Friday, June 19, 2020


Those of you who regularly send me what you think I need to read or see, thank you for being “my extended nervous system.”

by Moritz Bierling

1/ Power in the Information Age is directly impacted by, and channeled through, information flow (access, control, manufacturing, manipulation, etc).

2/ In order to consistently gain access to good (useful) information, one has to do at least one, though usually more, of the following:

3/ - algorithmically and socially tune your existing network to consistently upregulate high signal and downregulate noise, which allows you to

4/ - consistently stumble upon sources outside your network displaying complexity of unfamiliar (to you) structure, which allows you to

5/ - consistently generate insight by engaging with actors and material that contrasts starkly with your existing mosaic of perspectives, which allows you to

6/ - develop your capacity to consistently make sense of an increasing variety and scope of situations (problems), both internal and external, which allows you to

7/ - consistently upregulate signal and downregulate noise in your network by

8/ - - selectively sharing other actor’s information (with/-out comments),

9/ - - commenting upon other actor’s information,

10/ - - and involving multiple unconnected actors in generative conversations, which allows you to

11/ - build up in other actors a psycho- and physiological expectation and perception of the continuation of your high signal activity, while at the same time

12/ - “placing listeners” in other actors (effectively extending your nervous system) for high signal content and the sources that produce them (they will see information and think “Moritz needs to know about this”, then tag or share accordingly), which allows you to

13/ - consistently improve the quality and quantity of information you have access to, which allows you to

14/ - consistently “sense” the dynamics, events, trends, movements, and other categories of developments both happening now and probable to happen in the (expanding) future, which allows you to

15/ - consistently act (read “allocate your attention and energy well”) and help/make/inspire others to act (ipso) in a way that “moves the needle” (to express it in a value neutral way).

16/ The strategy that I consistently observe as highly effective in kickstarting, maintaining, and accelerating the above sequence/process/system is the *indexing strategy*, which consists of

17/ - *procuring* (capture) high quality information from a diversity of sources in a central, private space, which allows you to

18/ - *processing* this information to further enrich its quality by way of

19/ - - emphasizing and deemphasizing its parts,

20/ - - contextualizing it by contrasting it with and relating it to other information,

21/ - - taking note of how your current emotional state and sense making process interact with it, and

22/ - - commenting upon it with recommendations for others for how to process it,

23/ - *producing* original and adapted information (content) for other actors’ consumption *in a structured way*,

24/ - *publishing* on a publicly accessible platform by specifically

25/ - - building and resurfacing (*placing*) again and again collections (threads, pages, documents) of content with shared characteristics (authors, themes, styles, methodologies, etc),

26/ - - inviting others to discuss there and contribute to them, thus

27/ - - becoming *the place where others go to learn*.

28/ Notice that this strategy is the structural engine and programmatic process by which all the power centers operate:

29/ - Google (search engine)

30/ - Facebook (people)

31/ - the Bible (look at the interconnectivity of passages, it’s the OG wiki)

32/ - news outlets (aggregators of “what’s happening” now failing due to weak business models and “what’s happening” becoming available elsewhere (social media)),

33/ - the brain (most complex structure we know of consuming least energy for highest output, working through opponent processing (competing clusters of cooperating neurons)),

34/ - the legal system (collections of code/rule sets constantly amended and extended)

35/ - corporations and conglomerates (complex systems of organizing natural, technological, and human resources through structures of ownership within interlocking circuits of two way value flows), and many others.

36/ The strategy works by *building interfaces* (think larger than screens) to the things we desire, want, need (and are made to desire, want, and need) by curating, indexing, overcoding, recombining, arranging, and (selectively and in a specifically structured way) displaying information.

37/ My friend Daniel Fraga calls the conscious construction of these systems “ontological design”.

38/ Some of the people I know who are most adept at variations of this strategy, each in their unique ways and to their specific ends, are Brandon Hayes, Alexander Kruel, Daniel Schmachtenberger, Jordan Hall, Jim Rutt, Rafe Kelley, Daniel Pinchbeck, Vinay Gupta, Michael John, Kurt Jensen, Tiago Forte, David Perell, Conor White-Sullivan, Gearóid Walsh, Visakan Veerasamy, and Curt Doolittle.

39/ To learn how to do this, nothing more is required of you than to pay close attention to your own motives and methodology in the steps and stages of this process (procure, process, produce, publish, place), conduct and learn from experiments, and adjust accordingly.

40/ For learning the technical (operative) fundamentals, I specifically recommend Tiago’s course “Building a Second Brain” and David’s course “Write of Passage” as well as their free materials.

41/ For information on the greater ecology of information, I recommend the sense making series by David Fuller and Alexander Beiner of Rebel Wisdom, Jordan Hall’s Situational Assessments on Medium, Pat Ryan’s Dark Stoa series, and my own presentation on memes (search for “Moritz Bierling decentralized culture” here on Facebook or on YouTube).

42/ Comment below for discussions of each of these points and requests for pointers to more material, or DM me for conversation unsuited to a (semi-)public forum.

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