Alex Barnett blog


The Third Order of Order

I'm thoroughly enjoying David Weinberger's Everything Is Miscellaneous (The Power of the New Digital Disorder).

Weinberger has a canny knack for taking a subject matter I feel I'm already familiar with and yet illuminating and expressing facets of it in such a way as to greatly further and deepen my understanding of it. I'm storing the following quote from the chapters "Lumps and Splits" as I'm sure I'll want to reference it again - a great description of how knowledge and information is being transformed in its organization and interface:

"In the third order of order, a leaf can hang on many branches, it can hang on different branches for different people, and it can change branches for the same person if she decides to look at the subject differently. It's not that our knowledge of the world is taking some shape other than a tree or becoming some impossible-to-envision four-dimensional tree. In the third order of order, knowledge doesn't have a shape. There are just too many useful, powerful, and beautiful ways to make sense of our world."

If you haven't already done so, I recommend reading Weinberger's two other books, Small Pieces Loosely Joined and (co-authored) The Cluetrain Manifesto. And that reminds me, I need to update my LibraryThing.