An Open Letter on Statistical Analysis

Stat anal chart

I used to shy away from Statistical Analysis as a means to meaning.

Now different thoughts occur.

Last night my daughter was struggling with 5th-grade division problems that involved endless remainders…

I used to be really uncomfortable with the “why?” of mathematics…

…last night I found it fascinating, as if it were opening entirely new sets of mysteries and unknowns to me trailing off as it did, like endless reflection and inquiry.

QUERY 1: “WHY?”

rodin-thinker-detail-upper-body-right-side-landscape-view

Common enough thought for a philosopher.

Seems to me the “good philosopher” (effective, useful, usable, relevant) consistently ponders and inquires into the Affect and Effect of whatever is under observation or scrutiny.  What / How / Why / Where / & for Whom does it “mean” that we’re Doing / Being / Knowing this or that or what-not.  Anything, really.  Anything at all.

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS

Which got me to thinking…

what/how/why/where/when/for-whom do all these infographics, demographics, assessments, quizzes, ticked responses, reviews, # of views, feedbacks, “likes,” “unlikes,” and so forth “mean” for our Doing/Being/Knowing?

(what’s it all mean, Big Data [pronounced “Big Dadda”?)

QUERY 2: “Huh?”

confusion diagram

WHAT MATTERS TO YOU?

The question that drives, allows, enables any help a “philosopher” might be able to foster…

AND HERE COMES STATISTICAL ANALYSIS!

(the philosopher asks)…

For the moment, just…just-now, here, this-when…

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY MATTERS MOST TO YOU IN YOUR LIFE?

**************(Stop.)************

************(Breathe.)***********

************(Ponder.)*********

Let’s check out your personal statistics (YOU’LL have to do this part of the work – observation, comparison & contrast, open inquiry & interpretation)

statistical control chart

for instance…WHAT things do you nudge toward qualitative analysis or quantitative analysis?

A few simple questions regarding:

  • time with children/partner/self/nature/friends/world (in relation to) time at work?
  • time scrolling Facebook / browsing internet (in relation to) time gazing at / listening to / caressing / doing-being-knowing-with your loved-ones?
  • time realizing time-tested wishes or longings (in relation to) accepted responsibilities?
  • time reading/moving/resting (in relation to) time watching/viewing/receiving
  • pleasurable time (in relation to) suffering time

and so on….

[or how well do such things mesh up / converge / resolve, etc?)

(finding ways statistical analysis might mean)

bodyaffectchart

and then, of course, there’s the more totalizing EXPERIENCING of such analysis / account / record / actuality [REALITY]…

Aha-moments

…at least ONE way a statistical analysis might MEAN?

(and a humane use of philosophy?)

(science & mathematics?)

(humanities & arts?)

INQUIRY

  • WHAT MATTERS MOST TO YOU?

(maybe think of 3-5…rank them?)

  • HOW DOES THAT RELATE TO A STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF YOURSELF?

(keep track of your minutes / hours for 3-5 days)

  • WHAT DOES YOUR ACTUAL BEING / DOING / KNOWING REPORT ABOUT WHAT MATTERS TO YOU?

(compare.  contrast.  assemble.  interpret.  reflect.)

CREATE.

[RESEARCH: it all depends on context]

and it’s all immersive EXPERIENCE

i-u-line_01-Context_click

(…used my lunch break for grocery-shopping to alleviate evening stress after work when I need to get the kids to multiple locations and events, and prepare dinner while hopefully interacting with them, witnessing their goings-on in the ONE place I can be at a time, while finishing up that revised CV I need for perhaps continuing employment in a position I actually feel suited to, find challenging, and organizing an upcoming theater production, parceling energy with hopes I might have some left for my prime concern: my partner, or maybe myself – isn’t that part of all of it too? – and the reading/writing/reflecting I’d love to do, acquiring plane tickets and maps for upcoming family journeys, counting breaths to relax, aiming for meta-cognition and emotional awareness so that I don’t miss, ignore, injure, need to exercise, plus the laundry and housework, and…)

why

all the time, is just the time you have

Content’s Dream

“The essential aspect of writing centered on its language is its possibilities for relationship, viz, it is the body of ‘us’ness, in which we are, the ground of our commonness, 

Language is commonness in being, through which we see & make sense of  & value.  Its exploration is the exploration of the human common ground.  The move from purely descriptive, outward directive, writing toward writing centered on it wordness, its physicality, its haecceity (thisness) is, in its impulse, an investigation of human self-sameness, of the place of our connection: in the world, in the word, in ourselves.”

-Charles Bernstein-

Heroes Ringing True

Robert Musil

On “the writer type”:

One can describe this type as the person in whom the irredeemable solitude of the self in the world and among people comes most forcefully to mind:  as the sensitive person who is never given his due;  whose emotions react more to imponderable reasons than to compelling ones; who despises people of strong character with the anxious superiority a child has over an adult who will die half a lifetime before he will; who feels even in friendship and love that breath of antipathy that keeps every being distant from others and constitutes the painful, nihilistic secret of individuality; who is even able to hate his own ideals because they appear to him not as goals but as the products of the decay of his idealism.  These are only isolated and individual instances, but corresponding to all of them, or rather underlying them, is a specific attitude toward and experience of knowledge, as well as of the material world that corresponds to it.”

On the writer’s region (“nonratioid”):

“There is no better way to characterize this region than to point out that it is the area of the individual’s reactivity to the world and other individuals, the realm of values and valuations, of ethical and aesthetic relationships, the realm of the idea…in this region facts do not submit, laws are sieves, events do not repeat themselves but are infinitely variable and individual…there is in the writer’s territory from the start no end of unknowns, of equations, and of possible solutions.  The task is to discover ever new solutions, connections, constellations, variables, to set up prototypes of an order of events, appealing models of how one can be human, to invent the inner person…which then nevertheless branches out somewhere into a boundless thicket, although not without somehow fulfilling its purpose…”

These quotes come from his exceptional small essay Sketch of What the Writer Knows

which I desperately wanted to reproduce here…

if it “rings true” for you – please find a mentor and friend in Robert Musil: