Monday, November 9, 2009

An Argument for Existential Computing

I think the dedication of attention to details of ones person is good for humanity. I do not think that the integration of computers is necessary to do so. However, I do think that computers allow for us to capture the data we want to pay attention to while not needing to actively participate in the actual logging and sensing of data. That said, the logging of self data should lead the individual to some conclusion about priorities, at which point the person is required to spend time reflecting on the outcome of the data, and ultimately change themselves in a way that better positions them in life. For example, one could log stress data(galvanic skin response and heart rate) while commuting to and from work, trying out different routes and departure times. But if once the data is collected and the person refuses to look at the data or respond appropriately then the logging of data has served no purpose. But this is obvious, I suppose what I am trying to say is that the active participation of the person in reviewing the data is as, if not more, important than the logging of the data. The active participation in reviewing the data conveys a willingness to change ones habits, or a fluidity in the brains make up for change. Why do I think that paying attention to self data is good for humanity? I don't really, what I do think is good is the repositioning of priorities to facilitate happiness in yourself and others. The decision to change ones priorities from quickness of commute to least stressful of commute has implications that will cascade down past the individual. The fundamental decision to value ones personal mental health over ones ability to pack as much into one day as possible also has the effect of restructuring values in other areas of a persons life. Good uses for data logging include times in which the person is under the assumption that an activity is inherently something, and so executes the activity because of the desired outcome, ie. I watch TV when I get home at night to relax. If one were to log data while watching TV after coming home and then log data while doing other activities, one could get a better idea of what is actually relaxing and not just sedating. To a certain extent, paying close attention to data logging allows us as individuals to create new values and let go of old ones given to us by our family, or at least the possibility could arise. But why, what is the reason to spend time reviewing details of your life? From my examples I immediately think of health reasons, less stress has been proven to better on your body and mind. Also, if some how we are all connected and a collective conscious does exists, then I think it is better to have a happy, calm, and caring collective conscious over an angry, nervous, and apathetic collective conscious.

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