Metrics

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We have more information than ever before. We’re drowning in data. About the world as a whole. About our government and the people who run it. About where we live and who is nearby. Even about ourselves. As I sit here right now, my smart watch is recording my heart rate and saving that information alongside how many steps I took yesterday and the measurement from the smart scale I stood on this morning.

My smart phone is recording my coordinates. My laptop is making note of the websites I visit. I take a photo of something nearly every day. Never have so many people so assiduously recorded so much. And yet, by and large, our culture of one confusion. We can’t even agree on what a fact is anymore.

I like data. But weighing myself daily is only a useful exercise if I’m prepared to accept the responsibility when I see a trend moving in the wrong direction. If I get angry with the scale or deny what it’s telling me or take data from a study on gravity, twist it, manipulate it, and make it seem to show that physics has turned against me personally, I’m lying to myself more than anyone.

If you use false facts as a shield against reality you might seem to win a short term argument or two. But this is not the strategy of someone who actually wants to solve the problem or reverse the trend.