About this website
I am often overwhelmed by the wealth of information on the internet. By creating this website, I attempt to categorise, summarise and comment on this daunting heap of information. This website is intended to be a personal, digital commonplace
. It contains essays on various topics and reviews and summaries of books. In addition, it consists of a section in which numerous websites have been listed within categories I deem appropriate. Furthermore, this website was inspired by Gwern
, whose work I greatly admire. He has written an enormous amount of essays on numerous topics. Many of these essays demonstrate an ability of his to look at subjects from an original angle and to -- excuse me for the cliché -- think outside the box.
Although I've made this website mainly for myself, I hope others can benefit from it too. I've been surfing the web for quite a while now and I have spent an inordinate amount of time doing so. One of the websites I've been using often is Quora
(see my profile
here), which is why there is a section on this website solely dedicated to that website. It contains numerous questions I bookmarked over there over the years.
I've also been active the follow websites:
Hopefully, these accounts will tell you that I'm quite a curious person. I'm interested in a wide range of topics and I often think of questions about them I can't answer myself.
Apart from being naturally curious, I also like to write. Some important reasons for why some people like to write were laid out by George Orwell in his essay "Why I write" (1946, link
). These reasons are (i) sheer egoism, (ii) aesthetic enthusiasm, (iii) historical impulse (which, in his words, means: “[A] desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity”), and (iv) political purpose. Though I certainly admit that all of these reasons apply to me, too, I feel there are additional reasons that propel me to write.
First of all: writing something down forces one to formulate how one thinks about things. It therefore aids you in organizing your thoughts. I might daringly add that writing something down can create new thoughts and opinions you hadn't had before, too. A quote that succinctly puts this idea has often been (probably mistakenly
) attributed to William Faulkner, who allegedly said: “I never know what I think about something until I read what I've written on it”. Though -- at least in my case -- it's a bit of an exaggeration, I think there is is some truth to it. This is especially the case when one writes about complex matters.
Second: as I described in the first paragraph, I have a sense that the amount of information on the internet -- but also in books and articles -- sometimes engulfs me. In order to stay afloat, I find that it helps me to write about what I read and observe. Not only does it give me some comfort in (the illusion of) the idea that I can bring chaos into order, it also helps me to remember things. This is the third reason for why I write. I think it's a shame to forget all of those wonderful things one has read or seen. So, in a way, this website is also a bit of a memory palace.