Becoming a statistic

March 1, 2020
 by Paul McGowan

We're all a statistic somewhere: a number, one of many that someone, somewhere, keeps track of. Maybe you're one of X thousand digital audio subscribers, or perhaps you're among the few that only purchase vinyl, but somewhere you're showing up as a statistic.

Most of us wish to belong to a group, family, or collection of likeminded people. There's strength in numbers and our decisions to move in one direction or another are validated by the others.

What's interesting to me is the conflict between how I feel inside vs. my needs to be part of a group. Inside, I am an individual—a separate entity unto myself. No one knows what's inside my head nor how I am thinking. I believe I am unique in the universe. Yet, on more than a few levels, I qualify as a measurable statistic. A predictable entity. Regardless of the clutter of seemingly unique motivations in my head, someone, somewhere can pretty accurately guess what my next moves are going to be.

Even if I decide I don't want to identify as part of a group I remain a predictable statistic: I am part of a group that doesn't want to be part of a group.

I know. All this keeping track of people seems kind of creepy, right?

If belonging to a family or group of likeminded people—our tribe—is what makes us stronger and more resourceful than what we alone can achieve, then what's creepy about keeping track of the members? It's how we know there is more than just one in the tribe.

I for one am fine with being counted amongst my fellow audiophiles and music lovers, even if it means someone else can predict what the future might look like.

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