- Jul 2022
Harold Jarche looked at his most visited blog postings over the years, and concludes his blog conforms to Sturgeon’s Revelation that 90% of everything is crap. I recognise much of what Harold writes. I suspect this is also what feeds impostor syndrome. You see the very mixed bag of results from your own efforts, and how most of it is ‘crap’. The few ‘hits’ for which you get positive feedback are then either ‘luck’ or should be normal, not sparse. Others of course forget most if not all of your less stellar products and remember mostly the ones that stood out. Only you are in a position to compare what others respond to with your internal perspective.
The cumulative effect of one's perception of Sturgeon's law may be a driving force underlying imposter syndrome.
While one see's the entirety of their own creation process and realizes that only a small fraction of it is truly useful, it's much harder seeing only the finished product of others. The impression one is left with by availability heuristic is that there are thousands of geniuses in the world with excellent, refined products or ideas while one's own contribution is miniscule in comparison.
Contrast this with Matt Ridley's broad perspective in The Rational Optimist which shows the power of cumulative breeding and evolution of ideas. One person can make their own stone hand axe, but no one person can make their own toaster oven or computer mouse alone.
Link to: - lone genius myth (eg. Einstein's special relativity did not spring fully formed from the head of Zeus, there was a long train of work and thought which we don't see the context of)
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.
- contextual medium
- knowledge scaffolding
- availability heuristic
- thought spaces
- digital gardens
- imposter syndrome
- pyramids at Giza
- writing for understanding
- lone genius myth
- context collapse
- reverse engineering
- Sturgeon's law
- rational optimism
- progressive summarization