David Egger’s book, The Every, has this gem of a sentence:
Subjectivity is just objectivity waiting for data.
While there’s some truth here, Eggers wants us to be careful about taking all subjectivity to a data-dependent end state.
Because if all we do is quantify rather than qualify, we might suck all the fun out of what makes life worth living.
It’s OK not to be all hard data all of the time. We have to play a little bit. We have to wonder a little bit. We have to… screw up. And let others screw up. And let life go on.
Another character in the story follows up the quote with an even scarier one,
This is the changing of the species from a free animal to a kept pet.
We may measure what matters, but not everything we measure matters. Staying scientific means staying humble because we accept we’re never 100% right.
Eggers’ work is important because it helps imagine a possible trajectory we’re hopefully not on. It’s more Brave New World than 1984.
If you need a dark but thought-provoking beach read, do check out The Every.