Zettelkasten Forum

Beta Reading: Communication with Zettelkastens

Hi Zettlers,

if you follow this link, you'll get to the google doc: Communications with Zettelkastens

I'd be happy if you check the translation and see if I screwed something up.

The priority of the translation is accessability of his thoughts. So, I did aim for a compromise of adhering to Luhmann's style and styling the grammar to a more accessable way. Luhmann is exeptionally difficult to read and translating doesn't help..

German differs more from English than one might expect:

French is a fine park, Italian a big, bright, colorful wood. But German is almost a primeval forest, so dense and mysterious, so without a passage and yet with a thousand paths. You can't get lost in a park, and not so easily and dangerously in the bright Italian wood; but in the German jungle, within four, five minutes, you can go missing. Because the path seems so difficult, many try to march through as straight as possible, which violates the nature of this language. It surely wants a main direction but invites to deviate from to the left and to the right by its hundred paths and pathlets, and shortly back to it.1

Additional goals:

  • I will introduce propositional IDs which divide the article into small sections so it is easier to point to individual positions within the article. This will happen after a publishable draft is ready.
  • Some of the difficulties to pin down what Luhmann meant is rooted in the loaded language he uses similar to Heidegger he invented a special language. Luckily, I have a basic understanding of the core concepts (from a couple of classes in university and some reading of his main works and some of his articles). So, I will write short explanations and combine it with making connections to the contemporary discussions about the Zettelkasten (over a long period of time) (I hope my copy of @scottscheper's book will arrive soon.. :) )

So, aside from the obvious typos and grammars you might use the comment section to point to various concept that sound strange to you or that you think should be explained further.

My planned steps are:

  1. Get to a publishable draft
  2. Introduce the propositional IDs
  3. Publish the translation
  4. Start the commentary as a side project (each will be published as an article, so you won't miss it)

Live long and prosper
and many thanks to you

  1. Ludwig Reiners (1967 (Erstausgabe: 1943)): Stilkunst. Ein Lehrbuch deutscher Prosa, München: C.H.Beck. p. 21 ↩︎

Post edited by Sascha on

I am a Zettler


  • I am near a publishable draft. If you like, skim the article and give me pointers to where you'd like to see a connection to his work on systems theory.

    I am a Zettler

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