Oct 5, 2022Liked by Henrik Karlsson

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.

Expand full comment
Oct 5, 2022Liked by Henrik Karlsson

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.

Expand full comment
Jan 18, 2023Liked 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.

Expand full comment

I loved this.

Thank you!

Expand full comment
Feb 21, 2023·edited Feb 21, 2023Liked 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.

Expand full comment

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.

Expand full comment

This was great.

Expand full comment
Feb 3, 2023Liked by Henrik Karlsson

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

Expand full comment

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.

Expand full comment

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.

Expand full comment

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 :)

Expand full comment

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

Expand full comment

I agree

Expand full comment

Came across this beauty via Readwise's Weekly N° 12 (https://wise.readwise.io/issues/wisereads-vol-12/). While I'm intrigued by plenty of things in the post, the take on J. C. R. Licklider's memo “summoning the internet” hit a chord!

I'm currently in the process of building something like a new kind of research organisation. One element I'm looking at is, of course, the question of the “research calls.”

Looking at these from the perspective of the search query, I realised that the text of a research call is no less than “a powerful search query that will summon a new research program into life, including the people and organisations associated to it, the challenges they will be tackling, and eventually, the new technologies that the research will bring to live.”

Looking at it this way opens up so many incredible new perspectives of how to approach writing it, selling it, advertising it, and implementing it, I'm almost crying.

Expand full comment

This is a great piece. Funny, how I was rerouted from someone sharing this on twitter. It feels good to know if I write sharing the ideas and what I think about, I can get more people to know around those ideas and thoughts

Expand full comment

Drive to knowledge is not something most adults have

Expand full comment