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What Happened to You, Scott? (or, Openness vs. Conviction)

October 08, 20225 min read

Yesterday at 10:51 a.m. I received an email from a long-time Antinetter. It went like this:

Scott, what happened to you?! The last two interviews you conducted on YouTube were good, but you've turned into Mr. Nice Guy! We miss our analog knowledge revolutionary! We miss the guy who declares that analog is the way, the truth, and the life!

In case you haven't seen the two videos he's talking about, allow me to summarize them quickly here now:

I recently conducted a YouTube interview with a guy named Nick Milo who runs a course called Linking Your Thinking. He essentially teaches his own workflow and philosophy for using Obsidian (a digital note-linking app).

Then, the following week I interviewed Bob Doto, a well-bearded, eclectic individual. You may have seen Bob in the Zettelkasten and Antinet community where he hangs out and provides helpful insights. Bob uses Obsidian to manage his Zettelkasten, and he also runs a cohort course that teaches how he uses Zettelkasten for creative expression (essays, thought development, etc.).

You may be wondering why the hell I decided to interview them? Why did I decide to give them exposure to my audience of analog knowledge developers when, the reality is, many of you have tried the digital medium, and like me you have found it to be a colossal waste of time and energy?

Why did I do this?

There's one, actually two reasons:

First, I have a tendency of being a dick and burning bridges. I find it all too easy to deride other people, and declare their methods as inferior. However, what ends up happening is that you turn the space that you operate in into a hostile place (for me the space I operate in is knowledge development, reading, learning, and writing).

When you deride other people in your space, it ends up making you enjoy the space less. Instead of spending your time working on what really matters (teaching, developing knowledge, writing), you spend your time in debates, forum wars, and Twitter wars. This is a waste of life.

On top of this, being polarizing in your positions can result in becoming entrenched, and thereby becoming close-minded, defensive, and dogmatic.

So there I was, a few weeks ago. I had just finished creating a video lesson for my Neo-Intellectuals. In the video I shared how it's important to make a list of the people in your space, and then begin providing value to those people. That way, the whole becomes bigger than the sum, you create allies, and you build a tribe of people who resonate with you.

After uploading the video, it dawned on me that I haven't done this in a while. Therefore, in order to practice what I preach, I decided to contact Nick Milo and interview him.

I did this with Sascha Fast a few months back and a lot of interesting insights came from our discussion. For instance, Sascha explained how deliberate he is with his note creation. He goes very, very deep in creating his notes. He thinks through all angles and, because he's so deliberate, and because he takes his time developing each note, he's able to experience the benefits that come by way of analog (neuroimprinting ideas on your mind because you're forced to slow down and and think and write them out by hand). It seemed to me that Sascha was able to achieve neuroimprinting in digital because he was so slow and deliberate about developing each note. We coined this idea a "memory pyramid" (instead of a memory castle).

Long story short, the reason I decided to interview these individuals is to counter-act my tendency of creating enemies, and instead create allies and insightful discoveries by way of dialogue.

Now, with that said, there's a downside in doing what I did:

The downside is that it's more effective (marketing-wise), to be clear and polarizing in your position.

For instance, it is easier to stick with a message like, "Analog is not just the ultimate way for developing knowledge and becoming a great writer, it is the ONLY way! Digital PKM and thinking via keyboard will decay your mind!"

This message revolves around conviction, clarity, and certainty. It is clear. It is polarizing. It is effective.

We've seen this work in political campaigns. Trump largely won against Clinton because he was polarizing.

When you speak with conviction, you signal self-belief, which signals courage, which attracts a following.

Yet there's a disadvantage of self-belief: in the blink of an eye it can cascade into self-delusion. And self-delusion isn't good. It leads to unwise thinking, unwise science, and worst of all… pride!

And as the ol' proverb goes, Pride cometh before the fall.

Therefore, what is one to do?

Do they stick with a polarizing position, or do they adopt a more curious and open position at the expense of their message becoming less effective?

The answer is both. A harmonious mix of both.

Be clear in your beliefs, yet remain open, curious and committed to learning.

It is a dance.

It is a balancing act.

In the end, I think the greatest rule of thumb anyone ought to follow is this:

The only right answer is test.

Experiment for yourself on different methods of developing knowledge. Try digital, try analog, and adopt the workflow that works best for you.

I find that most of the people who use digital notetaking apps, are those who have never tested analog.

I've tested both. I know what is most effective for me and why. But again, the only right answer is to test. Test yourself.

I stand by everything I preach in regards to analog and the Antinet. Even my polarizing statements that flirt with self-delusion. Why? Because sometimes I genuinely feel and know the analog medium to be the best form of developing knowledge.

Yet, at the same time, I also think it important to not venture too far down one position into the land of dogmatism and self-delusion.

Test for yourself, be clear and polarizing, but also sprinkle in a healthy dosage of openness, curiosity and commitment to learning.

That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Oh, and one last thing:

The analog way is the best way.

Warm regards,

And stay crispy, my friend.

Scott P. Scheper

"The Non-Delusional Analog Knowledge Revolutionary"

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