229 Matching Annotations
  1. Apr 2024
    1. Muhanna, Elias. “A New History of Arabia, Written in Stone.” The New Yorker, May 23, 2018. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/a-new-history-of-arabia-written-in-stone.

    2. In 2013, Al-Jallad used the Safaitic database as he worked on an inscription containing several mysterious words: Maleh, Dhakar, and Amet. Earlier scholars had assumed that they were the names of unknown places. Al-Jallad, unconvinced, searched the database and discovered another inscription that contained all three. Both inscriptions discussed migrations in search of water, and a possibility occurred to him: if the words referred to seasons of migration, then they might be the names of constellations visible at those times.
    3. Al-Jallad began pulling up every inscription that mentioned migrating in search of rain, and soon he had a long list of terms that had resisted translation. Comparing them with the Greek, Aramaic, and Babylonian zodiacs, he started making connections. Dhakar matched up nicely with dikra, the Aramaic word for Aries, and Amet was derived from an Arabic verb meaning “to measure or compute quantity”—a good bet for the scales of Libra. Hunting for Capricorn, the goat-fish constellation, Al-Jallad found the word ya’mur in Edward Lane’s “Arabic-English Lexicon,” whose translation read, “A certain beast of the sea, or . . . a kind of mountain-goat.” He stayed up all night, sifting the database and checking words against dictionaries of ancient Semitic languages. By morning, he had deciphered a complete, previously unknown Arabian zodiac. “We’d thought that they were place names, and, in a way, they were,” he told me. “They were places in the sky.”

      There's got to be a great journal article on this!

    4. The inscription on Macdonald’s rock included the name of a person (“Ghayyar’el son of Ghawth”), a narrative, and a prayer. It was the narrative that stood out to Al-Jallad. Reading it aloud, he noted a sequence of words repeated three times, which he suspected was a refrain in a poetic text.
    5. The history of Arabia just before the birth of Islam is a profound mystery, with few written sources describing the milieu in which Muhammad lived. Historians had long believed that the Bedouin nomads who lived in the area composed exquisite poetry to record the feats of their tribes but had no system for writing it down. In recent years, though, scholars have made profound advances in explaining how ancient speakers of early Arabic used the letters of other alphabets to transcribe their speech. These alphabets included Greek and Aramaic, and also Safaitic; Macdonald’s rock was one of more than fifty thousand such texts found in the deserts of the southern Levant. Safaitic glyphs look nothing like the cursive, legato flow of Arabic script. But when read aloud they are recognizable as a form of Arabic—archaic but largely intelligible to the modern speaker.

      Safaitic is an example of the beginning of writing in Arabia at the rise of Islam and may have interesting things to reveal about orality on the border of literacy.

      Compare this with ancient Welsh (and related Celtic languages and stone inscriptions) at about the same time period.

    1. There is an ʻŌlelo Noʻeau, a Hawaiian proverb, that states: I ka ʻolelo no ke ola, i ka ʻolelo no ka make. This translates to “in speech is life, in speech is death.”
    1. Whether we can ex-press in words or not what we observe, has nothing to do withthe fact of observing and reasoning, which must be regardedas quite independent and separate from any record in words.When we arrive at a stage where we desire to reproduce ourobservations by means of language, we enter an entirely newfield of reasoning.

      again he's providing ample room for orality.

    2. Words are brought into relation according to recognised rulesand thus give language. Language is that by means of whichwe describe or record intelligently. Records represent know-ledge, they give information, information belongs to our businessmaterials; we use it, we apply it, hence we group it into classesto make it accessible, we index it. Broadly speaking literatureis the result of1 observation of concretes2 translating our observations into language.

      While Kaiser's definition of literature presumes letters and writing, his use of it doesn't narrow it down to require literacy, it speaks only of observations and language.

      Similarly his use of "records" doesn't need to only to require writing.

      As such, the description here of recording information, while applicable to literate cultures, leaves plenty of room for oral cultures who use similar systems to do the same thing.

      Songlines and related mnemonics are certainly means of indexing information.

    3. We make notes mentally too,for that is the only way to gather knowledge, and a well trainedmemory is always a great asset,

      I appreciate the space for an oral perspective here in a book from1911.

  2. Mar 2024
    1. there’s something really magical about the information density of visuals and graphics, which I would argue is based on the fact that humans are deeply embodied in visual creatures before we were linguistic textural creatures. And so it’s kind of pulling on a much richer, kind of higher bandwidth information channel for us.
  3. Feb 2024
    1. As thehistorian Jean Leclercq, himself a Benedictine monk, puts it, ‘in theMiddle Ages, one generally read by speaking with one’s lips, at leastin a whisper, and consequently hearing the phrases that the eyessee’.6

      quoted section from:<br /> [au moyen âge, on lit généralement en pronançant avec les lèvres, au moins à voix basse, par conséquent en entendant les phrases que les yeux voient.] Jean Leclercq, Initiation aux auteurs monastiques du Moyen Âge, 2nd edn (Paris: Cerf, 1963), p. 72.

      What connection, if any, is there to the muscle memory of movement while speaking/reading along with sound/hearing to remembering what we read? Is there research on this? Implications for orality and memory?

    2. StAugustine draws this same parallel when he writes to a communityof nuns, ‘let it not be only your mouth that takes food, but let yourears also drink in the word of God’.3

      quoted section from:

      St Augustine, Letters, trans. by Wilfrid Parsons, 5 vols. (Baltimore, MD: Catholic University of America Press, 1956), V, Letter 211, ‘To a Convent of Consecrated Virgins’, p. 43.

    1. The connection with ancestors is a central feature of the Constellation process.

      Relationship of stars to stories and people to each other (ancestors).

      As above, so below...

      Reflection of the skys to the earth and to its peoples

  4. Jan 2024
    1. My guess is that it was unintentional and the result of sloppy note-taking practices that did not clearly mark original and borrowed ideas.

      Jillian Hess' guess for the origin of King's plagiarism.

      It's also possible that he came from a much more oral facing cultural upbringing rather than a dyed-in-the-wool academic one which focused on attribution.

  5. johnhalbrooks.substack.com johnhalbrooks.substack.com
    1. This image resonates with the earliest description of an English poet, which we find in Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People, completed in the year 731. Bede, a prolific monk and scholar from the monastery of Jarrow in Northumbria, provides an account of a certain Caedmon, an illiterate brother at the abbey at Whitby, who is visited by God and taught to sing beautiful poetry. Caedmon remains an oral poet, but his literate brothers write down his poetry for him.
    2. To illustrate this liminal space between the oral and the literate, here is an illustration from the Vespasian Psalter, a manuscript from the late eighth century, that depicts King David singing the Psalms: David is accompanying himself with a harp, and there are horn players and a couple of people apparently clapping along with the beat. But there are also two scribes behind him, who are writing down his song. Here we have a representation of a culture in a transitional stage between oral and literate transmission of poetry—the oral performance of a poem and the written transmission of the same poem are both present in the image.

  6. Dec 2023
  7. Nov 2023
  8. Oct 2023
    1. Take Alter's treatment of the cycle of stories in which the first two matriarchs, Sarah and Rebekah, conspire against elder sons for the benefit of younger ones. Sarah insists that Abraham drive Ishmael, his firstborn, and Ishmael's mother, Hagar, into the desert to die, to protect the inheritance of Sarah's son, Isaac. Rebekah tells her son Jacob to trick his father, the now elderly Isaac, into giving him a blessing rightfully owed to Esau, Jacob's ever-so-slightly older twin brother. The matriarchs' behavior is indefensible, yet God defends it. He instructs Abraham to do as Sarah says, and after Jacob takes flight from an enraged Esau God comes to Jacob in a dream, blesses him, and tells him that he, too, like Abraham and Isaac before him, will father a great nation.Alter doesn't try to explain away the paradox of a moral God sanctioning immoral acts. Instead he lets the Bible convey the seriousness of the problem. When Abraham balks at abandoning Ishmael and Hagar, God commands, "Whatever Sarah says to you, listen to her voice." Rebekah, while instructing Jacob on how to dress like Esau so as to steal his blessing, echoes God's phrase -- listen to my voice" -- not once but twice in an effort to reassure him. As we read on in Alter's translation, we realize that the word "voice" ("kol" in Hebrew) is one of his "key words," that if we could only manage to keep track of all the ways it is used it would unlock new worlds of meaning. In the story of Hagar and Ishmael, God's messenger will tell Hagar that God will save them because he has heard the voice of the crying boy. And the all but blind Isaac will recognize the sound of Jacob's voice, so that although his younger son stands before him with his arms covered in goatskin (to make them as hairy as Esau's), and has even put on his brother's clothes (to smell more like a hunter), Isaac nearly grasps the deceit being perpetrated against him.

