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Nicholas Chen monday, september 20, 2021
I want to try something: just posting a mind dump on exegesis every morning. I've had a theory for a while now that the best use case for exegesis is journaling, and this would be a good way to put it to the test. It will also be a good way for me to share my ideas with the world.
None of these thoughts will be very organized. That's kind of the point of exegesis anyways - to enable non linear, disorganized thinking.
This morning I was listening to a podcast suggested by Linus Lee - Changelog. I don't usually listen to podcasts, but I have had good experiences with audiobooks in the past. It was nice being able to absorb information over breakfast without staring at a screen. The subject material was interesting; it was some CMU professor doing research on individual programmers and the myth of the "10x developer."

exegesis as crm exegesis ideas

I had some interesting ideas this morning on exegesis. The future of tools for thought should be social, and maybe people and profiles should be first order features in exegesis. Let me clarify what I mean by this. Right now, exegesis' model is very simple: you have pages, and you have tags that you can apply to pages and parts of pages. If there's a tag that has the same title as a page, clicking the tag will lead you to the page, and the page will show everywhere it's been linked. Simple, basic, backlinking. exegesis ideas tools for thought
Eventually I want exegesis to be a social platform - you can already publish notes, but I want social features like profiles, groups, follows, etc. etc. Similar tools like roam can already be used as CRMs. So can exegesis. But, if I'm going to be building profiles into the app for social features, it may make sense to build additional affordances around managing people and relationships. For example, hovering over a link to a person could show all their social media profiles, in addition to places where you've tagged them in your notes.exegesis ideas roam

Finished Capitalist Realism

Finished mark-fischer's Capitalist-Realism today. Incredible read. Since reading (or listening to the audiobook) of Fukuyama's End of History, I always found the concept of an "end of history" interesting. Fukuyama himself is (roughly) opposite Fischer on the political spectrum, so it was interesting to read an analysis on the same subject (the end of history) from a different perspective.
Some incredibly interesting excerpts I want to quote directly (emphases all mine):

Adam Curtis and the internet

"[Adam] Curtis attacks the internet because in his view it facilitates communities of solipsists, interpassive networks of like-minds who confirm, rather than challenge, each others' assumptions and prejudices.... Curtis' critique has a point, but it misses important dimensions of what is happening on the net. Contrary to Curtis' account of blogging, blogs can generate new discourse networks that have no correlate in the social field outside cyberspace." exegesis questions quotes Capitalist-Realism
Directly relevant to exegesis, I was just speaking earlier about making social tools for thought. An interesting question to consider while creating this new social exegesis: How do I avoid making an echo-chamber platform susceptible to Curtis' critique, while fulfilling Fischer's vision for a web that can "generate new discourse networks that have no correlate in the social field outside cyberspace?" exegesis questions quotes Capitalist-Realism tools for thought

Fischer on making weird shit

mark-fischer argues that capitalism creates boring products because it leads to companies giving people what they want, when really "the most powerful forms of desire are precisely cravings for the strange, the unexpected, the weird. These can only be supplied by artists and media professionals who are prepared to give people something different from that which already satisfies them... to wager on the strange and our appetite for it. It is another irony that capitalism's society of risk is much less likely to take this kind of risk than was the supposedly stodgy, centralized culture of the postwar social consensus." He goes on to argue that some "innovations are unthinkable now that the public has been displaced by the consumer." quotes Capitalist-Realism aesthetics exegesis
There's almost a Jobsian element to what he's saying here. In fact, you could argue that Steve Jobs, with all his hippie/countercultural heritage, belonged to that "postwar social consensus." Could our capitalist reality today give rise to another innovator like Jobs? Of course, I'm sure Mark Fischer was no fan of Apple or Jobs, but it's still an interesting question to raise.
Speaking of which, Fischer has something to say on the social prerequisites for innovation. "[I]t is now clear that a certain amount of stability is necessary for cultural vibrancy, the question to be asked is: how can this stability be provided, and by what agencies?" His tentative answer to this is "a public space that is not reducible to an aggregation of individuals and their interests" (see the quote above where he says some innovations are impossible because the public has been displaced by the consumer) mark-fischer quotes Capitalist-Realism

Fischer on possibility

"The tiniest event can tear a hole in the grey curtain of reaction which has marked the horizons of possibility under capitalist realism. From a situation in which nothing can happen, suddenly anything is possible again."personal-reflection quotes Capitalist-Realism
Reminds me of a quote from Nietzsche in The Gay Science - "Indeed, at hearing the news that 'the old god is dead', we philosophers and 'free spirits' feel illuminated by a new dawn; our heart overflows with gratitude, amazement, forebodings, expectation - finally the horizon seems clear again, even if not bright; finally our ships may set out again, set out to face any danger; every daring of the lover of knowledge is allowed again; the sea, our sea, lies open again; maybe there has never been such an 'open sea'.”quotes Nietzsche The Gay Science

Building tools

ideas: A tool that analyzes a react project and shows your component structure for you in a nice and visual way. Probably already exists, idk
ideas: As I've matured as a React developer, I've found certain standard methods of handling things like state management, routing, styling, and data fetching. Because I've standardized on this approach, I've been writing higher order functions that abstract away a lot of the boilerplate. This has me thinking - it would almost certainly be possible to build some kind of visual tool to help scaffold a react app. Something in between no-code and a developer tool - like the Nx.dev extension for VSCode. code

TikTok and synesthesia

TikTok has normalized tying music to everything - political messages, dances, jokes, short videos, etc. etc. Aiming to help do something similar with synesthesia, but focused more on explicitly creative output.