Follow-up: Musical Redemption

Re. the phenomenon described in the ‘Musical redemption’ post below, I thought of another, interesting manifestation of the same thing. It happens when I write notes to myself.

I normally walk around with a couple of blank record cards in my pocket. Whenever some stray thought hits me, I write it down. Sometimes, if I’m really enthusiastic about an idea, I put lots of exclamation marks on it, double underscore, that kind of thing.

Two weeks later, when I pull out the record card again and look it over, I am completely clueless as to what some of my own notes mean. I look at a note and think “Now what the hell was I thinking when I wrote that?” I literally cannot guess or remember what the idea was, based on my disjointed scribblings.

What I think happens here is the exact same thing as with the musical experiment, where the sender ‘fills out’ the communication with details in his own head. Me-in-the-past writes something down that makes perfect sense to myself, based on the tapestry of thoughts that I have in my head when I write it. Two weeks later, when me-in-the-future reads the note, the background thoughts are not there to inform the reading, making it a lot harder to remember what the note was supposed to mean. Me-in-the-past simply fails to see that the sentence “frame publish – slush!” will not necessarily be clear to me-in-the-future. For this reason, I have now started to write (what seems like) overly extensive notes to myself, with some success.

This, by the way, is an instance of something I find fascinating, namely intrapersonal communication – inTRApersonal, as in communicating with yourself. It is an entirely underestimated and underresearched area within the field of communication studies (where I originally come from). I actually wrote a brief 20-page university paper on intrapersonal communication back in 2003, but be warned, it’s in Danish. I might go more into this subject in a later post.

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