From: Ryan Knowles
Why do I try to teach my daughter to count? Why does God ask Moses to count? Have you ever tried to do a headcount with a group of say, fifty adults? The adage goes that we revert back to childhood in our old age, but I would contend that it might actually be when someone is trying to take a head count. So how do you count up twenty two thousand Levites? A substantial number of them had to have been 6-10 year old boys (Numbers 3.15), the most fidgety human beings.
Maybe I teach my daughter to count because I want her to internalize the base-10 numerical system, or because I want her to get used to quantifying things, or help her make sense of her world. I don't know. I just do it, and I like to think that this might be one way to approach this section of In-the-Wild, one which most properly deserves its Hellenic title, and is terribly tedious to read. Namely, that we deserve and need the tedium. Much of what we do is so crammed with content that Numbers challenges us, and probably challenged Moses as well to take a step back into the formal act, the ritual - counting without content or reason, whether or not we feel like it, and thereby drawing our obedience to the call of God out of the signifying economy, and placing it into the thrilling romance of the repetitive creativity of the God who does it again and again*.
* This phrasing courtesy of Chesterton, by way of Žižek.
I am an accidental escape room designer and apostate PhD candidate. I count myself as a blesséd stay-at-home father, halfway-decent husband, and never-ending font of variably useful information.