We seem to be living in two distinct parallel Universes: the Universe that can be measured, and the Universe that cannot. The Universe of effect, and the Universe of affect. The Universe of Time and Matter, infinite in its complexity - measurably immeasurable - and the Universe of Life and Feeling, known only in the solitude of the individual heart, and yet potentially all-embracing, all-feeling, all-knowing and all-loving.
How do you measure love? How do you measure sickness? How do you measure grief?
We read grief in the faces of the bereaved, and understand it in ourselves. We read sickness in the faces of those that are ill, and understand it in ourselves. We read love in the faces of those that we love, and understand it in ourselves.
Love is immeasurable, yet everyone knows it.
Quantity is measurable. Quality is not.
The British people have already given one hundred million pounds to the relief effort in Asia. People all over the world have felt this tragedy in their hearts and responded to it with real generosity.
World governments have pledged two point two billion pounds so far.
Now here are some more figures.
Hurricane, Central America, 1998: four point eight billion pledged, one point six billion delivered. Floods, Mozambique, 2000: two hundred and fourteen million pledged, one hundred and seven million delivered. Earthquake, Bam, Iran, 2003: seventeen point one million pledged, nine point five million delivered.
Currently there is a bidding war on who can pledge the most on camera.
Let's make sure we hold them to it this time.
By the way, the Earthquake in Bam happened on Boxing Day too.
Josef Stalin once said that twice is a coincidence, three times is a conspiracy.
I will wait till next year before I conclude that the Earth may be trying to tell us something.