Back in June, over on the assemblag.es Mastodon instance, CJ Eller and I had a productive exchange about modes of knowledge organization (see CJ’s “Garbage Heap,” my “Compost Epistemology,” CJ’s “Communities of Compost,” and our short discussion). Subsequently, in reading about Zettelkasten (slip box systems), I was linked to Niklas Luhmann’s “Communicating with Slip Boxes: An Empirical Account” (1981), in which he writes:
It is impossible to think without writing; at least it is impossible in any sophisticated or networked (anschlußfähig) fashion. Somehow we must mark differences, and capture distinctions which are either implicitly or explicitly contained in concepts. Only if we have secured in this way the constancy of the schema that produces information, can the consistency of the subsequent processes of processing information be guaranteed.
I do not use a Zettelkasten, but this website, the notes and this journal (and its repository), do a similar work of marking differences and capturing distinctions, of securing the constancy of schemas and producing information. The difference is that this website uses a simpler organizational method than Luhmann’s register: it is organized in time. I try to capture what I am thinking about and working on as I go, so that when it becomes necessary to make some official statement, I can trace back a line of inquiry through various series of writings, pinning specific conceptualizations to various periods of my life by way of a simple date tag. There is nothing novel here, no special method, but for now, this is how I think with writing.