Self-Measurement and the Particular Examen

August 25, 2010


The Times article “The Data-Driven Life” struck me as ripe for commentary when it was published in early May.   Nevertheless, with life and exam week being what they were, it fell to the bottom of the stack.  But even if the piece isn’t exactly hot off the press, I still think it worth a review for the light that it sheds on the Ignatian practice of the particular examen of conscience.

“The Data-Driven Life” is really a string of personal testimonials in favor of the practice of computerized self-measurement.  With the miniaturization of sensors, the proliferation of apps, and the mobilization of data processors (i.e., i-phones), self-improvement junkies can now monitor their every move with a minimum of inconvenience.  And since our perception of even our most objective activities tends to be skewed toward the satisfaction of our appetites and away from painful self knowledge, the cold objectivity of data streams can be a bit bracing. Read the rest of this entry »