This is beautiful and I love it!

There’s a family video from when I was maybe 3, at my sister’s birthday party. I’m babbling along and my Uncle Dan says, “you sure talk a whole lot, Mark.” I responded, “That’s how I learn things.”

My dad always thought this was funny - how could you learn by talking? Your post underlines the mechanism that I’d been inadvertently using. I didn’t have a plan to find an audience, I was just … moving in a way that made sense. For a long time I wanted to convince the whole world of some ideas. I gave up on that and figured maybe I could convince certain communities. Then, Ok, maybe one. Then I realized I didn’t understand things as well as this community did.

The process is still ongoing, but I’m less singularly focused on trying to sell ideas as I am on trying to share and entertain.

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The mechanism of “writing about the same complex topics, using unique word pairs, pulls similar thinkers together” reminds me of neuroplasticity and how neurons that fire together wire together.

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Jan 18Liked by Henrik Karlsson

I love this!

Your discussion of complexity reminds me of what John Rawls calls the Aristotelian Principle.

“Other things equal, human beings enjoy the exercise of their realized capacities (their innate or trained abilities), and this enjoyment increases the more the capacity is realized, or the greater its complexity.” (ToJ)

It is also at the heart of my interpretation of John Stuart Mill’s moral theory (namely, it’s the distinction between higher and lower pleasures—the reason that poetry is better than pushpins.)

I’m glad you’re writing for we lonely few.

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Feb 21·edited Feb 21Liked by Henrik Karlsson

Hi, I've found you through HN about your post on childhood of exceptional people.

I really liked this 3-parts essay. This last part especially might

motivate me to attempt to write in public.

Before reading your essays, I saw 2 benefits of writing. First, one

write to clarify their thinking, to help learn new things. Second, one

write to explain new things, to push the boundaries of human


But I find that there is already so much content online, so is it

really worth it to add my own to this sea of words?

Your essay propose a third way: writing to find or to create a

community. From this angle, writing new words, adding content, doesn't

add noise. It is a way to reduce the noise, to find a niche in which

the words resonate.

From the outside, it look like a big ball of mud, but from the inside,

for those living in it, it looks cozy and a nice place to grow.

I like this prospect. Thank you.

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Stirring. Made me subscribe. Reminded me of why I was so enthused about the idea of working in public and that I should be more proactive about doing so. Ah, but the eternal dilemma of the Bell and The Blackbird


The sound of a bell

Still reverberating,

or a blackbird calling

from a corner of the field,

asking you to wake

into this life,

or inviting you deeper

into the one that waits.


David Whyte



Thanks to Julian Gough from the Egg and the Rock who cross-posted this, Erik Hoel for linking to Julian's blog and some guy on Twitter for linking Erik's paper on how dreams may prevent overfitting. The best parts of the Internet truly are human-shaped.

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I loved this.

Thank you!

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This was great.

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Feb 3Liked by Henrik Karlsson

Mm interesting post. I really enjoyed the aspect about interest and surprise and complexity and loneliness and mutuality and community.

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This resonated with me so strongly, even though I'm doing something entirely different from blogging: I'm building a puzzle experience business. I've gotten the advice to create simpler puzzles, but that's not really what interests me. So I keep making my challenging puzzles, and the people drawn to this are who I've connected with. Just yesterday, one of them shared an older project they knew about that was super interesting to me.

Nevertheless, your essay helped me see another facet of this process. Growth demands growth, so I just started experimenting with some simpler puzzle ideas that are still fun for me. Now I see that they are hens, which will attract more people who are excited by them now, and who might later engage with my more complex offerings.

"By pursuing your interest, you will move toward complexity." I'm doing this, and so are my followers. I love it. Thank you for this fascinating piece.

