Tag Archive | Chunking

Explorers of Meaning

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What do you make of Austin Kleon’s idea ‘Steal like an artist’?”

“‘Stealing’ is a metaphor. Implicit to the concept of stealing is the concept of ownership. So implicit to ‘steal like an artist’ is the idea that ideas can be owned.

I reject this notion. We are part of a vast collective process [<link; short read], a form of collective play.

We are all playing in the same universe of meaning. We are all playing with the same building-blocks of meaning. We combine building-blocks to form new blocks, like children playing with Legos. (I call the underlying principle, Modularity.)

Some of the blocks we combine have emergent properties. An emergent block of meaning represents a higher-order level of organization [<link; short read]. Think how atoms combine to form cells, which combine to form emergent higher and higher-order living structures – the same process applies to meaning. (I call the underlying principle, Chunking.)

We are explorers of meaning.

Over the course of a lifetime, every human being can explore a tiny possibility space within the universe of meaning. Taken as a whole however, at the level of humanity, we can explore a vast possibility space – and the more interconnected the world becomes, the vaster this space.”

Levels of Organization

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

What do you mean by levels of organization? How are they different from levels of magnification [<link; medium read]?

Levels of magnification are based on scale.
Levels of organization are based on systems.

Every aspect of reality can be thought of as a series of nested systems. Systems within systems within systems.

Like those matryoshka dolls?


The smallest elements combine to form larger elements, which combine to form larger elements, which themselves combine to form larger and larger and larger elements.

I call this process Chunking

Every level of organization can be metaphorically thought of as a ‘chunk‘. A chunk is an emergent higher-order level that contains all lower-order levels.

I call the capacity of the elements to combine and form new configurations of elements with emergent properties, Modularity.

Some elements make better combinations than others. We might think of them as having a connectivity potential. I call this potential, Synergy.