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Underbelly: 10 Things - Illuminate

Wendy Kelly
Wendy Kelly
#116 in a series of wild and precious ways to help you find your flashlight.

  1. TWIL (This Week I Learned)
This week I contemplated illumination.
A series of small encounters led me to start contemplating how we get what we need to make decisions.
During my lifetime, we have undergone a “data revolution” — it literally began when I was one year old, in 1968 — some days I think that’s amazing and other days not so much.
Maybe the idea is that I am amazed when I control the data and less amazed when the data controls me?
Perhaps it’s a graph where the more mystical and unintelligible the data is, the less impressed I am. The more clear, illuminating, and helpful, that’s where the actual magic lies?
2. Quote
“The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he is one who asks the right questions.” — Claude Levi Strauss
Surgical statistics are still in their feeble infancy. Many eminent men affect to despise them on account of the worthless character of some of the first efforts in that direction; but if it is true that figures illy digested do often lie, the same is the case with conclusions not based on figures. The truth is this: statistics are no substitute for common reason, nor common reason for statistics. — The Medical Examiner (Chicago), 1873
tl:dr version:
Statistics are no substitute for judgement.Henry Clay, English Economist of the Bank of England, 1930
We must be careful not to confuse data with the abstractions we use to analyze them.William James
Today’s child is bewildered when he enters the 19th century environment that still characterizes the educational establishment where information is scarce but ordered and structured by fragmented, classified patterns subjects, and schedules. — Marshall McLuhan
3. Prompt
I often feel tossed about in life when I have lost my locus of control — When I don’t feel like my decisions are coming from my core. It’s almost a feeling of loosing my balance.
Before the “data revolution” liars and scoundrels used other methods to try to trip us up; some of these are still used today.
More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Cigarette
More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Cigarette
Data, information is helpful, but we need a calm place and enough time to analyze what we take in, and I honestly feel that in my life sometimes that doesn’t happen.
What about you? Do you have time and space in your week to calmly take in all the information you are presented with, where you can calmly and reasonably make decisions?
(It’s okay if you just did a “spit take” — but I think it’s worth contemplating.)
4. Quest
Can you find a quiet place and time this week to simply let the waves of data and information subside for a moment?
Perhaps it’s just me, but even a cold drink with a good friend where we don’t talk about anything but just laugh — that seems to help somehow.
All the usual: walks in the woods, time with children, staring blankly out a window :) arranging flowers — whatever suits you.
5. Level-UP / Go Deeper
When the waves of data and information subside, sometimes there is a welling up of emotion. That can feel scary, as if that data and information were actually a healthy thing. Perhaps try to stay with any emotions that rise up in this wake and see what they illuminate for you as they subside?
6. Video
40 Better Hours: Manoush Zomorodi on Information Overload
40 Better Hours: Manoush Zomorodi on Information Overload
7. Article — Super practical :)
What is Information Overload? | Interaction Design Foundation (IxDF)
8. Poem
Ships That Pass in the Night by Paul Laurence Dunbar - Poems | Academy of American Poets
9. Hero — I’m really drawn to her courage.
Sara Billups
10. Connect — Underbelly project consists of a series of Wild + Precious offerings including blog posts, a podcast, courses and this newsletter.
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Wendy Kelly
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Wendy Kelly
Wendy Kelly @wendykkelly

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