Theory

"Throw" meaning explained

The Treefactor workflow is loosely based on Brainstorm, a proprietary Windows application about as old as Emacs. In Brainstorm, refiling text was called a "throw", because one throws text to a location, like throwing a ball.

Obligatory acknowledgment to programmers: The word "throw" has a pre-existing Emacs meaning - "throw" is a built-in function in Emacs' C source code. In general "throw" is coder jargon for an unrelated concept. Please set it aside.

In both Brainstorm and Treefactor, throwing text is more like packing a house for a move than putting files into a filing cabinet. When you move, you throw your screwdrivers into the "garage" box, and later at the destination you unpack the box and put the screwdrivers in their final destination. This act of throwing the screwdrivers into the "garage" box is an imprecise incomplete refiling. You finish the refiling through a series of incremental steps. E.g. the box is carried to the van, the van drives to the house, the boxes are unloaded, the box is moved into the new garage, etc.

In traditional refiling, the item goes directly to its final destination. This is like putting pieces of paper into a filing cabinet full of folders. If you miss, it gets lost. For example, if you put your dishwasher warranty into your Medical folder, you aren't likely to find it again.

Imprecise inductive filing is more error-tolerant. If you put your screwdriver with your silverware, you will probably notice the mistake when unpacking the kitchen box.

Why is it imprecise? When throwing objects with Treefactor, you usually don't see exactly where they end up. For example, when throwing to a file, you don't see the parent heading. When throwing to an outline, you don't see the adjacent child headings. This is similar to throwing an object into a box.

Imprecise refiles are handy because they require less thought. You don't need to know anything more than the information currently on the screen in order to "throw" the object in the right general direction. You don't need to know the exact layout of your new house in order to put stuff in the "garage" box.

An accumulation of imprecise refiles eventually results in precise refiling, without the usual accompanying mental friction of one-step precise refiling. The correct meta-outline structure is discovered inductively and experimentally rather than deductively and theoretically. By becoming protean, the meta outline need only meet the priorities of the present, because it can evolve in response to future needs.

In short, streamlining meta-outline evolution permits a 10x greater daily text processing capacity. In evolutionary terms, this marks the end of an era in personal information management. Bigger-brained bipeds are an extinction event.

Usually, deciding where to throw an object is so easy it's almost trivial. It's hard to believe something so small could amount to so much. But supercomputers are only built of 1s and 0s, and the Sahara from grains of sand.

Treefactor is the easiest way to impart the human intelligence to a computer that it inherently lacks. It tells the computer: "This text doesn't belong here, it goes thataway." Repeating this instruction at scale makes the meta-outline a synchronized exobrain - a Textmind.