      Something fascinating here with respect to orality and associative memory in ancient texts at the border of literacy.

      What do others have to say about the use of "key words" with respect to storytelling and orality with respect to associative memory.

      The highlighted portion is an interesting example.

      What do other examples look like? How common might they be? What ought we call them?

    1. More toward the notes in the video themselves (I'm more in media studies and far less conversant in theater studies): from my own zettelkasten on the live nature/immediacy of performance subject, I've seen how some older cultures (ancient Greeks and all sorts of Indigenous peoples, including modern Australian indigenous) use(d) their associative memories in ways we don't generally today, and as such would have been able to "re-live" performances which have occurred in the past without modern recording tools. Perhaps it's been explored previously, but if it's of interest to you and your current work or perhaps post-Ph.D., Lynne Kelly's Knowledge & Power in Prehistoric Societies: Orality, Memory and the Transmission of Culture (Cambridge, 2015) may be helpful along with the supporting works of Milman Parry, Albert Lord, and Walter J. Ong (esp. Orality and Literacy; Methuen, 1982). If you really want to spelunk this area, there are some additional explorations of these in the overlap of Frances Yates' (1966) discussion of memory theaters in Western culture.

      Robert Kanigel's "Hearing Homer's Song: The Brief Life and Big Idea of Milman Parry (Knopf, 2021), may provide a quick/fun (audiobook available) non-technical introduction into Milman's work on Homer for those who haven't come across it before and are interested in early performance techniques. It provides an intriguing and entertaining detective story on multiple fronts.

      As ever, thanks for sharing your notes and the fascinating references within them... 🗃❤

    1. During the establishment of the covenant between Yahweh and Israel, the people were commanded to destroy the sacred stones of the Canaanites, “You must demolish them and break their sacred stones (masseboth) to pieces” (Exodus 23:24).

      In neighboring cultures in which both have oral practices relating to massebah, one is not just destroying "sacred stones" to stamp out their religion, but it's also destroying their culture and cultural memory as well as likely their laws and other valuable memories for the function of their society.

      View this in light also of the people of Israel keeping their own sacred stones (Hosea 10:1) as well as the destruction of pillars dedicated to Baal in 2 Kings 18:4 and 2 Kings 23:14.

      (Link and) Compare this to the British fencing off the land in Australia and thereby destroying Songlines and access to them and the impact this had on Indigenous Australians.

      It's also somewhat similar to the colonialization activity of stamping out of Indigenous Americans and First Nations' language in North America, though the decimation of their language wasn't viewed in as reciprocal way as it might be viewed now. (Did colonizers of the time know about the tremendous damage of language destruction, or was it just a power over function?)

    2. Absalom set up a massebah for himself as a memorial for he said, “‘I have no son to keep my name in remembrance’; he called the massebah by his own name” (2 Samuel 18:18).

      Use of massebah for remembrance of a name...

      Potentially used for other factors? translation? context?

      See also: https://hypothes.is/a/oqgH4mx9Ee68_dMgihgD0A (Rachel's massebah in Genesis 35:19-20)

    3. Israel was forbidden to set up sacred stones, pillars: “you shall not set up a pillar (massebah), which the LORD your God hates” (Deuteronomy 16:22).

      Relationship to the first two commandments against worshiping other gods and the use of idols?

      How does this relate to the standing stone found in the room at Khirbet Qeiyafa from the time of David?

      Dates of this text with respect to Khirbet Keiyafa?

    4. When the people of Israel crossed the Jordan, Joshua commanded the people to set up twelve stones which were taken from the Jordan River as a memorial celebrating that defining moment in the life of Israel, the entrance of the people into the land God had promised to their ancestors (Joshua 4:20). The purpose of those memorial stones was to remind future generations of how the people “crossed the Jordan River on dry ground” (Joshua 4:22).

      Description of the arrangement? Circle? Further or suggested usage?

      Link to Genesis 28:18: https://hypothes.is/a/NF5p8Gx6Ee65Rg_J4tfaMQ

    5. When Jacob had a vision of God, he used a stone as a pillow, but after he woke up from his sleep, “he took the stone (ʼben) that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar (massebah) and poured oil on the top of it” (Genesis 28:18). That stone became a memorial of Jacob’s encounter with God.
    1. He proposes that an expert is an individual who has a great number of stories relevant to a given area and has these stories indexed so that he/she can tell a useful story at the right time.

      Roger Shank's definition of an expert

    1. Because these religions are old, though, and they’vebeen fiddled with, possibly, I feel some of the original keys from themasters have been lost.
  9. Sep 2023
    1. Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally's assistance.

      —Kenneth Burke. The Philosophy of Literary Form. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1941.

      via Doug Brent at https://kairos.technorhetoric.net/2.1/features/brent/burke.htm

    1. Hamacher, Duane, Patrick Nunn, Michelle Gantevoort, Rebe Taylor, Greg Lehman, Ka Hei Andrew Law, and Mel Miles. “The Archaeology of Orality: Dating Tasmanian Aboriginal Oral Traditions to the Late Pleistocene.” Journal of Archaeological Science, August 10, 2023, 45pp.

      Pre-print.

      See also: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305440323000997

      Annotation url: urn:x-pdf:d4ccd0952073ac59932f4638381e6b69

      Popular press coverage: https://www.unimelb.edu.au/newsroom/news/2023/august/tasmanian-aboriginal-oral-traditions-among-the-oldest-recorded-narratives

    2. This paper supports arguments that the longevity of orality can exceed ten millennia,providing critical information essential to the further development of theoretical frameworksregarding the archaeology of orality.
    1. Knight, Anna. “Tasmanian Aboriginal Oral Traditions among the Oldest Recorded Narratives.” News. University of Melbourne, August 14, 2023. https://www.unimelb.edu.au/newsroom/news/2023/august/tasmanian-aboriginal-oral-traditions-among-the-oldest-recorded-narratives.

      Popular press synopsis of journal article; see: https://hypothes.is/a/5qru3Fu7Ee62eZPHP6EAyw

    2. “Our research suggests that Palawa oral traditions accurately recall the flooding of the land bridge between Tasmania and the mainland – showing that oral traditions can be passed down more than 400 successive generations while maintaining historical accuracy.”
    1. I used to give oral examinations at St John's in Chicago and one of the one of the reasons why an oral examination is so much better than the written examination is the professor can never in a written examination say to the student what did you mean by these words 00:47:05 but in oral examination a student often repeats words he's read in the book and you're saying now Mr Jones what you just said is exactly what Hobbs said or what Darwin or 00:47:18 lock said now tell me in your own words what Locke or Hobbes or Darwin meant and then the student has remembered the words perfectly can't tell you in his own words no and you know he has he has noticed of the sentence right he's just 00:47:30 memorized or sometimes he actually can do it and then you say that's very good Mr Jones but now give me a concrete example of it yeah and he failed to do that guy those are the two tests I've always used to be sure the student really grasps the meaning of the key 00:47:42 sentence

      Mortimer Adler gave oral examinations at St. Johns in which he would often ask a student to restate the ideas of writers in their own words and then ask for a concrete example of that idea. Being able to do these two things is a solid way of indicating that one fully understands an idea.

