- Feb 2022
9/8g Hinter der Zettelkastentechnik steht dieErfahrung: Ohne zu schreiben kann mannicht denken – jedenfalls nicht in anspruchsvollen,selektiven Zugriff aufs Gedächtnis voraussehendenZusammenhängen. Das heißt auch: ohne Differenzen einzukerben,kann man nicht denken.
9/8g The Zettelkasten technique is based on experience: You can't think without writing—at least not in contexts that require selective access to memory.
That also means: you can't think without notching differences.
There's something interesting about the translation here of "notching" occurring on an index card about ideas which can be linked to the early computer science version of edge-notched cards. Could this have been a subtle and tangential reference to just this sort of computing?
The idea isn't new to me, but in the last phrase Luhmann tangentially highlights the value of the zettelkasten for more easily and directly comparing and contrasting the ideas on two different cards which might be either linked or juxtaposed.
- Graeber and Wengrow ideas of storytelling
Shield of Achilles and ekphrasis thesis
https://hypothes.is/a/I-VY-HyfEeyjIC_pm7NF7Q With the further context of the full quote including "with selective access to memory" Luhmann seemed to at least to make space (if not give a tacit nod?) to oral traditions which had methods for access to memories in ways that modern literates don't typically give any credit at all. Johannes F.K .Schmidt certainly didn't and actively erased it in Niklas Luhmann’s Card Index: The Fabrication of Serendipity.
- edge-notched cards
- mechanical computing
- scientific method
- shield of Achilles
- compare and contrast
- tools for thought
- origins of the computer
- computer science
It was not until the 14th century that scientists created the first sophisticated astronomical clocks.
The first sophisticated astronomical clocks were not created until the 14th century.
the first precision-geared mechanism known is a relatively simple—yet impressive for the time—geared sundial and calendar of Byzantine origin dating to about C.E. 600.
The first known precision-geared mechanism is a sundial and calendar of Byzantine origin dating to circa 600 C.E.
- Jan 2022
The essay is most famous for its description of a hypothetical information-retrieval system, the Memex, a kind of mechanical Evernote, in which a person's every "book, record, or communication" was microfilmed and cataloged.
It really kills me that there's so much hero worship of all this, particularly given the information processing power of index card systems at the time. I don't really think it took such a leap to image automating such a system given the technological bent of the time.
Of course actually doing it is another thing, but conceptualizing the idea at the time would have be de rigueur.
- Dec 2021
In § 3, I explain that to have a life of its own, a card index must be provid-ed with self-referential closure.
In order to become a free-standing tool, the card index needed to have self-referential closure.
This may have been one of the necessary steps for the early ideas behind computers. In addition to the idea of a clockwork universe, the index card may have been a step towards early efforts at creating the modern computer.
- Aug 2021