This interesting essay explores the “Ghost in the Box” metaphor and how it applies to a Zettelkasten. The main idea (as I understand it) is that when you build a complex system of notes, they appear unfinished and confusing when others view them, but to you, they’re useful and full of insight. It is the time and effort that makes the system useful and increases your understanding. When you move your Zettelkasten from one tool to another or analog to digital, you’re potentially replacing the core piece of what made it special.
We are now entering the paradox of the Ship of Theseus. Imagine a ship leaving the harbour with a certain set of parts. During the journey, parts break down and are replaced by new ones. When the ship returns home, all parts are replaced by new ones. Is the ship still the same? And if not: at which moment does the ship become another one?