Folders kill creativity

Thanks to traditional computer operating systems, folders have become ubiquitous. But folders are terrible for creativity.

  • Folders assume a specific piece of content fits into a unique, definable category.
  • Worse, you must categorize each piece of content, i.e. each piece of content must be placed in a folder. You can make copies, but then it's not the exact same piece of content, it becomes a separate entity.
  • This is extremely inefficient. If we applied the same "one file" = "one dedicated folder" concept to the human brain, it would mean each idea would have to be duplicated X amount of time to be available to each relevant part of the brain.
  • This leads to redundant ideas. Similar but not identical ideas are not bad—noticing that an idea keeps on coming up can actually be a great way to discover new patterns—but folders obfuscate the redundancy and thus prevent the discovery of such patterns.
  • Folders assume an artificial hierarchy between ideas/pieces of content. As a piece of content needs to be placed in a folder, and folders are always placed within a folder, creating a piece of content automatically implies positioning it within a rigid hierarchical structure.