      Adler and Van Doren querying each other demonstrate this once or twice in the video.

      related: - https://hypothes.is/a/rh1M5vdEEeut4pOOF7OYNA - https://hypothes.is/a/iV5MwjivEe23zyebtBagfw

      Where does this method sit with respect to the Feynman Technique? Does this appear in the 1940 edition of Adler's book and thus predate it all?

    1. Where are the synoptic studies of mythology? (In the way the Bible has been pulled apart.) Naturally we're missing lots of versions to be able to compare, but synoptic studies of Greek and Roman mythology would potentially have some interesting things to say about the oral traditions of Jesus which passed down his story before they were written down decades (or more) following his death.

    1. Your success in reading it is determined by the extent to which you receive everything the writer intended to com­municate.

      The difficult thing to pick apart here is the writer's intention and the reader's reception and base of knowledge.

      In particular a lot of imaginative literature is based on having a common level of shared context to get a potentially wider set of references and implied meanings which are almost never apparent in a surface reading. As a result literature may use phrases from other unmentioned sources which the author has read/knows, but which the reader is unaware. Those who read Western literature without any grounding in the stories within the Bible will often obviously be left out of the conversation which is happening, but which they won't know exists.

      Indigenous knowledge bases have this same feature despite the fact that they're based on orality instead of literacy.

  10. Aug 2023
    1. Behind these tariff walls the professors who hadmany of the great writers and much of the liberal arts intheir charge contentedly sat, oblivious of the fact that theywere depriving the rising generation of an important part oftheir cultural heritage and the training needed to understandit, and oblivious also of the fact that they were deprivingthemselves of the reason for their existence.

      It can be easy to deprive a generation of important pieces of their cultural heritage by omitting any focus on it.

      • shiboleth
      • philology
      • disinterest
      • overwhelm

      Compare the loss of classical education and cultural heritage by "internal decay" as described by Hutchins in the early 1900s and the forced loss of cultural heritage of Indigenous Americans by the U.S. Government in roughly the same period by re-education and stamping out Indigenous language.

      Certainly one was loss through lack of exposure, but the other was outright erasure due to the natures of orality and literacy.

    1. BookmarkTypes and uses of PKM

      Almost every well known writer/composer/creative throughout history had some sort of note taking or knowledge system of one sort or another (florilegium, commonplace books, notebooks, diaries, journals, zettelkasten, waste books, mnemonic techniques, etc.), which would put them into your "active" category. I think you'd be hard put to come up with evidence of a "sudden" emergence of an "active" PKM system beyond the choice of individual users to actively do something with their collections or not.

      If you want to go more distant than Eminem, try looking closely at Ramon Llull's practice in the 11th century, or Homer in the c. 8th century BCE. Or to go much, much farther back, there's solid evidence that indigenous peoples in Australia had what you call both passive and active PKM systems as far back as 65,000 years ago. These are still in use today. Naturally these were not written, but used what anthropologists call orality. (See Walter Ong, Milman Parry, Lynne Kelly, Margo Neale, Duane Hamacher, et al.)

  11. Jul 2023
    1. They now have the chance to understandthemselves through understanding their tradition.

      It feels odd that people wouldn't understand their own traditions, but it obviously happens. Information overload can obviously heavily afflict societies toward forgetting their traditions and the formation of new traditions, particularly in non-oral traditions which focus more on written texts which can more easily be ignored (not read) and then later replaced with seemingly newer traditions.

      Take for example the resurgence of note taking ideas circa 2014-2020 which completely disregarded the prior histories, particularly in lieu of new technologies for doing them.

      As a means of focusing on Western Culture, the editors here have highlighted some of the most important thoughts for encapsulating and influencing their current and future cultures.

      How do oral traditions embrace the idea of the "Great Conversation"?

  12. Jun 2023
    1. Gallagher, John. Review of As the Priest Said to the Nun, by Carla Roth. London Review of Books, June 1, 2023. https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v45/n11/john-gallagher/as-the-priest-said-to-the-nun.

    2. Roth asks ‘how might our own reading of early modern sources change if we had access to the oral spheres within which they were embedded and which framed their reception?’

      The level of orality in societies can radically change our perceptions of their histories, though quite often this material is missing in our evaluations.

    3. Commentators insisted that gossip was the province of women. Originally meaning ‘godparent’, ‘gossip’ shifted its meaning across the early modern period. It became commonplace to accuse women of gossiping and of being gossips, and a set of meanings crystallised around the word that reflected men’s anxiety about what women were saying about them behind their backs.
    4. For Rütiner and those around him, a story that could be traced back through a chain of identifiable and reliable people was much more believable, even if it recounted events happening far away, than a printed pamphlet or book that couldn’t be subjected to the same kind of ‘source criticism’.
  13. Feb 2023
    1. He tried to show that this‘favorite topic’ of his, ‘insistence on exactness in chronological dates’, amounted tomore than a trifling (Deutsch, 1915, 1905a). Deutsch compared such historical accuracyto that of a bookkeeper who might recall his ledger by memory. ‘People would look uponsuch an achievement’, he reflected, ‘as a freak, harmless, but of no particular value, infact rather a waste of mental energy’ (Deutsch, 1916). However, he sought to show thatthese details mattered, no different from how ‘a difference in a ledger of one centremains just as grievous as if it were a matter of $100,000’ (Deutsch, 1904a: 3).

      Interesting statement about how much memory matters, though it's missing some gravitas somehow.

      Is there more in the original source?

    1. Hesiod’s depictionof humans in the myth of Prometheus and Pandora. We consider theimplications of this myth for the Greek view of society and particularly of

      women and gender roles.

      If my perception of mythology and orality is correct, can we look at Indigenous stories, myth, and knowledge and draw parallels from their knowledge about women and gender to similar stories in the Western canon which have lost linkage to their narratives? What would this show us potentially about Western mythology and gender studies?

    2. the birth of Athena from his head and suggests possibleinterpretations of these episodes

      I'll bet there's no mention that this is useful because it's an incredibly memorable image!

    1. Proust writes, with only the faintest irony, “Real life, life at last laid bare and illuminated—the only life in consequence which can be said to be really lived—is literature.”

      source? Swann's Way?

      Definitely from a literacy forward perspective!

    1. Some dance to rememberSome dance to forget

      —Eagles, Hotel California, track 1 on the album Hotel California<br /> https://genius.com/Eagles-hotel-california-lyrics

      In many oral societies, dance is a common tool for memory in much the same way that we might pick up a pen and write. Though written in and performed in one of the most literate societies in human history, one might replace "dance" in Hotel California with other forms like writing: "Some write to remember; Some write to forget".

      The first half might be interpreted by the majority as a tautology, but others write in their diaries as a means to purge their memories and let go of them. Similarly the idea of "morning pages" are designed to allow one to purge their surface thoughts so that they can clear their mind for other work: writing to forget.


      (Without hearing this song this morning, I kept (diffuse) thinking about the two line endings "...to remember / ...to forget" until I made the connection to the lyrics and then immediately bridged this to orality.)

  14. Jan 2023
    1. https://www.complexityexplorer.org/courses/162-foundations-applications-of-humanities-analytics/segments/15630

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwkRfN-7UWI


      Seven Principles of Data Feminism

      • Examine power
      • Challenge power
      • Rethink binaries and hierarchies
      • Elevate emotion an embodiment
      • Embrace pluralism
      • Consider context
      • Make labor visible

      Abolitionist movement

      There are some interesting analogies to be drawn between the abolitionist movement in the 1800s and modern day movements like abolition of police and racial justice, etc.


      Topic modeling - What would topic modeling look like for corpuses of commonplace books? Over time?


      wrt article: Soni, Sandeep, Lauren F. Klein, and Jacob Eisenstein. “Abolitionist Networks: Modeling Language Change in Nineteenth-Century Activist Newspapers.” Journal of Cultural Analytics 6, no. 1 (January 18, 2021). https://doi.org/10.22148/001c.18841. - Brings to mind the difference in power and invisible labor between literate societies and oral societies. It's easier to erase oral cultures with the overwhelm available to literate cultures because the former are harder to see.

