Reading Is the Transformation of a Linked List of Ideas Into a Tree

We can only read one sentence at a time, but the resulting information received is tree-shaped. This presents a challenge to the writer to ensure the transformation matches the intended tree structure otherwise the reader may misinterpret the ideas shared. That’s why organizing ideas is important and explaining the connections between ideas so the reader doesn’t have to.

See also:

  • Objective Knowledge Begins as Conjecture and Then Corrected With Criticism

    Objective knowledge is possible and it comes from within. Communication is lossy so even precise books and teaching can not transfer objective knowledge. It starts with conjecture and then in repeated cycles of criticism it is corrected. Through this process objective knowledge can be found, but also shared.

  • Never Write Sections of a Document as Categories

    Categories are not a useful way of demarcating sections in a document because they don’t support the structure of answering the key question of the document. For example ‘Background’ doesn’t say anything and the reader is forced to read through the section to connect the ideas rather than providing it to them. Section titles should answer the next question reader has from the preceding section to make it easier to understand your argument.

  • Reading Books Is a Cheat Code

    Books have the ability to condense and transfer information efficiently. While some things can’t be learned from reading, reading gives you the benefit of other peoples' experience. Even if it’s lossy, building familiarity can turn something that felt opaque and scary into something you feel prepared to encounter.

  • A List of Tasks Describes Multi-Party Processes Poorly

    A list of tasks to complete does not contain sufficient information to describe a multi-party process. For example, if you were to describe ‘pick up the milk’ to an extraterrestrial you might say 1) go to the store 2) buy milk 3) check out 4) go home. However, this hides the complexity of interactions.

  • Every Paragraph Should Have a BLUF

    The first sentence of every paragraph should be a BLUF. Readers can see the point right away without having to read through the entire paragraph. Readers don’t need to piece together the meaning themselves.

  • Tupper’s Self-Referential Formula Is a Visual Loop

    Tupper’s formula displays its formula when plotted on a graph. This is a form of recursion but more like a mirror. Compared to Godel’s incompleteness theorem (also self-referential), Tupper’s formula is more like perception not reception—it does not create new meaning in a system unintended to do so (Principia Mathematica) and is more like a reflection of itself.

  • Language Is an Extension of Our Bodies

    When we use language to communicate with each other, other bodies become an extension of ourselves. We can ask someone to do so something and we’ve effectively taken a thought that exists in our brain, transferred it to another brain, and carried out the task. We can share ideas, even loosely defined, by writing and sharing the words. Even right now, my brain is connected to yours—as you read this, you are transforming a linked list of ideas into understanding.