Against Factuality

So, The New York Times tells us this morning, a start-up is gathering the facts - "all of them". This start-up is Gilad Elbaz's Factual which apparently wants to "collect every fact in the world." Elbaz is a fact ideologue. After his Israeli father told the young Elbaz about the Palestinian-Israeli conlict, the boy apparently replied "that the hatred would end if the two sides could just agree on the facts."

Agree on the facts? That's what history (public and private) is - a disagreement on the facts. If we were all agreements, then there would be no history, no complexity, no meaningful debate.

Elbaz is relentless about collecting facts. "Lately I've been thinking that we need to get more data," he tells The Times. Apparently he wants us all to reveal all our genetic information, what we ate, when and when we exercised.

"I want to figure out a way to get people to leave their data to science," Elbaz says.

But the problem with leaving our data to science is that we will reduce ourselves to data points. So I certainly won't be leaving my data to science. And nor should you if, like me, you want to preserve your legacy.