      How to find unbiased datasets to study these?


      aspirational abolitionism driven by African Americans in the 1800s over and above (basic) abolitionism

    1. The hypothesis of linguistic relativity, also known as the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis /səˌpɪər ˈwɔːrf/, the Whorf hypothesis, or Whorfianism, is a principle suggesting that the structure of a language influences its speakers' worldview or cognition, and thus people's perceptions are relative to their spoken language.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistic_relativity


      link to Toki Pona as a conlang


      Link to https://hypothes.is/a/6Znx6MiMEeu3ljcVBsKNOw We shape our tools and thereafter they shape us.

    1. Bacon, Bennett, Azadeh Khatiri, James Palmer, Tony Freeth, Paul Pettitt, and Robert Kentridge. “An Upper Palaeolithic Proto-Writing System and Phenological Calendar.” Cambridge Archaeological Journal, January 5, 2023, 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0959774322000415.

      https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/cambridge-archaeological-journal/article/an-upper-palaeolithic-protowriting-system-and-phenological-calendar/6F2AD8A705888F2226FE857840B4FE19

      There may be questions as to whether or not this represents written language, but, if true, this certainly represents one of the oldest examples of annotation in human history!

      cc: @remikalir

    2. A visual system such as this allowed observations to be accumulated with less unreliability than orally, and hence provided a degree of estimation of annual variability of these phenomena, and presumably to be embedded into wider artistic and behavioural and mythic contexts.

      A terrifically bold assertion, obviously made by a group overwhelmed by literacy.

      Those with better grounding in oral methods would know better.

    3. The requirement, in ordinal representations of number, that the ‘special’ symbol at the ordinal position of the value being represented must be distinct from all other symbols in a sequence clearly invites a meaning to be associated with the special symbol. With such, there was no longer the need for a purely oral explanation of the system, as all of its components were self-contained to the point of being readable many thousands of years later.
  15. Dec 2022
    1. the local healer, or wise man or woman, whowould have particular knowledge of local plants and herbalremedies. This knowledge was oral, however, and its practitioners,for the most part, were illiterate.

      Example of an implicit bias against orality out of ignorance

    2. With medicine, the story was slightly different because of theconstant and urgent need for it. Medical knowledge was alwaysuseful, always relevant, so books on medicine were constantly indemand, and would have been available in the majority of libraries inlate antiquity.

      Transmission of medical knowledge has a more immediate and direct application for people; as a result it may tend to be transmitted more faithfully either in written or oral forms. The written record of medical scrolls from antiquity were in constant demand.

    1. Eno was moving toward a music that changed your perception of the space around you. Geography could be as memorable as melody.

      ways to link this to oral traditions in music and memory?!?

  16. Nov 2022
    1. Second, reading, if it is active, is thinking, and thinking tendsto express itself in words, spoken or written. The person whosays he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually doesnot know what he thinks.

      Active reading is thinking, and thinking requires expression which can come in many forms including both spoken and written ones.


      I like that he acknowledges that expression (and thus thinking) can be done in both oral or written forms.

    1. For example, I recently read about how Lin-Manuel Miranda tells the same story dozens of times to the same person because he forgets who he already told. Once, when he finished telling his collaborator Tommy Kail a story, Kail said, “That happened to me. I told you that.” They both laughed then Kail added, “That’s why you’re cut out for theater, because you’ll tell it like it’s the first time.” So in the margin I wrote, LIKE IT’S THE FIRST TIME:

      This is interesting for itself.

      (reference: Sicker in the Head)


      It's also interesting because it's an example of regular rehearsal that actors, comedians, storytellers, performers and even salespeople often do to slowly hone and improve their performance or pitch. Each retelling and the response it gives provides subtle hints and clues as to how to improve the story or performance on the next go round, or at least until the thing is both perfected and comes out the same way every time.

    1. The Zettelkasten Method is based on this experience: One cannot think without writing - at least not in demanding contexts that anticipate selective access to memory. This also means: without notching differences one cannot think.

      Sönke Ahrens roughly quoted this passage or one like it (check the reference), but I criticized it for not being inclusive of indigenous people or oral methods. Luhmann, however, went further and was at least passively more inclusive by saying that one needs to be able to "notch differences" to be able to think, and this is a much better framing.

  17. Oct 2022
    1. ‘Nothing should be taught to theyoung...unless it is not only permitted, but actually demanded by their age andmental strength.’

      —Comenius (1592-1670) in Didactica magna

      This is broadly similar to the spirit of much of Indigenous pedagogy, particularly in societies in which staged oral learning was a privilege.

    2. The only reason we are better at thinking and doing thingsnow—the only reason that Aristotle, Michelangelo, and Einstein blazed into theintellectual firmament in the last couple of thousand years and not 30,000 yearsago—is that we accumulate knowledge and pass ideas and information from onegeneration to the next.

      Is he falling trap to the lure of literacy as the only means of crystallizing knowledge here? He starts with a literate Aristotle and specifically mentions 30,000 years ago instead of oral cultures which we know could do this sort of work orally almost 65,000 years ago.

    1. I can't believe I read a tweet saying retrieval practice must be written. What about ...<br><br>- MFL?<br>- EYFS/KS1?<br>- Practical subjects?<br>- Cold calling?<br>- Students with SEND?<br>- EAL learners?<br>- Oracy?<br>- Think, pair & share?<br>- Flashcards?<br><br>Writing is so important, as is verbal recall.

      — Kate Jones (@KateJones_teach) September 26, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
    1. method," and the method known variously as the "see-say,""look-say," "look-and-say," or "word method." Doubtless experiments are now being undertaken in methods and approaches that differ from all of these. It is perhaps too earlyto tell whether any of these is the long-sought panacea forall reading ills.

      Hence, researchers are very active at the present time, and their work has resulted in numerous new approaches to reading instruction. Among the more important new programs are the so-called eclectic approach, the individualized reading approach, the language-experience approach, the various approaches based on linguistic principles, and others based more or less closely on some kind of programmed instruction. In addition, new mediums such as the Initial Teaching Alphabet ( i.t.a. ) have been employed, and sometimes these involve new methods as well. Still other devices and programs are the "total immersion method," the "foreign-language-school

      Have we ultimately come to the conclusion that neurodiversity means there is no one-size-fits all solution? Should we also be placing some focus on orality and memory methods to allow those to flourish as well? Where is the literature on "orality pedagogy"? Is it a thing? It should be...

    2. This effort, which Americans have supported almostfrom the beginning of the national existence and which is oneof the cornerstones of our democratic way of life, has hadremarkable results.

      Read in juxtaposition with the knowledge of orality and along with Graeber & Wengrow's The Dawn of Everything, one could certainly argue that there are other ways of knowing which provide potentially better pathways to democracy.

      Further, the simple fact of basic literacy doesn't necessarily encourage democracy. Take a look at the January 6th (2021) insurrectionists who were likely broadly literate, but who acted more like a damaged oral society and actively subverted democracy.

      Literacy plus "other things" are certainly necessary for democracy. How do we define these other things, and then once we have, is literacy still part of the equation for democracy?

    3. The first is the continuing effort of the United States to educate all of its citizens,which means, of course, at a minimum, to make them allliterate.

      Depending on how it is done and the culture in which it is done, forcing literacy on a people, even when well-intentioned can be a devastating and colonialist act.

    4. The Activity and Art of Reading 15 If you ask a living teacher a question, he will probably answer you. If you are puzzled by what he says, you can save yourself the trouble of thinking by asking him what he means. If, however, you ask a book a question, you must answer it yourself.

      What effect might this have on the learning process of purely oral cultures?

    1. There was no awareness that any kind of coherent history of the periods before the development of writing was possible at all. In the words of the Danish scholar Rasmus Nyerup (1759–1829): Everything which has come down to us from heathen-dom is wrapped in a thick fog; it belongs to a space of time which we cannot measure. We know that it is older than Christendom, but whether by a couple of years or a couple of centuries, or even by more than a millennium, we can do no more than guess.

