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Philosophy of Zettelkasten: What is the Ghost in the Box?


imagePhilosophy of Zettelkasten: What is the Ghost in the Box?

A detailed exploration of Luhmann's ZK note number 9/8,3 and what the notion of the 'ghost in the box' could mean.

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  • edited December 2022

    And perhaps it is not yet the time to answer the question what this ghost is

    Why not. This ghost is an amalgamation of your past selves (past thinking habits) that were partially imprinted on the structure of ZK while you've composed the notes.
    The reason why others don't recognize the value of your ZK is exactly the same reason why any source of information might be useless: the lack of a proper background (the knowledge that your past selves have had).

    In the spirit of Luhmann or with Luhmann’s hypothetical intention in mind?

    Ancient Greeks and Romans thought that when one properly emulates god, one becomes its incarnation.
    If you fight like a complete bastard you become Mars. Roman triumphator was clothed like Jupiter, driven in the proper chariot and regarded by others as a personification of Jupiter on Earth. It wasn't a show - he actually became (some part of) Jupiter. Triumphator even had a special slave that rode with him in the chariot and whispered "you're not god". Probably because triumphators tended to be carried away by their holyness and required a reminder that the incarnation was temporary.
    If I'm not mistaken, the process was originally called apotheosis (modern meaning of this term is different - "glorification of rulers", but it was altered by Christianity in about 2-4 AD).

    So when one acts like Luhmann, one becomes Luhmann. Prayers might (or might not) be optional.

    edit: typos, clarity

    Post edited by emps on
  • @emps said:
    So when one acts like Luhmann, one becomes Luhmann. Prayers might (or might not) be optional.

    Haha! :smile:

  • I think that Luhmann is clearly playing on a rich ambiguity in the German language: "Geist" means not only "ghost/spook" but also "mind" and everything mental (even mental health or "state of mind" = Geisteszustand). In addition, it can be translated as "Spirit" in the sense of the "spirit of the age". In philosophy (my field), "Geist" is strongly associated with Hegel. His Phänomenologie des Geistes was once translated as "Phenomenology of Mind" but is not standardly translated as "Phenomenology of Spirit". But for Hegel – and Luhmann would have clearly been playing on this – "Spirit" is a very rich concept, referring to all aspects of culture, thought, practice, and more. So, in this passage, Luhmann is highlighting the absurdity of thinking that you can see his ideas by looking at the Zettelkästen. It would be like looking at the brain and expecting to see thoughts, or looking at a chessboard and thinking that the game is in the pieces of carved wood on a checkerboard.

  • So, in this passage, Luhmann is highlighting the absurdity of thinking that you can see his ideas by looking at the Zettelkästen. It would be like looking at the brain and expecting to see thoughts, or looking at a chessboard and thinking that the game is in the pieces of carved wood on a checkerboard.

    Pretty similar to the thinking behind software agnosticism. :)

    I am a Zettler

  • Luhmann :

    Ghost in the box? Viewers come. They get to see everything and nothing but that - like in a porn film. And the disappointment is correspondingly high.

    B)

    Zettelkasten II Zettel 9/8,3
    Geist im Kasten? Zuschauer kommen. Sie bekommen alles zu  sehen, und nichts als das – wie beim  Pornofilm. Und entsprechend ist die  Enttäuschung.

  • which closes the circle again ... you should not only read the rss-feed

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