Looking through a numbers lens requires a perspectival preamble: What’s our relationship to numbers? Modernity says they are data, hard cold evidence leading us to the capital-T one truth of the way things really are, unclouded by our sentiment and bias. But too often, numbers in this relationship offer us too-simple stories of understanding and of success. A more holistic approach like Warm Data adds the qualitative richness of interrelationships and complexity to the understandings we might attach to numbers.
Quantified self, “hockey stick” graphs, OKRs, GDP growth… when we get attached to numbers as representative of whatever value or success we seek to maximize, then the urge to pump those numbers up means we get bitten by Goodhart’s Law. The number gets detached from the actual value/goal and starts moving independently - and deceptively, if we still believe in its straightforward representationality.
Even when we know the numbers are symbolic indexes pointing at deeper values… it can be hard to avoid transferring attachment. I attended a church long ago that regularly proclaimed “it’s not about the numbers” even while touting, and taking obvious pride in, their number of baptisms/conversions each year and the size of their crowds. It’s tricky because the correlation really can exist there, and we can’t pretend that it’s meaningless to us, even as we try to avoid Goodhart-ing.
Well this is lengthy for a preamble, isn’t it. Okay, the following numbers are tiny little reference points connected to a thick tapestry of life and lives and living. I’d like you to hold that awareness along with me, as we take a peek through this kind of lens. Bigger isn’t better — even if we wish to live in a world where the entirety of human society is radically transformed. There are interesting things to see here — but don’t be fooled into thinking the numbers let you understand them well.
Meeting stats gathered from the history list:
46 General Sessions (starting mid-Jan 2021, one rest week quarterly)
33 Orientation Calls (sprinkled throughout the year)
30 Meta Meetings (on Mondays starting in May)
To me these numbers connect to dedication, perseverance, some form of a long obedience in the same direction where that direction is towards each other. There is such vitality and joy in connection that after 100+ calls for me this year, still it’d be harder for me NOT to do them and I would ache for the loss if we ceased.
People stats gathered from Zoom+Newsletter data + a few spreadsheet calcs:
~1.4K unique visitors to www.intentionalsociety.org
225 total Newsletter subscription attempts
minus 36 non-confirmed and 21 unsubscribers =
168 current Newsletter subscribers
110 total Orientation Call attendees
62 unique General Session attendees
39 known Ally non-participants
21 current active participants
You can see the strong funnel effect of “finding the others.” It’s a fit and trust dance, and I am happy for all the people who find better fits elsewhere. I’m glad to have met so many people with aligned hearts and intentions, including all those whose fit, constraints, or time zones differ.
These General Session attendance numbers connect to some of my narratives about the four seasons of our year. Season 1 was a bit all over the place. Season 2 was deepening but also narrowing. Season 3 saw slow steady expansion for complex reasons. Season 4 saw further deepening and steadiness. The core of the community seems solid now: 14 people (8M/6F+NB) have attended 10+ weeks out of 46, with 12 of those currently active. I don’t have stats on how many people did how many 1-on-1 calls in the last few months, but people notice if you don’t show up, with compassion and without shaming.
Some things slip out of (or don’t accurately accumulate in) my awareness, and peeking at the numbers gives that 2nd brain effect of supplementing the stories in my memories. This is already long, so I won’t wax rhapsodic about the many things that this year of Intentional Society have brought and meant to me. Until next week!