The Daily Scott Scheper

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Issue No. 194
(Also available in podcast format)

The One Thing You Must Avoid Doing When Organizing Your Notes

Scott P. Scheper
Downtown San Diego, CA
You——but only if this page I wrote about You is true.
Sunday, 11:31 pm

Dear Friend,

Alright, where were we?

Ah, yes, a second mind emerges by creating what Luhmann calls an inner life of the notebox——a mental history of your mind's thoughts evolving through time.[1]

Now, you may be familiar with the emerging popularity of a certain type of notetaking app. These apps have the ability to link notes.[2] They do so by way of things called wikilinks (a sexed up term for linking notes). You'll find such software present itself as a personal knowledge management system,[3] or by its sexed up marketing term, second brain.[4] Hold this thought.

Recall, we left off yesterday at yet another glorious instance of Scott teasing you with a cliffhanger. This one revolves around a common practice that will destroy your notebox from ever becoming a second mind. Seriously.

So, what is this common practice I speak of? The thing that will destroy your notes ever becoming a second mind? It is simply this: you must decide, according to Luhmann, against organizing your notes by topics and subtopics.

Now, here's another interesting thing: you'll rarely, if ever, find digital notetaking apps that abide by this requirement. This is but one of many reasons why digital notetaking apps are such ineffective alternatives for the real thing.

If you ever come across the term second brain, you should know that you're looking at an app that perhaps builds a second brain, but at the expense of decaying your primary one.

A brain is physical; it's not magical in itself. You'll find out soon why you don't want a second brain; you want a second mind.

To learn how to do this, stay tuned.

Until then,

Always remember...

To stay crispy, my friend.

Monday, 12:34 am

  1. “Communicating with Slip Boxes by Niklas Luhmann.” Accessed May 4, 2021. "For the inner life of the card index, for the arrangement of notes or its mental history, it is most important that we decide against the systematic ordering in accordance with topics and sub-topics and choose instead a firm fixed place (Stellordnung)." ↩︎

  2. Roam Research. “Roam Research – A Note Taking Tool for Networked Thought.” Accessed August 2, 2021. ↩︎

  3. Foam. TypeScript. 2020. Reprint, Foam, 2021. ↩︎

  4. Forte Labs. “Building a Second Brain: An Overview,” February 20, 2019. ↩︎


Scott P. Scheper