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In Everything Is Miscellaneous, I use a famous quote from the famous Ted Nelson:

People keep pretending they can make things deeply hierarchical, categorizable, and sequential when they can’t. Everything is deeply intertwingled. (Cited on p. 125 of EiM)

In conversation, Scott Rosenberg said he had been trying to track down the actual source of the quote. I couldn’t help him, and I noted that on the “errata” page of my book’s Web site.

Now, Frank Hecker (see comments #3, #4, and especially #5) has figured it out, which required searching through several editions of Ted Nelson’s “Computer Lib/Machine Dreams.”

The quote I used mixes what Nelson wrote in the original 1974 edition with a sidebar quote from the 1987 edition. The 1974 edition says “everything is deeply intertwingled” twice (p. 45). The 1987 edition says:

Hierarchical and sequential structures, especially popular since Gutenberg, are usually forced and artificial. Intertwingularity is not generally acknowledged–people keep pretending they can make things hierarchical, categorizable and sequential when they can’t. (p. 31)

Next to that is a sidebar that quotes “Everything is deeply intertwingled” from the original edition. Note that the quote as I attributed it to Nelson does not contain the word “deeply.”

For more details, see Franks three comments on my Errata page.

Thank you, Frank! (PS: Wikipedia had the quotation wrong, too. Frank has fixed it.)

2 Responses to “Untwingling Nelson’s Intertwingularity quote”

  1. […] — I asked him if he knew its original source. He, too, found it hard to pin down, but now reports a definitive answer (courtesy Frank Frank Hecker — more details on Weinberger’s errata […]

  2. on 11 Jun 2007 at 1:50 pmJeff

    Hmmm. My notes from the 1987 edition have it on page 166 from the Computer Lib side. “Everything is deeply intertwingled.”

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