      This is particularly interesting in light of the research of Charles Darwin and Charles Lyell who within about 50 years dramatically changed the viewpoint of history.


      Orality has something to say about this now too...

    1. And yet that is not " r e a l l y " how the project arose.What really happened is that the idea and the plan cameout o f my files; for all projects with me begin and end withthem, and books are simply organized releases from thecontinuous work that goes into them.

      Surely by "files" he means his written notes and ideas which he has filed away?

      Thus articles and books are agglomerations of ideas within notes (or perhaps one's retained memory, as best as that might be done) which are then broken off from them and released to a wider readership.

  18. Sep 2022
    1. In combination with SCA, CERICoffers freedom from the transmission model of learning, where theprofessor lectures and the students regurgitate. SCA can help buildlearning communities that increase students’ agency and power inconstructing knowledge, realizing something closer to a constructivistlearning ideal. Thus, SCA generates a unique opportunity to makeclassrooms more equitable by subverting the historicallymarginalizing higher education practices centered on the professor.

      Here's some justification for the prior statement on equity, but it comes after instead of before. (see: https://hypothes.is/a/SHEFJjM6Ee2Gru-y0d_1lg)

      While there is some foundation to the claim given, it would need more support. The sage on the stage may be becoming outmoded with other potential models, but removing it altogether does remove some pieces which may help to support neurodiverse learners who work better via oral transmission rather than using literate modes (eg. dyslexia).

      Who is to say that it's "just" sage on the stage lecturing and regurgitation? Why couldn't these same analytical practices be aimed at lectures, interviews, or other oral modes of presentation which will occur during thesis research? (Think anthropology and sociology research which may have much more significant oral aspects.)

      Certainly some of these methods can create new levels of agency on the part of the learner/researcher. Has anyone designed experiments to measure this sort of agency growth?

    1. California Could Mandate Kindergarten— What’s This Mean For School Districts And Childcare Providers?A bill that would create a mandatory kindergarten program in California has passed the legislature and is now heading to governor Gavin Newsom’s office for a final decision. The legislation, Senate Bill 70, would require children to complete one year of kindergarten before they’re admitted to the first grade. This comes as districts in California struggle with enrollment, having been a major issue during the pandemic. But if this legislation were to be signed by Governor Newsom, how would it affect teachers, the child care industry, and the children themselves.Today on AirTalk, we discuss the bill and it support among public schools with Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) superintendent Alberto Carvalho and Justine Flores, licensed childcare provider in Los Angeles and a negotiation representative for Child Care Providers United.

      Timestamps 19:11 - 35:20

      CA Senate Bill 488 2021; signed, in process,

      Orton-Gillingham method (procedure/process) but can be implemented differently. Rigorous and works. Over 100 years old.

      Wilson program uses pieces of OG. What's this? Not enough detail here.

      Dyslexia training will be built into some parts of credentialling programs.

      Each child is different.

      This requires context knowledge on the part of the teacher and then a large tool bag of methods to help the widest variety of those differences.

      In the box programs don't work because children are not one size fits all.

      Magic wand ? What would you want?

      Madhuri would like to have: - rigorous teaching in early grades - if we can teach structured literacy following a specific scope in sequence most simple to most complex - teaching with same familiar patterns over and over - cumulative (builds on itself) - multisensory - explicit - Strong transitional kindergarten through grade 3 instruction

      Prevention trumps intervention.

      Otherwise you're feeding into the school to prison pipeline.

      Madhuri's call for teaching that is structured, cumulative, multisensory, and explicit sounds a lot like what I would imagine orality-based instruction looks like as well. The structure there particularly makes it easier to add pieces later on in a way that literacy doesn't necessarily.

  19. Aug 2022
    1. At the time he was selling, Jay-Z was also coming up with rhymes. He normally wrote down his material in a green notebook he carried around with him — but he never took the notebook with him on the streets, he says. "I would run into the corner store, the bodega, and just grab a paper bag or buy juice — anything just to get a paper bag," he says. "And I'd write the words on the paper bag and stuff these ideas in my pocket until I got back. Then I would transfer them into the notebook. As I got further and further away from home and my notebook, I had to memorize these rhymes — longer and longer and longer. ... By the time I got to record my first album, I was 26, I didn't need pen or paper — my memory had been trained just to listen to a song, think of the words, and lay them to tape." Since his first album, he says, he's never written down any of his lyrics. "I've lost plenty of material," he says. "It's not the best way. I wouldn't advise it to anyone. I've lost a couple albums' worth of great material. ... Think about when you can't remember a word and it drives you crazy. So imagine forgetting an entire rhyme. 'What's that? I said I was the greatest something?' "

      In his youth, while selling drugs on the side, Jay-Z would write down material for lyrics into a green notebook. He never took the notebook around with him on the streets, but instead would buy anything at a corner store just for the paper bags as writing material. He would write the words onto these paper bags and stuff them into his pockets (wearable Zettelkasten anyone? or maybe Zetteltasche?) When he got home, in long standing waste book tradition, he would transfer the words to his notebook.

      Jay-Z has said he hasn't written down any lyrics since his first album, but warns, "I've lost plenty of material. It's not the best way. I wouldn't advise it to anyone. I've lost a couple albums' worth of great material."

      https://ondemand.npr.org/anon.npr-mp3/npr/fa/2010/11/20101116_fa_01.mp3

      Link to: https://hypothes.is/a/T3Z38uDUEeuFcPu2U_w_zA (Jonathan Edwards' zettelmantle)

    1. Through my long immersion as a student-practitioner in the Tibetan Buddhist knowledge system I am familiar with this process of secrecy and deeper meaning. Unlike the Indigenous Knowledge system, Tibetan Buddhism has a rich textual tradition. But it has also kept alive a strong oral tradition, of knowledge passed by a Buddhist master who is recognised as having not only learning but also spiritual realisation, to his/her student. The teachers talk of the outer, inner and secret meaning, and in terms of the provisional versus the absolute meaning gained through realisation.
    2. Margo Neale (featured at right) suggests that the Songlines project can be conceived as a Third Archive, a bridge between the First Archive of Indigenous knowledges, kept alive in the songlines that crisscross Australia, and the Second Archive, that of the Western Knowledge system, imported into Australia through colonisation and settlement and transmitted through our education systems and institutions of government, business and civil society.
    1. The network of trails functions as a shared external memory for the ant colony.

      Just as a trail of pheromones serves the function of a shared external memory for an ant colony, annotations can create a set of associative trails which serve as an external memory for a broader human collective memory. Further songlines and other orality based memory methods form a shared, but individually stored internal collective memory for those who use and practice them.

      Vestiges of this human practice can be seen in modern society with the use and spread of cultural memes. People are incredibly good at seeing and recognizing memes and what they communicate and spreading them because they've evolved to function this way since the dawn of humanity.

    1. Come back and read these particular texts, but these look interesting with respect to my work on orality, early "religion", secrecy, and information spread:<br /> - Ancient practices removed from their lineage lose their meaning - In spiritual practice, secrecy can be helpful but is not always necessary

      timestamp

    1. https://twitter.com/_35millimetre/status/1556586974928068611

      Turns out the world’s greatest drawing of a frog was done in 1790, by Itō Jakuchu pic.twitter.com/GttSfHA7Kl

      — Charlie (@_35millimetre) August 8, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

      Makes me want to revisit some of the history of early haiku and frog references. What was the literacy level within Japanese culture at this time? Were there more methods entwining elements of orality and memory into the popular culture?

    1. I’d be interested in hearing more about the ways oral cultures did their thinking, if you have resources on that handy. Otherwise if you recall your source for that could you pass it on?

      Below are some sources to give you a start on orality. I've arranged them in a suggested watching/reading order with some introductory material before more technical sources which will give you jumping off points for further research.

