One can read statements like “We were the first to reach there and situation was bad”. The same first has been then segregated by cities or areas from where people went to help. Of course an article without photos of those “first” people won’t spread much on social media. It is interesting that people feel proud or maybe necessary to have their photos taken at the scene of disaster for being the first there. O On the contrary pretty much the same “people” feel annoyed when some minister reach there and their photos get published in newspaper. Is that strange?
This article was all about first and the concept of the ONE. I don’t know how and when this mindset started to develop. It surely was not a human idea as being at the top exists in animal kingdom as well; remember alpha males? But somehow it seems that the impact of it is not that big or so much visible. In my case this is the last article of year 2020 and would look forward to “my first” in 2021. I hope that in 2021 when people meet each other on streets, in offices, in markets, in public places or even on virtual meetings (as might become a norm) that people start the race to become the first one to smile and laugh. I hope that might in itself transform the idea of being first.
The first one is important in our dreams!
Mulla Nasrudin was telling his wife about a dream he had experienced the night before. “It was terrible,” he said. “I was at a birthday party at Joe’s house. His mother had baked a chocolate cake three feet high, and when she cut it everybody was given a piece that was so large that it hung over the sides of the plate. Then she dipped up some homemade ice cream. She had so much of it that she had to give each one of us our share in a soup bowl.” “What was so terrible about that dream?” asked his wife. “OH,” said Nasrudin, “I WOKE UP BEFORE I COULD GET THE FIRST TASTE.”