The Factoid Leveling Experience

tl:dr; Level up your important ideas from isolated facts to highly connected ecosystems. Level down bad ideas to isolated facts.

From Isolated facts to understanding

What is elementary, worldly wisdom?

Well, the first rule is that you can’t really know anything if you just remember isolated facts and try and bang ’em back. If the facts don’t hang together on a latticework of theory, you don’t have them in a usable form. You’ve got to have models in your head. And you’ve got to array your experience—both vicarious and direct—on this latticework of models.



Super Thinking, Gabriel Weinberg, Lauren McCann

Level 1:

An isolated fact is akin to an idea island, adrift at sea. It means nothing to nobody, and it desperately wants friends.

In a peculiar way, the photograph was the perfect complement to the flood of telegraphic news-from-nowhere that threatened to submerge readers in a sea of facts from unknown places about strangers with unknown faces.

For the photograph gave a concrete reality to the strange-sounding datelines, and attached faces to the unknown names. Thus it provided the illusion, at least, that “the news” had a connection to something within one’s sensory experience. It created an apparent context for the “news of the day.” And the “news of the day” created a context for the photograph. But the sense of context created by the partnership of photograph and headline was, of course, entirely illusory.

You may get a better sense of what I mean here if you imagine a stranger’s informing you that the illyx is a subspecies of vermiform plant with articulated leaves that flowers biannually on the island of Aldononjes. And if you wonder aloud, “Yes, but what has that to do with anything?” imagine that your informant replies, “But here is a photograph I want you to see,” and hands you a picture labeled Illyx on Aldononjes. “Ah, yes,” you might murmur, “now I see.”



Amusing Ourselves To Death, Neil Postman

Level 2:

A fact born from unique experience is akin to a coconut drifting from our lonely island to the nearest shore. On this shore, the locals receive it and poke at it until they can classify it as friend or foe.

Context provides color and builds a narrative around the isolated fact.

Level 3:

A fact that is repeatedly invoked by experience is akin to a road network on a continent. Highly connected, dense, and interdependent.

The isolated idea has been fully integrated into the tribe, and removing it causes visible damage to the entire system.

Some highly integrated ideas outlive their value due to the old guard clinging. Science moves forward one funeral at a time.

Graphs -- Implicit or Explicit

This process of learning creates a dimensional space where ideas coexist.

What do you think of when I say the word "penguin"?

What do you think of when I say the word you came up with?

How about that word?

You can consciously traverse your graph, or leave it running as a daemon. It doesn't mind in the slightest.

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