      • Modern Memory, Ancient Methods. TEDxMelbourne. Melbourne, Australia, 2018. https://www.ted.com/talks/lynne_kelly_modern_memory_ancient_methods.
      • Kelly, Lynne. The Memory Code. Allen & Unwin, 2016.
      • Kelly, Lynne. Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies: Orality, Memory and the Transmission of Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107444973.
      • Ong, Walter J. Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word. Taylor & Francis, 2007.
      • Parry, Milman, and Adam Parry. The Making of Homeric Verse: The Collected Papers of Milman Parry. Oxford University Press, 1971.
      • Neale, Margo, and Lynne Kelly. Songlines: The Power and Promise. First Knowledges, 1.0. Thames & Hudson, 2020.
    1. My task...is, by the power of the written word, to makeyou hear, to make you feel – it is, before all, to makeyou see. Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)

      Direct source?

      This could be interesting with respect to what it says to me about seeing things within one's mind's eye with respect to orality.

    2. ! Doing the work of linkingideas together, whether in a digital or analog system,seems to be the only sure key to creating connections thatwill allow you to return in the future and follow the sametrail of ideas.

      A nod to Vannevar Bush's phrase "associative trails" or a throwback to the much older cultural ideas of memory and orality in the vein of songlines?

      link to: - https://hypothes.is/a/bMy1FBM8Ee2K_nOEDpfB_A

  20. Jul 2022
    1. The effortinvolved in writing a note in their own words, whichinstructional designers like to call a “desirable difficulty”helps shift the idea from short-term to long-termmemory (this is the same reason many note-makers areshifting back to hand-writing on cards rather thandepending on automated apps)

      The work of writing things down or transforming them into pictures, diagrams, song, art, other creates a context shift in the material which requires greater engagement within the brain and may help to improve understanding.


      Compare/contrast the ideas of context shifting with desirable difficulty.


      Note that this use of "context shifting" (within the pedagogy space) is dramatically different to that used by people like Cal Newport and others (within the productivity space).

    2. Thetechniques and tools we’re going to discuss in this sectionon note-making are focused mostly on texts, but they canbe applied to ideas that come to you from discussion,listening to lectures, experiment, or life experience.

      This might also include other forms of art including song and dance.

      Link this to: - choreography notation (@remikalir's sister in ballet) - Caleb Deschanel's cinematography notation which he likened to musical notation

    3. While it maybe possible to talk without thinking, it is probably moredifficult to write without thinking.

      Has talking without thinking become worse with the advent of literacy and writing?

    4. writing is thinking

      Talking, like writing, is also a form of thinking, but without a lot of work it doesn't have the instantaneous "memory" built into the process.

      "Let's talk this out..."

      Link to: - https://hypothes.is/a/5Ct1LJqTEeyewcuZMx620Q<br /> - https://hypothes.is/a/xvqbambjEey2CKNBjNDhFg

    1. For example, in the Phaedrus, one of Plato’s dialogues from the 4th century BCE, Socrates relates the myth of the king Thamus and the god Theuth. Theuth was the inventor of letters — the first technology of thinking!

      Another of the abounding examples of people thinking that writing and literacy are the first technology of thinking.

    1. https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1547390915689566211.html via https://twitter.com/nicolas_gatien/status/1547390946156969984

      Nicolas, I broadly agree with you that many of these factors of reading and writing for understanding and retention are at play and the research in memory and spaced repetition underlines a lot of this. However in practice, one needs to be revisiting and actively using their notes for some particular project to remember them better. The card search may help to create both visual and physical paths that assist in memory too.

      Reliance solely on a physical zettelkasten however may not be enough without active use over time, particularly for the majority of users. It's unlikely that all or even many may undertake this long term practice. Saying that this is either the "best", "optimum", or "only" way would be disingenuous to the diversity of learners and thinkers.

      Those who want to add additional strength to these effects might also use mnemonic methods from indigenous cultures that rely on primary orality. These could include color, images, doodles (drolleries anyone?), or other associative methods, many of which could be easily built into an (antinet) zettelkasten. Lynne Kelly's work in this area can be highly illuminating. For pure practical application and diversity of potential methods, I recommend her book Memory Craft https://amzn.to/3zdqqGp, but she's got much more academic and in depth work that is highly illustrative.

      With this background on orality and memory in mind we might all broadly view wood and stone circles (Stonehenge), menhir, standing stones, songlines, and other mnemonic devices in the archaeological and sociological records as zettelkasten which one keeps entirely in their memory rather than writing them down. We might also consider, based on this and the historical record concerning Druids and their association with trees that the trees served a zettelkasten-like function for those ancient societies. This continues to extend to lots of other cultural and societal practices throughout history. Knowledge from Duane Hamacher et al's book The First Astronomers and Karlie Noone and Krystal De Napoli's Astronomy: Sky Country will underline these theories and practices in modern indigenous settings.

    1. This perspective has been called an “emblematic worldview”; it is clearly visible in the iconography ofmedieval and Renaissance art, for example. Plants and animals are not merely specimens, as in modernscience; they represent a huge raft of associated things and ideas.

      Medieval culture had imbued its perspective of the natural world with a variety of emblematic associations. Plants and animals were not simply specimens or organisms in the world but were emblematic representations of ideas which were also associated with them.

      example: peacock / pride

      Did this perspective draw from some of the older possibly pagan forms of orality and mnemonics? Or were the potential associations simply natural ones which (re-?)grew either historically or as the result of the use of the art of memory from antiquity?

    1. most people need to talk out an idea in order to think about it2.

      D. J. Levitin, The organized mind: thinking straight in the age of information overload. New York, N.Y: Dutton, 2014. #books/wanttoread

      A general truism in my experience, but I'm curious what else Levitin has to say on this subject.

    1. Mander, R., Salomon, G. and Wong, Y. A PileMetaphor for Supporting Casual Organisationof Information. Proceedings of Human Factorsin Computing Systems CHI’92, pp 627-634,1992.

      The quote from this paper references Mander 1992:

      It seems that knowledge workers use physical space, such as desks or floors, as a temporary holding pattern for inputs and ideas which they cannot yet categorise or even decide how they might use [12].

      leads me to believe that the original paper has information which supports office workers using their physical environments as thinking and memory spaces much as indigenous peoples have for their knowledge management systems using orality and memory.

    2. Many knowledge workers have extremely cluttereddesks and floors and yet are seriously disrupted bychanges made to this apparent “muddle” or byneeding to move offices regularly. This supportsearlier studies of otllce work [10, 11]. It seems thatthis apparent “muddle” plays a number of importantroles for them in their work:-

      For scholars of orality, the value of the messiness in many knowledge workers' work spaces is probably not surprising. It's likely that these workers are using their local environment as oral cultures have since time immemorial. They're creating physical songlines or memory palaces in their local environment to which they're spatially attaching memories of the work they're doing, performing, or need to perform. This allows them to offload some of their memory work, storage, and retention to items in their physical space.

    3. Unfortunately, many corporate software programsaim to level or standardise the differences betweenindividual workers. In supporting knowledgeworkers, we should be careful to provide tools whichenable diversification of individuals’ outputs.Word-processors satisfi this criterion; tools whichembed a model of a knowledge worker’s task in thesoftware do not.

      Tools which allow for flexibility and creativity are better for knowledge workers than those which attempt to crystalize their tasks into ruts. This may tend to force the outputs in a programmatic way and thereby dramatically decrease the potential for innovative outputs. If the tools force the automation of thought without a concurrent increase in creativity then one may as well rely on manual labor for their thinking.


      This may be one of the major flaws of tools for thought in the educational technology space. They often attempt to facilitate the delivery of education in an automated way which dramatically decreases the creativity of the students and the value of the overall outputs. While attempting to automate education may suit the needs of institutions which are delivering the education, particularly with respect to the overall cost of delivery, the automation itself is dramatically at odds with the desire to expand upon ideas and continue innovation for all participants involved. Students also require diverse modes of input (seen/heard) as well as internal processing followed by subsequent outputs (written/drawn/sculpted/painted, spoken/sung, movement/dance). Many teachers don't excel at providing all of these neurodiverse modes and most educational technology tools are even less flexible, thus requiring an even larger panoply of them (often not interoperable because of corporate siloing for competitive reasons) to provide reasonable replacements. Given their ultimate costs, providing a variety of these tools may only serve to increase the overall costs of delivering education or risk diminishing the overall quality. Educators and institutions not watching out for these traps will tend to serve only a small portion of their intended audiences, and even those may be served poorly as they only receive a limited variety of modalities of inputs and outputs. As an example Western cultures' overreliance on primary literacy modes is their Achilles' heel.


