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  1. Jun 2022
    1. If Luhmann’s notebox system was not dynamic and fluid and not one of pure order, either, how can one think of Luhmann’s notebox system? In my experience using an Antinet Zettelkasten, I find it to be more organic in nature. Like nature, it has simple laws and fundamental rules by which it operates (like the laws of thermodynamics in physics); yet, it’s also subject to arbitrary decisions. We know this because in describing it, Luhmann uses the word arbitrary to describe its arbitrary internal branching. We can infer that arbitrary, means something that was decided by Luhmann outside of some external and strict criteria (i.e., strict schemes like the Dewey Decimal Classification). (12)12 This arbitrary, random structure contributes to one of its most distinctive aspects of the system–the aspect of surprises. Because of its unique structure, the Antinet is noted as “a surprise generator,” and a system that develops “a creativity of its own.” (13)

      There's some magical thinking involved here. While the system has some arbitrary internal branching, the surprises come from the system's perfect memory that the human user doesn't have. This makes it appear that the system creates its own creativity, but it is really the combinatorics of the perfect memory system with use over time.

      Link to: serendipity of systems based on auto-complete

  2. Feb 2022
    1. Something about Scrivener elicits a lot of strong feelings from people who have used it, both positive and negative. It has a growing community of writers who swear by it, and a parallel community that is tired of hearing all the Scrivener-heads raving about their magic tool.

      Scrivener and its community are an example of a tool for thought being thought of as a magical tool potentially without people thinking about what the tool is doing that makes things so dramatically different.

      This article is written in 2017 just before the expansion of the zettelkasten craze in various social media spaces.

  3. Sep 2016
    1. The problem is that you could use this logic to defend just about anything. Imagine that a wizard showed up and said, "Humans are about to go extinct unless you give me $10 to cast a magical spell." Even if you only think there's a, say, 0.00000000000000001 percent chance that he's right, you should still, under this reasoning, give him the $10, because the expected value is that you're saving 10^32 lives.

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