Radial, incremental, revisable

Last week I learned about a cognitive styles difference that I had not known before: “Radial” vs. “Cartesian” (M2M). While the latter is more absolutely oriented, the former focusses on relative, incremental, change.

I don’t yet understand how this difference may correlate to other styles differences discussed recently, like

  • preferences for tree vs. web or flat (#52, #62) structures,
  • nonlinear (#36) vs. linear or binary (#44) thinking,
  • right- vs. leftbrainers,
  • orality vs. literacy.

But I am sure that the incremental style very much accommodates blogging. Rather than waiting for a huge monolithic monograph to be finalized and perfected, bloggers deal with artefacts in a preliminary, revisable state.

This revisability property of digital artefacts is very important to me. In my elementary school in a small village, we used a slate and stylus for four years, where I could undo all errors simply wiping them out with my finger. The following 9 years with paper and fountain pen were difficult for me, and the teachers often wrote comments on my homework’s margin saying “think before you write!” or “battle ground!”. In the university, I used to create large overviews on heavy chain printer (IBM 1403) paper which was tearproof – and rubber proof.

Guess how I liked it when computer technology emerged that allowed me not only to overtype errors (IBM 3277) but allowed for many ways of revising and rearranging, e. g. moving around graphic shapes including their sticky connectors (see #28), or database records, or leaves of trees.

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