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Balancing data and processing

I'm a fan of sci-fi for its ability to envision different worlds and ways of being. Since coronavirus began, I've been rewatching Star Trek Voyager, a space show about a team stranded a long way from home. There've been some interesting parallels with what's happening in current events. Including a pandemic. Dontcha kinda wish you could shoot coronavirus like this?


In an episode titled "The Voyager Conspiracy," there is a character called Seven of Nine who has the ability to download information straight into her brain. She engineers the system to download months of information at a time, but her ability to process the information can't be sped up. In trying to make sense of the data, she begins formulating conspiracy theories. Over and over, she adds 2 + 2 and winds up with 5. Too much data, and not enough time to absorb and process it.

So, how are you in this balance right now?

It feels to me like new information, new data, is coming at us at lightning speed. Already trying to make sense of a global pandemic and the new reality we're in, now the facts and the analysis of the antiracism Uprising are coming at us, many pieces at a time.

The events themselves are something I don't want to slow down - the white supremacy that has gripped our world is showing cracks, and I hope we can bring our weight to jump up and down on those cracks to make permanent breaks.

For us to do so is going to take our best thinking. We are no longer willing to accept only cracks, and so people are now seriously considering what it would look like to re-imagine how we do public safety, our system of justice. Individuals are considering how we have been shaped by white supremacy, and how we can work to eradicate the racism within ourselves, and learn to be more effective antiracists.

There is much data out there - books, videos, articles. And we need that data to stir and wake up the ideas in our heads.

But pause after reading or watching before diving into the next. Process the ideas. Make sense of them. Think about how they apply to you, your family, your community. Remember taking geometry? "You can't just memorize the theorems," my mother would fuss. "You have to understand them." Thinking takes some time. Make the time.

And watch out for those conspiracy theories, okay? Often, they're created with data -- but no processing.





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