- Jul 2022
At the same time, like Harold, I’ve realised that it is important to do things, to keep blogging and writing in this space. Not because of its sheer brilliance, but because most of it will be crap, and brilliance will only occur once in a while. You need to produce lots of stuff to increase the likelihood of hitting on something worthwile. Of course that very much feeds the imposter cycle, but it’s the only way. Getting back into a more intensive blogging habit 18 months ago, has helped me explore more and better. Because most of what I blog here isn’t very meaningful, but needs to be gotten out of the way, or helps build towards, scaffolding towards something with more meaning.
Many people treat their blogging practice as an experimental thought space. They try out new ideas, explore a small space, attempt to come to understanding, connect new ideas to their existing ideas.
Ton Zylstra coins/uses the phrase "metablogging" to think about his blogging practice as an evolving thought space.
How can we better distill down these sorts of longer ideas and use them to create more collisions between ideas to create new an innovative ideas? What forms might this take?
The personal zettelkasten is a more concentrated form of this and blogging is certainly within the space as are the somewhat more nascent digital gardens. What would some intermediary "idea crucible" between these forms look like in public that has a simple but compelling interface. How much storytelling and contextualization is needed or not needed to make such points?
Is there a better space for progressive summarization here so that an idea can be more fully laid out and explored? Then once the actual structure is built, the scaffolding can be pulled down and only the idea remains.
Reminiscences of scaffolding can be helpful for creating context.
Consider the pyramids of Giza and the need to reverse engineer how they were built. Once the scaffolding has been taken down and history forgets the methods, it's not always obvious what the original context for objects were, how they were made, what they were used for. Progressive summarization may potentially fall prey to these effects as well.
How might we create a "contextual medium" which is more permanently attached to ideas or objects to help prevent context collapse?
How would this be applied in reverse to better understand sites like Stonehenge or the hundreds of other stone circles, wood circles, and standing stones we see throughout history.
- progressive summarization
- pyramids at Giza
- contextual medium
- writing for understanding
- digital gardens
- context collapse
- reverse engineering
- thought spaces
- knowledge scaffolding
- Mar 2022
Local file Local file
“Noteson paper, or on a computer screen [...] do not make contemporaryphysics or other kinds of intellectual endeavour easier, they make itpossible” is one of the key takeaways in a contemporary handbookof neuroscientists (Levy 2011, 290) Concluding the discussions inthis book, Levy writes: “In any case, no matter how internalprocesses are implemented, insofar as thinkers are genuinelyconcerned with what enables human beings to perform the
spectacular intellectual feats exhibited in science and other areas of systematic enquiry, as well as in the arts, they need to understand the extent to which the mind is reliant upon external scaffolding.” (Ibid.)
Does Neil Levy go into anything on orality with respect to this topic? Check: Levy, Neil. 2011. “Neuroethics and the Extended Mind.” In Judy Illes and B. J. Sahakian (Ed.), Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics, 285–94, Oxford University Press
Link this to P.M. Forni's question about how I think about mathematics and my answer relating to scaffolding or the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Link this to the 9/8 zettel quote from Luhmann about writing being thinking.
Compare the ideas of visual thinking (visualizations) and a visualization of one's thinking being instantiated in writing along with the Feynman quote about the writing being the thinking. What ways are they similar or different? Is there a gradation in which one subsumes the other?
What does Annie Murphy Paul have to say on this topic in The Extended Mind?
- Jul 2021
Now that they are part of comedy history, it can be hard to imagine George Carlin’s most famous routines as anything but finished products. Whether the infamous “Seven Words” from his album Class Clown (released exactly 45 years ago Friday) or the monologues from his hosting of the first-ever episode of Saturday Night Live (which returns for its 43rd season this Saturday), these routines can seem to have sprung fully formed from his mind. But there’s plenty of physical evidence to the contrary.
It's rarely ever the case (my cognitive bias statement), that anything springs fully formed from the mind.
Generally there's an infrastructure, a system, a method by which ideas or physical things are aggregated, accumulated, and edited into existence.
When seeing them well done, they appear magical because we don't see the work or the process. We will often call them genius, when in reality, they're the result of long hard work.
Take the Pyramids of Giza. They look large and magesterial---and likely moreso in their non-degraded form. But is it so mystical how they may have been built if we were to see the structure and scaffolding that likely went into constructing them?