PERSPECTIVE


Many years ago, while visiting Brazil, I met a man who taught me something wonderful.  He told me about a particular group of people (most would call them a tribe) who lived in the jungles of the rainforest and had lived there for many years.  They had a fascinating numbering /counting system.  It was like this:  One, Two, Three, many.

I found this humorous yet interesting and I asked the man how a group of people could maintain such a system for so long without ever counting higher than three.  The man looked back at me and with a crooked smile said “Why in the world would anyone ever need to count more than three of anything?  More than three of anything is of no use to anyone other than to be many.”  That was one of the wisest concepts I had ever heard; to this day it still is.

I asked to know more about these people:  Where did they live?  Did they still maintain that system of counting?  He said that they still lived in the jungle, but they now counted just like the rest of the world.  I was surprised by that; their numbering system had survived in spite of contact with the modern world.  I asked the man if he knew when they began to count higher than three.  He looked right at me and almost immediately replied “When they started to use money.”

That put many things into perspective.

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