The Art and Science of Excerpting

I am on a journey. I am still in the foothills and probably have not yet built a base camp. Am I climbing a mountain though?

I have collected bits and pieces but haven’t yet built anything with them.

What is that word?

Once upon a time Plato discussed what is writing. We have spent millennia arguing about this and I propose we have worked out the rough edges, but strangely are not teaching this explicitly and have got stuck in strange closed canyons when maybe we need to retrace our steps.

It has been argued that thoughts only become real when they are written down. This argument completely contradicts the Cartesian error “I think therefore I am”.1

Have we missed the purpose of edumacation? Is it to fill us up with facts and techniques or something else?

“When a clever man borrows a thought, I insist that he pay back with interest, that from his own he add twice what he received. I want him to be like the diamond that receives no ray of light that it does not embellish and multiply” (1 p 121).

Reading and writing are parts of processes to create something new. There are techniques, like bookkeeping and accountancy, to take specific types of drawing we call words, do things with them and produce new word drawings.

These well tried and tested techniques are not commonplace.

1. Cevolini, A. Forgetting Machines. Brill 389 (2016). Available at:

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