Monday, March 07, 2005

Tests Based On Tech

I find it funny that people take online tests.

Don’t get me wrong, I take them all the time myself. But it’s interesting that we grow up abhorring and fearing tests, and as adults, we find comfort and solace in them. I often wonder, somewhere in the back of my mind, and secretly hope, I think, that the result will allow me some sort of epiphany about… myself.

We all seek answers to some of the most fundamental questions. In that process, self pity is nearly impossible to extract. But what if we were to answer some of those questions without the influence of pity or emotion? It’s an interesting experiment. How honest and objective can you really be, when the topic on hand is… you?

Tests don’t prove or do anything. They’re just a way of pattern matching against statistical variables without being able to isolate conditions. eHarmony is a perfect example of using a basic statistics to equate two individuals and the plausibility of a positive interaction over a huge set of individuals. If I kept statistics of all my friends, found the ones that deem marriage and relationship building as a high priority, and matched them based on dimensions that showed commonality, I’d probably get results about 25% of the time. Hell, a few might even get married, and then I could really brag.

This does NOT mean that eHarmony is a farce. In fact, it’s probably one of the more scientific ways to introduce and develop relationships in a very technological and emotionless kind of way. It’s kind of like a “weeder” for the dating pool. Get rid of ones that you most likely won’t match with while retaining a subset that has a higher likelihood of success.

Math is a beautiful, elegant language that many cultures nearly worshipped for its aesthetics. It can verify, justify, pinpoint, estimate, and logic its way through almost any topic. However, don’t be misled into thinking that emotion and love can be generated and answered by logic. Framed, perhaps, but not answered.

What eHarmony and other such dating sites truly do is help. They don’t solve, they don’t deliver; they just help. They’re like that good friend who introduces you to all the people you find attractive, strikes up a lively conversation between you, and sets off to find you another. They’re technological pimps for the socially challenged or tired.

It’s funny (not like ha ha funny, but like a conundrum funny) that we’re using technology to meet people that could potentially just be sitting next to us at work. We are gradually immersing ourselves into anti-social behavior, and using the medium that creates this behavior… to be social.

And that, kids, is irony at its finest.

Reeling back in from my tangential discourse, let me proffer you a tidbit of advice: seeking answers from a math set will more than likely leave you with more questions than answers. A true sense of yourself can be found if you just look at you, answer as honestly as you can any questions you have, and be satisfied that answers will come.

And they generally come at the time when you really need it.

Most people spend so much of their time looking at the whole that they miss the little cues and clues that life drops at their feet. Some of the most amazing moments in my life came from noticing something that seemed trivial to everyone else. It just comes down to opening your eyes, talking to people to learn about them, learning about yourself, and the pursuit of knowledge throughout the process.

Oh, and pull your eyes away from that monitor once in awhile.


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