A brief note on the quantified self

Cathy’s post reminded me to record here what Samuel Beckett had to say about the quantified self, in his 1951 novel Molloy:

I can’t help it, gas escapes from my fundament on the least pretext, it’s hard not to mention it now and then, however great my distaste. One day I counted them. Three hundred and fifteen farts in nineteen hours, or an average of over sixteen farts an hour. After all it’s not excessive. Four farts every fifteen minutes. It’s nothing. Not even one fart every four minutes. It’s unbelievable. Damn it, I hardly fart at all, I should never have mentioned it.  Extraordinary how mathematics help you to know yourself.

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2 thoughts on “A brief note on the quantified self

  1. Andrew Obus says:

    Beckett needs to check his math…

  2. JSE says:

    Oh, trust me, much literary-critical ink has been spilled over whether this is intentional…

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