‘The Sum Total of All Human Knowledge’, Part VI

Implementing the schema

In this post, we look more closely at how to implement the combined and refined OoK+UDC schema using physical note-cards. These will include both the standard note-bearing cards (zettels), as well as ancillary ‘structure’ cards which are used to organise and ‘situate’ the note-bearing cards within the overall knowledge structure defined by the OoK+UDC schema.
Continue reading “‘The Sum Total of All Human Knowledge’, Part VI”

‘The Sum Total of All Human Knowledge’, Part V

Extending the schema

In this post we continue the process of refining the knowledge indexing schema based upon the Outline of Knowledge (OoK) and the Universal Decimal Classification (UDC), by now adding new categories to the framework through both combination and extension. This will bring the schema into a workable quasi-final form ready to be implemented.
Continue reading “‘The Sum Total of All Human Knowledge’, Part V”

‘The Sum Total of All Human Knowledge’, Part IV

Refining the schema

In the previous post in this series, we had arrived at the possibility of utilising a rigorous alphanumerical schema for indexing human knowledge based upon the temporal sequencing of the time-line of Cosmic Evolution and the through-line of Big History. This sequence was originally considered (Part I) as the most natural way to index knowledge disciplines, as it is both intuitively powerful (Part II), and based on the quasi-objective observable parameter of rising complexity over the course of cosmic time. Here we shall start to flesh out and fill in that indexing with an actual numerical scheme, based upon the final choice (Part III) of a combination of the Outline of Knowledge (OoK) from Encyclopedia Britannica (Adler 1994), and the Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) (UDC Consortium 2022).
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‘The Sum Total of All Human Knowledge’, Part III

Finding a schema

The quest to find a systematic knowledge organising schema—roughly aligned with the Cosmic Evolution timeline or Big History through-line—arose from the idea to go ‘full Zettelkasten’ on the many hundreds of notes I’ve accumulated over the years that are scattered about in various notebooks, electronic and physical, and scraps of paper filed in manilla folders languishing in various filing cabinet drawers. This is not only a useful and fun way to exercise one’s mind to try to keep it active, but is also a quite interesting exploratory research project to see just how far this wonderfully preposterous idea can be pushed. And it might even be of use to anyone else looking to use the Zettelkasten method for organising their research notes along the general lines being described in this series.
Continue reading “‘The Sum Total of All Human Knowledge’, Part III”

‘The Sum Total of All Human Knowledge’, Part II

Scoping the territory

In the previous post in this series, we saw how the astronomer Carl Sagan outlined the process of “15 billion years of Cosmic Evolution” in the final episode of the TV series Cosmos (1980). He referred to our “tracing that long path” by which the “star stuff” of which we are made eventually arose to consciousness here on the Planet Earth, and how we have now begun “contemplating the stars” and to “wonder about our origins”. Elsewhere—indeed, in the opening segment of the very first episode of Cosmos—he observed that “we are a way for the Cosmos to know itself”. And it is to that Cosmos and our quest to make sense of and organise our knowledge about it, that we now turn.
Continue reading “‘The Sum Total of All Human Knowledge’, Part II”

‘The Sum Total of All Human Knowledge’, Part I

Finding our place in space and time

As noted in the earlier post describing heuristic principles for scanning, for most of the run of the Master of Strategic Foresight at Swinburne we used to say—to new students starting in the first unit—that Futures Studies begins with ‘the sum total of all human knowledge’ (Hayward, Voros, and Morrow 2012, p184), before it then asks, whether implicitly or explicitly: “now what?” It would therefore seem to make sense, then, to have some way of organising the sum total of all human knowledge into some sort of more-or-less coherent schema, in order that one might begin to get to grips with what is, after all, merely the starting point of the vast multidisciplinary field of Futures Studies (FS).
Continue reading “‘The Sum Total of All Human Knowledge’, Part I”

FuturePod “re-interview”

My “re-interview” over at FuturePod is now up.

My old foresight co-conspirator Peter ‘Captain Foresight’ Hayward and I catch up on what’s been happening since the first FuturePod interview more than two years ago (ep.18). Of course, I am now a post-academia ex-academic since becoming one of the “COVID redundancies” imposed upon the Australian university sector last year. It should come as no surprise that the current scanning retrospective and the concept of “futures intelligence analysis” feature pretty strongly in that chat.

It was a great deal of fun to do, and hopefully will be interesting both to FuturePod listeners, as well as readers of this blog who head over there. If you are one of the latter, do have a look around on FuturePod. Apart from Peter, they’re all former students of mine (and Peter’s), so it’s wonderful to see the ‘next generation’ of ‘foresight folks’ coming up…

There’s a science-fiction tie-in there, surely: “FuturePod, The Next Generation…”

https://www.futurepod.org/podcast/ep-109

 

Erich Jantsch’s 90th birthday…

Image of EJ relaxing in a chair during an interview.
Erich Jantsch, May 1972 from NW Mag (presumably taken during that interview, as a tape recorder is visible on the table before him). With many thanks to Leah Sciabarrasi for permission to use it here. (https://leahonthelake.com/erich-jantsch-biography/)

would have been today (Capra 1981, p.151). Instead, the world lost an incomparable polymath and genius on 12 Dec 1980, less than a month before his 52nd birthday, and we are all much, much the poorer for that loss (Capra 1981, Linstone, Maruyama & Kaje 1981, Zeleny 1981). Continue reading “Erich Jantsch’s 90th birthday…”

Q&A with a (Big History) Futurist

Here is a Q&A I did with Kathryn Ford, Project Coordinator at the Big History Institute at Macquarie University, for Issue 6 of the BHI newsletter, Threshold 9.

Interestingly, ‘Threshold 9’ (i.e., the ‘next’ Threshold in the 8-so-far main Thresholds of Big History) has been on my research agenda for quite a few years now, so it is a great pleasure to be able to talk more widely about the broader long-term future (as well as Threshold 9) in an issue of BHI’s Threshold 9 😉

I hope you enjoy it. Once the videos from the conference are uploaded, I’ll be writing about and linking to some of them in later posts.

Until then, remember: “keep looking to the future”. (I wonder what that would be in Latin 😉

Big History Institute newsletter Threshold 9 Issue 6: Q&A with a Futurist.

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