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I just want to admit that this was thoroughly encouraging. Your notions of how information on this alien body flows are due considering over multiple cycles. My friend Riley has taken to Illich in unexpected ways. What'd he say: "I have corresponded briefly with David Cayley about Arthur Melzer, Esotericism, and more recently Ivan Illich. Cayley was close with both Illich and Gerard. I have never read Gerard, and have in the last few months read a number of Illich's books. I am astounded by what I have found, he is incomparably lucid and brave about institutional questions. I can't express how much I am struck by my early engagement with him."

So we're headed into Cayley's collection of conversations with Girard, and are in some way, satellites nearby.

Obviously I'll keep reading, but now you've seen me flash by in the sky.

Good stuff. Thanks.

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I came to the comment section to give something back, as your words encourage me to open up about my curiorities. But the I got stuck in the comments and the nice atmosphere of a kind of "tribe in the know". Made me remember my early years in twitter when I used to connect to strangers through the fun of putting critical thoughts into compromised verbal expression. To me, it always led to the question: can we connect in person as well?

Not only the internet feels lonely on the quest for likeminded people.

Anyways, not here to lament my current status quo, rather to say thank you for motivating me to search that niche and to share it publically.

To not speak to the man on the street - if at all, then to a specific one, maybe that one you see pass by and wonder how they came to be the particular quirky person they are.

One thing I have been struggling with ever since I've been publishing on the internet was the struggle in which language to express what I was on about. When I had acquired a small following, going down another rabbit hole felt like losing them and that for me is rather harsh. So I quit writing publically all together. Takes a strong will for pursueing my own quests it seems and definately worth tackling if it leads to connections that fall in with my current path. So again, thanks for planting that seed of hope :)

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I love this! Thank you! It’s a much-more-eloquent version of something I wrote “for myself” a while ago called “the modern art of job searching,” which makes this argument about the power or writing in public for creating a “business network,” but I love your take here that it’s even better when viewed as a joyful way to connect with a tribe you never knew or knew existed! https://techno-sapien.com/blog/the-modern-art-of-job-searching

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Do you have thoughts on executing this with real identity / name vs under a pseudonym?

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Link to the Ivan Ilych and Systems Thinking essay?

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Thank you for this. I am here via a quote from your post by Brad DeLong. But I felt impelled to pursue and subscribe (and to forward your post to a few friends) via several bells you rang for me:

1) mention of Ivan Illich, with whom I studied at CIDOC in 1972 and a seminar of which led to his books "Tools for Conviviality" and "Energy and Equity". . Illich's thinking had already led me to writing and publishing about ideas for education in which I brought together Illich's thought in "Deschooling Society" and Buckminster Fuller's ideas for "World Game".

2) What you have described in how to use blogs as a way of finding people interested in what one is interested in joins and expands ideas I heard in a scuola in Pisa in 2002 on Digital Libraries about how the evolving Internet led to a way of searching and finding relevant information in the critical time needed by surgical operating teams -- a way of finding what is truly relevant better than using search terms and indexes. The speaker (first name "Judith" whose full name I don't recall at the moment) worked with a group at Columbia University) spoke of "throwing THIS against THAT" -- which rather describes how you describe using a complex blog to find what is truly relevant among a large mass of the mostly irrelevant.

3) Buckminster Fuller wrote in his essay "Omni-Directional Halo" in the book "No More Secondhand God" of the problem of finding and resolving information that was "tantalizingly almost relevant" -- the clearly relevant you already know while the obviously irrelevant you can safely discard.

4) In my studies in the integrative Humanities I found that there was often a need to balance on the knife-edge between bullshit and the solid-but-not-really-relevant in order to find and stay within the cogently relevant. That is where I found Fuller, Illich and later Claudio Naranjo. All three at their most tantalizingly relevant (to me) waver into mysticism -- which led realist critics to reject their thought. All three were at their best social critics who found brief cult-like followings which then led to rapid dismissal and oblivion from intellectual history.

I could go on, but thank you for the stimulation and leading me to pull together some half-dormant thoughts.

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Tears of homecoming indeed.

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