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Averages as (Ready) Handles

Any population or data field, while being susceptible to having one of its attributes average, also has a metaphorical “Center of Gravity” and as such can be said to possess “angular momentum.”

The “Stats” (including the average) of a cannon ball are quite different from a bale of candy cotton of the same weight. From the “average” point of view, they are the same. But they fly through space differently. They rotate differently. They are essentially different in all respects except for the weight they have in common. But to discuss each only from the viewpoint of “average,” would be a grave distortion of what each is about.

But the same is true of all averages. Averages tend to “Stereotype” an entire population or data field with a single number as if that number explains everything about the subject matter. Thus an average is but a (“cheap”) handle for dealing with what is often a considerable amount of information.

To be facetious, this writer may ask for the "average” of the Universe and demand some number as if that had meaning and relevance devoid of all context. Yet in a world of 'dumbing-down,” most of our brethren are content to “bat about averages, rates, and percentages as if they lent real relevance to our cognitive worlds.