Self-placebo

Author: joe

Thursday, 28 July, 2011 - 20:33

"Self-tracking" is the meeting of lifelogging and self-measurement: to capture and record every moment of existence, and to transform it all into meaningful units of analysis. "Hey, I'm self-tracking, I hope you don't mind", I might say as I paid the cashier, spoke to my co-worker, confessed my ailments to my doctor. I transfer my rushes to the second terabyte network drive, but I don't stop to edit. Do I pause my life to log it?

And what do I quantify? Physiological measurements are the easiest place to start, since the physiological self is that which is already registered, enumerated, quantified and counted. I count! And then the psychological self - my moods come and go in finite quanta, and sustain for certain durations. I live and last! And my lifeworld, my phenomenality? Well there, I am in the service of my archive. I am a devotee of the annals, I am my own traces, now made tangible. The more I am numerable, the more I am remedied by numbers.

Self-tracking: in that peculiar concatenated phrase, marrying selfhood and assessment, is foreshortened an arborescent branching of a myriad canyons, each chasm an ellipsis. From this distance it is beautiful, the fractal of my life. Up close, I merely count the gaps - the irreducible can be reduced in this way. It is the lifeworld equivalent of a "close door" button in the lift: a cosmetic affordance which is sufficient to my requirements for control.

Kelly, K., 26 June 2011, "The Quantified Self", [kk.org]
 
Ross, G., 4 November 2010, "Placebo Buttons", [futilitycloset.com]
 
Silberman, S., 24 August 2009, "Placebos Are Getting More Effective. Drugmakers Are Desperate to Know Why", [wired.com]
 
Wolf, G., 22 June 2009, "Know Thyself: Tracking Every Facet of Life, from Sleep to Mood to Pain, 24/7/365", [wired.com]

Categories: placebo, selfhood, measurement, self-tracking, lifelogging,
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