What is it about?

Aiming for completeness and consistency is honorable but futile - Gödel's is a newsletter about interweaving ideas and making decisions under uncertain conditions. I discuss knowledge management, mental models, and supporting Tools for Thought.

Why is it called Gödel's?

Kurt Gödel was a mathematician, philosopher, and logician. I first heard of him as a teenager when I discovered the book "Gödel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas R. Hofstadter.

During my studies, I was allowed to deal intensively with his incompleteness theorems, which taught me a life lesson.

Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems, developed by mathematician Kurt Gödel in the 1930s, are important concepts in mathematical logic and philosophy. Understanding their implications for "normal people" involves breaking down complex ideas into more relatable terms. Here's an explanation:

  1. No Complete and Consistent Set of Rules for Mathematics: The first theorem essentially states that for any sufficiently powerful mathematical system (like the one we use for arithmetic), there are true statements about numbers that cannot be proven within that system. This means that no set of rules or axioms can ever be both complete (able to prove every truth about numbers) and consistent (never proving any false statement).

  2. Limitations of Formal Systems: The second theorem says that no sufficiently powerful and consistent system can prove its own consistency. This means a mathematical system cannot use its own rules to prove that it won't lead to contradictions.

For the average person, these theorems remind us that there are limits to what we can know and prove. They highlight that our understanding of the world, even in a field as logical as mathematics, is inherently incomplete. It's a humbling reminder that there's always more to learn and explore, and that some mysteries may remain unsolvable.

Who am I?

I am 47, married, and have two children aged 17 and 19. I was born in Germany, spent the first ten years in Bielefeld, and then moved with my family to Cologne, where I still live.

I graduated from high school, did my community service in an environmental institute, and then studied computer science with a minor in business administration at the University of Bonn. I focused on computer security, networks, and finite-state models during my major. I wrote my diploma thesis cooperating with Fraunhofer about a Europe-wide computer security system.

Since then, I have worked in different roles (expert, project lead, executive) in the financial industry. First in information security, and later in architecture and quality assurance. 

I'm a knowledge worker, so I've long been interested in strategies, methods, and tools for efficiently storing, searching, and networking information. 

In early 2020, I became seriously ill with Covid-19. I was in a coma for more than four weeks and had to be kept alive in ICU with ECMO. After waking up, I could not stand, walk, or even open a water bottle. It took me months to recover. That was certainly the most drastic experience of my life. 

"Tools for Thought" have helped me find my way back to life.

I am pretty active on Twitter. If you like, feel free to follow me there. If you want to contact me, please write an E-Mail.

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Aiming for completeness and consistency is honorable but futile - Gödel’s is a newsletter about interweaving ideas and making decisions under uncertain conditions. I talk about knowledge management, mental models, and supporting Tools for Thought.


Father of two, husband. Computer scientist. Addicted to knowledge management and tool tinkering.