One of the long-standing questions of many scientists in love is: How do you quantify love? Many would scream loudly that many aspects of the human experience should never be disgraced by assigning a number to it, for it would condemn human qualities to analysis by that cold, hard, soulless subject known as mathematics. Who would think of doing something so wretched?

Me, of course. Mathematics is neither soulless, nor does assigning numbers to things or measuring things necessarily dehumanize them. Instead mathematics should be part of the human experience. Anyway enough moralizing. Here we describe a way to quantify heartbreak.

We define the standard unit of heartbreak, the harmony to be the amount of heartbreak dealt to me by Harmony. All the standard prefixes apply. For example, Harmony dealt me 1 harmony = 1000 milliharmonies = 10^6 microharmonies of heartbreak. Small units of heartbreak are useful for dealing with ordinary offenses such as insults, getting cut off in traffic, getting dirty looks, and so forth.

For example, some random girl gave me the finger the other day for turning from the wrong lane. That constitutes perhaps 1 nanoharmony.

Chris Tiee, in Contravariance, Covariance, Densities, and all that: … what I have learned from the Quest for the Holy Grail of Understanding Tensors (new link)

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