Brain Crack

Hello Internet, a podcast by YouTube star CGP Grey and Brady Haran, is climbing rather quickly on my favorites list. Check it out if you’re interested in web culture. In episode #16, CGP shares the concept of “brain crack”, coined by vlogging pioneer Ze Frank. I found the original video from 2006 on YouTube, and here’s a mildly edited transcription of CGP explaining what it is:

[41:36] This is from Ze Frank from ages ago, and his best episode is this episode where he talks about the notion of brain crack, and it’s a very useful thing to think about: The idea is that what can happen sometimes if you make things is that, you have an idea… and what can happen is over time, if you don’t actually work on that thing, you start to think about how good it will be, as opposed to thinking about “How am I going to get this thing done?” As time goes on, your kind of abstract notion of how good this thing will be becomes very large, and very outsized [sic] anything that could possibly happen.

I suffer from brain cracks very often, particularly with ambitious or longer essays. One good example is “The Future of Information”, a piece I plotted in my head for a very long time. By the time I began writing it, my expectations and perception of the idea had become so grandiose that I couldn’t possibly be satisfied, no matter how many times I re-wrote it or edited my text.

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