On the Optimization and Quantification of Life – Assorted Pre-Salon Thoughts

This post is a preview of sorts to my Interintellect Salon on the 31st of July. This isn’t going to be a particularly in-depth post, it’s mostly to give some of my initial thoughts on the topic and to provide some more context to people who may be interested in the Salon but are on the fence about attending.

One of the main reasons why I think this topic is a timely one, especially as we slowly return to normalcy after the past year and a half is that now is a good time to think about how society operates, what some of the shortfalls are and how we can rectify this.

While I will in parts of the Salon touch on the quantification of work and professional life, this has been discussed almost ad nauseum elsewhere, and is not the main focus of what I had in mind for this topic. Instead, focusing on areas such as personal lives, leisure time and even hobbies is more of interest to me. Incidentally, one of the things which sparked this idea for a Salon was watching the Euros recently and noticing the extent to which stats, even ones which had at best peripheral relevance to what was happening, being a centrepiece of the broadcast. Having not paid close attention to football for a few years before the last few months, the number of new metrics and stats measured struck me as being bizarre at first, but also a part of a broader trend the more I thought about it. While a seemingly inoccuous thought at first, it did soon prompt me to think further on the issue which eventually led to me coming up with the idea for this Salon.

Particularly in the online spaces where I frequent, I find a lot of people trying to relentlessly optimize and quantify even their hobbies and interests. To an extent, this is a natural response to broader societal trends. However, it seems not only to be expressed through actions, but also through a more pervasive worldview.

As well as this phenomenon, I want to explore the other downstream effects of the relentless push for optimization and quantification, and how it may affect aspects of our lives which we didn’t even think about, or in different ways than we usually conceptualise. This thinking is reflected in some of the posts I have shared to read before the Salon in the event page for the event.

Again, this post is far from a comprehensive summary of my thoughts on the issue, but just a way to air out some of my initial thoughts on the topic as I continue to prepare for the Salon. In the days leading up to the Salon on the 31st July, I’ll likely discuss this more on avenues such as Twitter, the I.I discord and elsewhere.

For those who are interested, the link to the online event is below. Tickets are $10, which is a great deal for a 3hour+ event. It starts at 8pm Adelaide time on the 31st July, which is around 11:30am in the UK and early morning in the US if you’re up for a late start. Hope to see you there!

https://interintellect.com/salon/the-quantification-and-optimization-of-life/

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