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Issue No. 199
(Also available in podcast format)

What You're Building When You Choose to Build a Second Mind (Zettelkasten)

Scott P. Scheper
Downtown San Diego, CA
You——but only if this page I wrote about You is true.
Friday, 4:48 pm

Dear Friend,

OK, so I'm finally going to pick up where I left off in Issue No. 194. In Issue No. 194, I revealed how Luhmann warned against the most common practice most people make when trying to organize information——that of categorizing things into Topics and Subtopics.

The way one does this centers on architecting a tree-like structure. Each card is essentially a leaf on a tree, with a fixed place. It's essential, Luhmann warns, that one never changes this number.[1]

By eliminating the complexity and stress caused by adopting a pre-planned category (like the Dewey Decimal System), one frees up mental energy. You worry less about the proper classification of things. Instead, your time is spent thinking, and reading your old thoughts. Exploring your mind, and evolving it.

The most important aspect of the structure, in the beginning, is simply this: there is no structure in the beginning! This, according to Luhmann, makes possible the creation of highly complex thoughts.[2] It's what enables one to create something so unique that only you can build, and that only you can understand well enough to communicate with. What you are building is the physical version of your mind. Actually, it's even better. What you're building is the physical representation of your mind's evolution through time.

Yet, something else happens when you create your own physical tree-structured mind crafted entirely from pen and notecards. It's something unexpected yet results in the biggest transformation you'll experience in life. You'll even start to notice others begin wondering how the hell you know so much; you'll begin to be labeled a genius by others.

I'll share with you what this is... in tomorrow's issue——but only if:


Always remember...

To stay crispy, my friend.

Friday, 5:18 pm

  1. "Zettelkasten Online Paper by Niklas Luhmann: Communication with a Notebox (Revised Edition)." Accessed August 3, 2021. "It is sufficient that we give every notecard a number which is easily seen (in or case on the left of the first line) and that we never change this number and thus the fixed place of the notecard." ↩︎

  2. "Zettelkasten Online Paper by Niklas Luhmann: Communication with a Notebox (Revised Edition)." Accessed August 3, 2021. "...which makes possible the creation of high complexity in the card file and thus makes possible its ability to communicate in the first place." ↩︎


Scott P. Scheper