What is information?

Why manage information?

  • Mind like water

Personal knowledge management is embedded in a life management system.

  • What is a life management system?
    • GTD + PKMS

How do you start managing personal knowledge?

  • Understand what GTD is.


The meaning of the word “information” changes depending on philosophical, geographic, and practical contexts. However, in everyday language, the word “information” is often used as an abstract mass-noun that refers to any amount of data that is sent, received, stored, and manipulated in any medium. Everything we know about the world is based on information.

There are two main features of information.

  1. Information adds up. For example, the amount of information in two books is larger than the amount of information in one book.
  2. Information reduces uncertainty. The more we get information about something, the more our uncertainty is diminished to the point that it is gone.

To Do

  • Research how the concept of information is related to the theory of forms by Plato. [DONE]
  • Information can either be conceptual or abstract. The process of describing information I think is similar to the process of describing communication.


Adriaans, P. (2020). Information. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2020). Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2020/entries/information/

How information flows

A physical world exists.

A mental world exists.

The physical world and the mental world are metaphysically distinct.

The mental and physical world indirectly interact with each other.

Information is mental.

This means, that information is mind-dependent. It

Information always has a source

The source of information can either come from outside or inside ourselves

Information can be stored in different media

  • Text
    • Books
    • Emails
    • Social media posts
  • Audio
    • Podcasts
    • Interviews
    • Conversations
  • Video
    • Film
  • Images
    • Pictures
    • Drawings
  • Thought
    • Insights

We only know an information that has entered the field of our consciousness.

[Insert image of rectangle with a picture of a human head or brain inside and a dot labeled information]

Information gets processed through the mind.

Information gets imprinted in our mind through memory.

  • Use the analogy of tabula rasa

Information could influence behavior.

Information could continue to influence behavior as long as it stays in memory.

The human brain is not designed for optimal memory.

The human brain has a built-in mechanism that deletes memories that are less relevant. This is the reason why we eventually heal from trauma. However, this function could also lead to loss of important pieces of information (e.g., passwords, deadlines, insights, creative works).

To prevent the loss of important information that is relevant for future actions, we need to externalize it.

The easiest way to externalize information is to record it on a medium.

Externalization of information also allows us to have a “mind like water”, which is optimal for creativity, etc.

Aside from remembering important information, another benefit of externalization is that it frees the human brain to peform what it does best:

  • creativity
  • making connections
  • being present
  • enjoying life
  • being happy
  • doing art

David Allen calls this “Mind like water.

There are efficient and inefficient ways of externalizing information.

Efficient ways of externalizing information almost always involve the use of appropriate tools and an efficient workflow.

[Insert quote about our addiction to memorization instead of learning through tools]