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Exocortex or the second brain

Or why not say it in real terms? My note taking system.

I would say that this concept might be one of most profound ideas I have stumbled up in a last couple of years. The concept is quite simple: there is an enormous amount of information flowing out there. Books, podcasts, articles, news, videos, how-to’s, ideas you name it. I tend to spend large amount of my time connected to this information flow in one form or the other. But what do you do with all this information? Does it go one way in then the other way out? If so, you are not alone. I do not doubt that some of sticks in your brain and in your life, but how much and of what quality? Your brain is not an information retention machine. It is good at creating new ideas but not so good at idea retention. WIkipedia has it covered if you would like to learn more. There are plenty of ways your for your memories to not form well and plenty of ways for memories to fade out.

Anyways, it is simple to some degree to retain some of that, whit some kind of note taking system. The thing is, don’t just dump your information into a notebook. If you are just a knowledge collector, it wont work that well. You will just have a info storage which you will rarely use and benefit only slightly from if at all. This is exactly how I used Evernote.

There is another way and I believe a better way. Something Tiago Forte talks about as a second brain or in fancy language Exocortex, exo as in external and cortex as in part of the brain. The External brain.

The idea, like most good ideas is really a simple one. Write down all interesting ideas, thoughts, inspirational quotes anything that captures your attention and you think is valuable and write it down. Note: do not copy and past a whole article. The system works on the premise that you capture just one small idea. One idea/concept is one note. It is the essence which you want to keep, organize and revise. This saves time and attention and collects your important insights. From there on, this notes will hold your insights indefinitely. By revising them, connecting them and traveling up and down through them, you will remember, create new ideas, form new and unexpected connections and hopefully become a better thinker.

My current setup is Drafts for capturing ideas and The Archive for storing and organizing them. This is a book often recommended which goes in depth on this system. Note: I did not read the book yet, but it does look like a useful read.

Corona virus

Strange times ahead. Global pandemic first time in our lives, first time in history. We had global pandemics in the past like the Spanish flu of 1918 which killed more people than the first world war. There was even more important at least for the Europe, the black death of the 15 century. Which some scholars claim to have triegered deep social transformations which later sprouted into the industrial revolution.

Now it is different as we are globally aware because of these wast computer networks also known as the web. We now know what is happening in every corner of the world. The spread, the casualty numbers, the fears, the panic. Dismissal, conspiracy theories every crazy meme, rumours and collective fear. It influences policies, migrations, economy. And what about politics? How will we perceive societies which conforonted the virus in a better way? So far looks like strong governemtn societies like China or Singapore did way nbetter than traditional democracies like US or Italy.

This changes the world in a big big way. Perhaps for the better. As we become more aware of the fact that we are together in this boat, in this as Bucky Fuller said, Spaceship Earth.

Someone online said that this is just the begining and I tend to agree. What else is in the que? Which dangerous viruses, bacterias are waiting to wreak havock on us? Who knows. It is easy to imagine something much more deadly than this virus. Although I do not want to say that this is not dangerous enough. Covid19 is quite capable of killing massive numbers of people, shatter economies and change global politics for better or worse.

i just hope we will able to surface better out of this. Learn a lesson, rethink our ways, improve, become better individuals and more resilient societies. We’ll see.

Interesting times ahead.

Interesting bit

Word I’m enjoying —
Sonder (from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows). “Sonder n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.” (Hat tip to Jawad Mian, who introduced me to this. Thanks, Jawad!)

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