Copybooks: Privacy, Logjams, and Permanence

For some tactical copybook how-to listen: How To Create A Personal Knowledge Management System from Coaching for Leaders

In addition to the tactical, it really shook thoughts of privacy loose. I spend a lot of time interacting with, and thinking about things which, when taken out of context, could result in negative consequences. I wrote a study on binomial random number theory, based on the digits of Pi, spurred on by the Pioneer Plaque & the Voyager Golden Record, but also inspired by something else. For those keeping score: game design relevant math, To Infinity and Beyond!, somewhere from my past, and something I shouldn’t talk about.

Damn it.

Such is the way of things and, by no means, is it new.

Check out this crazy: History’s Greatest Alchemists, Part 1: Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

Isaac Newton was nuts for alchemy. As in lead to gold. Yes, the Royal Society of London member, 3 laws of motion, ouch an apple just hit my head. He published hundreds of pages about alchemy at a time when it was downright risqué. He spent more seeking the Philosopher’s Stone than on MATH. Who did he think he was? Harry Potter?

Actually no, Isaac was a following an already well worn path. There’s just something about Physics which led one to contemplate God, the existence and reality of his existence. There’s just something about wondering about the true nature of matter which makes one contemplate and invoke the divine – or to deny divinities existence.

All sorts of wonderfully heretical thoughts become possible. Should we worship the Sun and Stars in the context of Christianity? Should the be venerated as Saints? Isaac and Kepler (yes – THAT Kepler) thought so. Isaac didn’t just say that we should, he actually wrote it down (A short Schem for the true Religion.) He published it, back when that was difficult.

Think on that for a moment.

How much trouble that could have caused for him. Did it cause trouble for him? How could it not? How could he be two so divergent and incompatible people at the same time? I immediately jump to the world was different in the early 1700’s than now, but that seems like to simple of an answer. Different how? Different why? Is there some way to be able to return to that level of “freedom”? Would we want to be able to? (Tons more on alchemy here: History of Alchemy Podcast.)

Thoughts for another day…

The Capture, Curation, and Create steps should be separated by time, to serve as an automatic filter, ensuring your limited time and effort is well spent. If something isn’t interesting two days later, why would you want to spend even more time with it? A reasonable enough assertion. But I think it’s also important to go back and ask yourself: What did I miss the first time I looked at this? It’s amazing to me how often that question comes to the answer: oh this is reductive and therefore uninteresting. Or: hey, this connects to that other thing in an interesting way. Or: this is cool, but I’ve got something better to work on.

I’m intentionally creating a logjam of ideas. Too much to fit through the hole. Too much to process in the time available. Too many other worthy choices. Often times really great things do not survive and are forgotten.

It’s harsh as hell.

It requires the conviction of the righteous – a conviction recently buttressed by the discovery that Robert Greene follows a similar approach (via Mixergy) with sufficient vigor that he requires it of others. (A detailed comparison of Ryan Holiday’s version of Robert’s system is one of the “logs” in the river at the moment. I expect it’ll come out a bit like the Telephone Game with aspects of game cloning artifacts. That said, TOO SOON…)

[I took a detour here to write in DayOne, because that lead to thoughts not suitable for public conception. An excellent segue to the concept of Permanence…]

Virtual knowledge stores (web pages, emails, twitter feeds photos, etc.) are incredibly fragile. Those that assert otherwise… Haven’t been on the Internet long enough. Haven’t been interacting with technology long enough. Haven’t heard people much smarter than I:

Yet, here I write on a service owned by someone else. On a server I don’t control. Under ToS for which I can’t veto, or even appeal. With the explicit intention of keeping, and using, this information in the future.