The song of averages

2019-10-31 @Creative

Beware of averages.
Without the distribution,
which you may assume the case,
be especially ware.

No distribution, no information.
Without the distribution,
the average misleads.

Averages have use.
Rough empirical comparisons,
simulations, test data.

Yet nature cares not for smoothness,
nor symmetry.
Nature bakes refined stew from raw carrots.

Don’t vainly rationalize data.
Don’t seek meaning.
Rather, ask yourself,
of what use is the average to me?

Do I strive to meet the average?
Do I seek to compare?
Do I expect average performance?

Am I to forego control?
Undergo uniformity?
Random pursuit?
Entertain the Monte Carlo?

Do I care for average measures?
Height, weight, mid-section?
What determines my inner worth?

Of what use is the average cost,
lest I roll over cardboard terrain?
Of what use is the average time,
lest I sync with the 5 o'clock train?

Do I care for commentators, journalists, charlatans?
Do I care for quarterly updates?
Meals consumed in the course of a day?
Footsteps trotted from home to the bay?

Am I in control of my learning?
Does data predestine my progress?
Difficulty, skepticism, conformance…
The yes pales next to the no.

Beware of mu.
Beware even of sigma.
Beware of fashion.
Beware of patterns in data.

Questions, comments? Connect.