      Tools for thought should actively attempt to increase the potential solution spaces available to their users, while later still allowing for focusing of attention. How can we better allow for the divergence of ideas and later convergence? Better, how might we allow for regular and repeated cycles of divergence and convergence? Advanced zettelkasten note taking techniques (which also allow for drawing, visual, auditory and other modalities beyond just basic literacy) seem to allow for this sort of practice over long periods of time, particularly when coupled with outputs which are then published for public consumption and divergence/convergence cycles by others.

      This may also point out some of the stagnation allowed by social media whose primary modes is neither convergence nor divergence. While they allow for the transmission/communication portion, they primarily don't actively encourage their users to closely evaluate the transmitted ideas, internalize them, or ultimately expand upon them. Their primary mode is for maximizing on time of attention (including base emotions including excitement and fear) and the lowest levels of interaction and engagement (likes, retweets, short gut reaction commentary).

  21. Local file Local file
    1. 'I don't think it's anything—I mean, I don't think it was ever put to anyuse. That's what I like about it. It's a little chunk of history that they'veforgotten to alter. It's a message from a hundred years ago, if one knew howto read it.'

      Walter and Julia are examining a glass paperweight in George Orwell's 1984 without having context of what it is or for what it was used.

      This is the same sort of context collapse caused by distance in time and memory that archaeologists face when examining found objects.

      How does one pull out the meaning from such distant objects in an exegetical way? How can we more reliably rebuild or recreate lost contexts?

      Link to: - Stonehenge is a mnemonic device - mnemonic devices in archaeological contexts (Neolithic carved stone balls


      Some forms of orality-based methods and practices can be viewed as a method of "reading" physical objects.


      Ideograms are an evolution on the spectrum from orality to literacy.


      It seems odd to be pulling these sorts of insight out my prior experiences and reading while reading something so wholly "other". But isn't this just what "myths" in oral cultures actually accomplish? We link particular ideas to pieces of story, song, art, and dance so that they may be remembered. In this case Orwell's glass paperweight has now become a sort of "talking rock" for me. Certainly it isn't done in any sort of sense that Orwell would have expected, presumed, or even intended.

  22. Jun 2022
    1. "The implicit feel of where you are in a physical book turns out to be more important than we realized," says Abigail Sellen of Microsoft Research Cambridge in England and co-author of The Myth of the Paperless Office. "Only when you get an e-book do you start to miss it. I don't think e-book manufacturers have thought enough about how you might visualize where you are in a book."

      How might we design better digital reading interfaces that take advantage of a wider range of modes of thinking and reading?

      Certainly adding audio to the text helps to bring in benefits of orality, but what other axes are there besides the obvious spatial benefits?

    2. Instead of hiking the trail yourself, the trees, rocks and moss move past you in flashes with no trace of what came before and no way to see what lies ahead.

      Just as there are deficits like dyslexia in the literate world, are there those who have similar deficits relating to location in the oral world? What do these look like? What are they called specifically?

      There are definitely memory deficits withing cognitive neuropsychology. Is there a comprehensive list one could look at?

      Some people aren't as good at spatial orientation as others. Women are stereotyped as being less good at direction and direction finding.

    3. Both anecdotally and in published studies, people report that when trying to locate a particular piece of written information they often remember where in the text it appeared.

      How does location affect our reading? Is it similar to methods of location and memory within oral traditions?

    1. That is why building a Second Brain is a journey of personalgrowth. As your information environment changes, the way yourmind operates starts to be transformed.

      This also happens with the techniques of orality, but from an entirely different perspective. Again, these methods are totally invisible even to an expert on productivity and personal knowledge management.

      Not even a mention here of the ancient Greeks bemoaning the invention of literacy as papering over valuable memory.

    2. For most of history, humanity’s challenge was how to acquire scarceinformation. There was hardly any good information to be foundanywhere. It was locked up in difficult-to-reproduce manuscripts orstuck in the heads of scholars. Access to information was limited, butthat wasn’t a problem for most people. Their lives and livelihoodsdidn’t require much information. Their main contribution was theirphysical labor, not their ideas.

      This is an overly painful Western cultural viewpoint and totally erases orality and oral cultures from the discussion. We can and should do better.

    1. For Jerome Bruner, the place to begin is clear: “One starts somewhere—where the learner is.”

      One starts education with where the student is. But mustn't we also inventory what tools and attitudes the student brings? What tools beyond basic literacy do they have? (Usually we presume literacy, but rarely go beyond this and the lack of literacy is too often viewed as failure, particularly as students get older.) Do they have motion, orality, song, visualization, memory? How can we focus on also utilizing these tools and modalities for learning.

      Link to the idea that Donald Trump, a person who managed to function as a business owner and president of the United States, was less than literate, yet still managed to function in modern life as an example. In fact, perhaps his focus on oral modes of communication, and the blurrable lines in oral communicative meaning (see [[technobabble]]) was a major strength in his communication style as a means of rising to power?

      Just as the populace has lost non-literacy based learning and teaching techniques so that we now consider the illiterate dumb, stupid, or lesser than, Western culture has done this en masse for entire populations and cultures.

      Even well-meaning educators in the edtech space that are trying to now center care and well-being are completely missing this piece of the picture. There are much older and specifically non-literate teaching methods that we have lost in our educational toolbelts that would seem wholly odd and out of place in a modern college classroom. How can we center these "missing tools" as educational technology in a modern age? How might we frame Indigenous pedagogical methods as part of the emerging third archive?

      Link to: - educational article by Tyson Yunkaporta about medical school songlines - Scott Young article "You should pay for Tutors"


      aside on serendipity

      As I was writing this note I had a toaster pop up notification in my email client with the arrival of an email by Scott Young with the title "You should pay for Tutors" which prompted me to add a link to this note. It reminds me of a related idea that Indigenous cultures likely used information and knowledge transfer as a means of payment (Lynne Kelly, Knowledge and Power). I have commented previously on the serendipity of things like auto correct or sparks of ideas while reading as a means of interlinking knowledge, but I don't recall experiencing this sort of serendipity leading to combinatorial creativity as a means of linking ideas,

    2. From the classroom, to the street, to the Internet, Eric’s voice carried, and carried within it the possibility of a kind of education–amplified with digital technologies– that enables other human beings to become conscious, to become responsible, to learn.

      Sadly, we seem to have othered orality and cultural practices which don't fit into the Western literate cultural box. This prevents us from moving forward as a society and a diverse culture.

      In the 90's rap was culturally appropriated by some because of its perception as "cool" within the culture. Can this coolness be leveraged as a reintroduction of oral methods in our culture without the baggage of the appropriation? Can it be added to enhance the evolving third archive? As a legitimate teaching tool?

    3. listen deeply to Eric’s story

      Beyond Eric's words here, I'm struck by the fact that he's able to do this "feat" orally in a way that I certainly cannot. Perhaps he spent ages slowly building it up and writing it down in a literal fashion, but I suspect that part of it is not and that it is raw oral poetry in a way which requires culture and oral practice that I wholly lack, but wish I had.

      How can we better teach this?! Center this.

      Link to: - Eminem's stacking ammo

    1. It will be interesting to see where Eyler takes his scholarship post-COVID. I’ll be curious to learn how Eyler thinks of the intersection of learning science and teaching practices in an environment where face-to-face teaching is no longer the default.

      Face-to-face teaching and learning has been the majority default for nearly all of human existence. Obviously it was the case in oral cultures, and the tide has shifted a bit with the onset of literacy. However, with the advent of the Internet and the pressures of COVID-19, lots of learning has broken this mold.

      How can the affordances of literacy-only modalities be leveraged for online learning that doesn't include significant fact-to-face interaction? How might the zettelkasten method of understanding, sense-making, note taking, and idea generation be leveraged in this process?

    1. The second was “makedance pay for the dancers.” I’ve always been resentful of the fact that some of theso-called elite art forms can’t survive on their own without sponsorship andsubsidies. It bothers me that dance companies around the world are not-for-profitorganizations and that dancers, who are as devoted and disciplined as any NFL orNBA superstar, are at the low end of the entertainment industry’s income scale. Iwanted this Broadway-bound project not only to elevate serious dance in thecommercial arena but also to pay the dancers well. So I wrote my goals for theproject, “tell a story” and “make dance pay,” on two blue index cards and watchedthem float to the bottom of the Joel box.

      Given the importance of dance in oral cultures, what, why, and how has dance moved to be one of the seemingly lowest and least well paid art forms in modern society?

      How might modern dance regain its teaching and mnemonic status in our culture?

    2. The box makes me feel connected to a project. It is my soil. I feel this evenwhen I’ve back-burnered a project: I may have put the box away on a shelf, but Iknow it’s there. The project name on the box in bold black lettering is a constantreminder that I had an idea once and may come back to it very soon.

      Having a physical note taking system also stands as a physical reminder and representation of one's work and focus. It may be somewhat out of the way on a shelf, but it takes up space in a way that digital files and notes do not. This invites one into using and maintaining it.


      Link to - tying a string on one's finger as a reminder - method of loci - orality

    1. “So I’m supposed to ask the Lakota Language Consortium if I can use my own Lakota language,” Taken Alive asked in one of many TikTok posts that would come to define his social media presence. 

      Based on some beyond the average knowledge of Indigenous cultures, I'm reading some additional context into this statement that is unlikely to be seen or understood by those with Western-only cultural backgrounds who view things from an ownership and capitalistic perspective.

      There's a stronger sense of identity and ownership of language and knowledge within oral traditions than can be understood by Westerners who didn't grow up with it.

      He obviously feels like we're stealing from him all over again. We need better rules and shared definitions between Indigenous peoples and non before embarking on these sorts of projects.

    2. But the copyright on the materials still gives the organization control over how the information is used, which is what some tribal leaders find objectionable.

      Oral cultures treat information dramatically different than literate cultures, and particularly Western literate cultures within capitalism-based economies.

  23. May 2022
    1. a constellation already described in 1805 by Heinrich von Kleist in his fascinat-ing analysis of the “Midwifery of Thought”: “If you want to know something and cannotfind it through meditation, I advise you, my dear, clever friend, to speak about it withthe next acquaintance who bumps into you.” 43 The positive tension that such a conversa-tion immediately elicits through the expectations of the Other obliges one to producenew thought in the conversation. The idea develops during speech. There, the sheeravailability of such a counterpart, who must do nothing further (i.e., offer additionalstimulus through keen contradiction of the speaker) is already enough; “There is a specialsource of excitement, for him who speaks, in the human face across from him; and agaze which already announces a half-expressed thought to be understood often givesexpression to the entire other half.”44
      1. Heinrich von Kleist, “Ü ber die allm ä hliche Verfertigung der Gedanken beim Reden,” in Sämtliche Werke und Briefe. Zweiter Band, ed. Helmut Sembdner (M ü nchen: dtv, 1805/2001), 319 – 324, at 319.
      2. Ibid., 320.

      in 1805 Heinrich von Kleist noted that one can use conversation with another person, even when that person is silent, to come up with solutions or ideas they may not have done on their own.

      This phenomena is borne out in modern practices like the so-called "rubber duck debugging", where a programmer can talk to any imagined listener, often framed as a rubber duck sitting on their desk, and talk through the problem in their code. Invariably, talking through all the steps of the problem will often result in the person realizing what the problem is and allow them to fix it.

      This method of verbal "conversation" obviously was a tool which indigenous oral cultures frequently used despite the fact that they didn't have literacy as a tool to fall back on.

    1. Every bit of new information fills in the blanks of a time that has long since passed out of living memory.

      Our written records have increased incalculably because our living memory doesn't serve us or our society or culture the way it previously did in pre-literate times. The erasure of cruelties and tyrrany is all to easy when we rely only on literacy, particularly when book banning and erasure can easily become the norm.

    1. knowledgebegins with the simple, time-honored practice of taking notes

      Definite bias for literacy here.

    2. It’s time for us to upgrade our Paleolithic memory

      I'm not a fan of digs at the idea of our "Paleolithic memory", particularly as there is some reasonable evidence that oral memory methods in the Paleolithic are probably vastly superior to those "modern" humans are using now.

      Cross reference: Kelly, Lynne. Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies: Orality, Memory and the Transmission of Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107444973.

    3. You may find this book in the “self-improvement” category, but in adeeper sense it is the opposite of self-improvement. It is aboutoptimizing a system outside yourself, a system not subject to you

      imitations and constraints, leaving you happily unoptimized and free to roam, to wonder, to wander toward whatever makes you feel alive here and now in each moment.

      Some may categorize handbooks on note taking within the productivity space as "self-help" or "self-improvement", but still view it as something that happens outside of ones' self. Doesn't improving one's environment as a means of improving things for oneself count as self-improvement?

      Marie Kondo's minimalism techniques are all external to the body, but are wholly geared towards creating internal happiness.

      Because your external circumstances are important to your internal mental state, external environment and decoration can be considered self-improvement.


      Could note taking be considered exbodied cognition? Vannevar Bush framed the Memex as a means of showing associative trails. (Let's be honest, As We May Think used the word trail far too much.)

      How does this relate to orality vs. literacy?

      Orality requires the immediate mental work for storage while literacy removes some of the work by making the effort external and potentially giving it additional longevity.

    1. of all the horse customs found in the British Isles, only the Mari Lwyd has a poetry competition at its heart. The Pwnco might be a challenge for some parts of 21st century Wales now that village bards are scarcer, but learned or improvised, the lyrics and the contest give scope for local and topical references, and showcase the traditional Welsh love of language and poetry.

      Worth looking into the tradition of village bards in Wales.

      What is a Pwnco?

  24. Apr 2022
    1. It is notinsignificant either that among the illustrations of the Roland Barthes par RolandBarthes there are a series of facsimile reproductions of the author’s handwriting,analogic reproductions of linguistic graphemes, pieces of writing silenced,abstracted from the universe of discourse by their photographic reproduction. Inparticular, as we have seen, the three index cards are reproduced not for the sakeof their content, not for their signified, but for a reality-effect value for which ourexpanding taste, says Barthes, encompasses the fashion of diaries, of testimonials,of historical documents, and, most of all, the massive development of photogra-

      phy. In that sense, the reproduction of these three slips ironically resonates, if on a different scale, with the world tour of the mask of Tutankhamen. It refers, if not to the magic silence of a relic, at least to the ghostly parergonal quality of what French language calls a reliquat.

      Hollier argues that Barthes' reproduced cards are not only completely divorced from their original context and use, but that they are reproduced for the sheen of reality and artistic fashion they convey to the reader. So much thought, value, and culture is lost in the worship of these items in this setting compared to their original context.

      This is closely linked to the same sort of context collapse highlighted by the photo of Chief William Berens seated beside the living stones of his elders in Tim Ingold's Why Anthropology Matters. There we only appreciate the sense of antiquity, curiosity, and exoticness of an elder of a culture that is not ours. These rocks, by very direct analogy, are the index cards of the zettelkasten of an oral culture.

      Black and white photo of a man in Western dress (pants, white shirt, and vest) sits on a rock with a forrest in the background. Beside him are several large round, but generally otherwise unremarkable rocks. Chief William Berens seated beside the living stones of his elders; a picture taken by A. Irving Hallowell in 1930, between Grand Rapids and Pikangikum, Ontario, Canada. (American Philosophical Society)