175 Matching Annotations
  1. Apr 2024
    1. “I have youth spies, people that report to me and I give them poppers for good information. But mostly I’m still interested in life. I don’t think it was better when I was young. I think the kids that are 15 and getting into trouble are having as much fun as I did. So I’m still curious. I don’t have fear of flying. I have fear of not flying. Always thinking that tomorrow is going to be better than yesterday.”

      It may require having something like "youth spies" to keep up with the more interesting parts of contemporary culture, and these can be used for expanding one's combinatorial creativity horizon.

    1. History of the United States (1834)

      this example of an autocomplete of 1834 tagging is a spectacular and phenomenally useful example of combinatorial creativity with respect to poverty and historical research... of course, following it along with some useful outcome(s) would add additional power, but even the small suggestion here is spectacular.

      https://hypothes.is/a/Gt38VOpFEe6oqSPHU9gL7A

  2. Mar 2024
    1. Likewise, we “trusted the process,” but the process didn’t save Toy Story 2 either. “Trust theProcess” had morphed into “Assume that the Process Will Fix Things for Us.” It gave ussolace, which we felt we needed. But it also coaxed us into letting down our guard and, in theend, made us passive. Even worse, it made us sloppy.

      Compare "trust the process" as a guiding principle with "let go and let God" which has a much more random and chaotic potential set of outcomes.

  3. Jan 2024
    1. ( 1) The rearranging of the file, as I have already said, isone way. One simply dumps out heretofore disconnectedfolders, mixing up their contents, and then re-sorts themmany times. How often and how extensively one does thiswill of course vary with different problems and the devel-opment of their solutions. But in general the mechanics ofit are as simple as that.

      The first part of "sociological imagination" for Mills is what I term combinatorial creativity. In his instance, at varying intervals he dumps out disconnected ideas, files and resorts them to find interesting potential solutions.

  4. Dec 2023
    1. Das Bemerkenswerte an dieser Aussage ist, dass sie klar zum Ausdruck bringt, was wir in system-theoretischen Begriffen als Produktion von Komplexität durch Selektion bezeichnen könnten. DerGrundgedanke ist, dass der Zettelkasten, wenn er richtig eingerichtet ist, in der Lage sein muss, vielmehr Komplexität zu erzeugen, als in den Zettelkasten eingeführt worden ist. Das ist eben der Fall,wenn seine Innenstruktur, wie Luhmann (1992a, S. 66) es formuliert hat, „selbständige kombinatori-sche Leistungen“ ermöglicht, so dass das, was der Zettelkasten bei jeder Abfrage mitzuteilen hat, im-mer viel mehr ist, als der Benutzer selbst im Kopf hatte.

      machine translation:

      The remarkable thing about this statement is that it clearly expresses what we might call, in systems theory terms, the production of complexity by selection. The basic idea is that the Zettelkasten, when set up correctly, must be able to generate much more complexity than was introduced into the Zettelkasten. This is precisely the case if its internal structure, as Luhmann (1992a, p. 66) put it, enables “independent combinatorial performances”, so that what the Zettelkasten has to communicate with each query is always much more than that user himself had in mind.


      Perhaps a usable quote to support my own theory, but certainly nothing new to me.

      Perhaps some interesting overlap with Ashby's law of requisite variety here? Perhaps an inverse version for creating variety and complexity?

    2. Dieser Aspekt war den gebildeten Menschen der frühen Neuzeit nicht entgangen. Am Ende des 18.Jahrhunderts hatte Christoph Meiners (1791, S. 91) darauf hingewiesen, dass „selbst die Vereinigungvon so vielen Factis und Gedanken, als man in vollständigen Excerpten zusammengebracht hat, eineMenge von Combinationen und Aussichten [veranläßt], die man sonst niemals gemacht oder erhaltenhätte“.

      Machine translation:

      This aspect was not lost on the educated people of the early modern period. At the end of the 18th century, Christoph Meiners (1791, p. 91) had pointed out that “even the union of as many facts and ideas as have been brought together in complete excerpts [causes] a multitude of combinations and prospects that otherwise never made or received would have".

      Find the Meiners reference and look more closely at his version of combinatorial creativity with respect to excerpts.

      See: Meiners, Christoph. 1791. Anweisungen für Jünglinge zum eigenen Arbeiten besonders zum Lesen, Excerpiren, und Schreiben. Hannover: In der Helwingschen Hofbuchhandlung.

    3. In der Maschine hingegen ist die Ordnung des Wissens in alphabetisch geordneten Einträgen auf-gelöst. Das heißt, es gibt keine Hierarchie und keine besondere Struktur außer der der völlig konventi-onellen alphabetischen Ordnung. Der entscheidende Effekt dieser Auflösung besteht darin, dass diekombinatorischen Möglichkeiten dramatisch steigen und das Wissen auf unvorhersehbare Weise aufsich selbst reagieren kann.

      Machine translation:

      In the machine, however, the order of knowledge is broken down into alphabetically ordered entries. That is, there is no hierarchy and no particular structure other than that of the completely conventional alphabetical order. The crucial effect of this dissolution is that combinatorial possibilities increase dramatically and knowledge can react on itself in unpredictable ways.

      Cevolini suggests that by removing knowledge from traditional rhetorical geographical commonplaces new combinations of knowledge were more likely to occur. There was no hierarchy other than conventional alphabetical order.

      I would suggest that he's on the wrong track as these combinations both then and now could certainly have been done by moving the excerpts around via slips or even looking things up while flipping pages. He also seems to be unaware of Llull's mnemonic techniques which specifically seemed to be designed to increase combinatorial creativity.

  5. Nov 2023
    1. The ‘size’ of facts served a dream of information recombination, and was served bythe card form. Other advocates of Zettelkasten like Johann Jacob Moser (1701–1785)remarked that fairly small facts meant the mass of information was broken down to itsindividual components and thus could be constantly reshuffled in a ‘game of cards’(Krajewski, 2011: 53-5).

      suggestion of recombination of individual notes using cards to create something new

      (have I remarked on this in krajewski?) ᔥ Johann Jacob Moser commented on the ability to breakdown bodies of information into smaller pieces that might be reshuffled into new configurations as one might in a 'game of cards'.

  6. Oct 2023
    1. In Re: to folgezettel or not? in an unlogged chat:

      Zettelkasten (slips) or not (commonplaces, notebooks, paper, files, other), you're going to have a variety of related ideas which you'll juxtapose, especially if you're regularly writing. Those who practice folgezettel are putting in some of the work/heavy lifting from the start versus those who don't and are leaving the work until some later point closer to composition. Folgezettel also helps to encourage the emergence of ideas, but requires work to do so. This doesn't mean that this emergence or new ideas may not arrive without Folgezettel and/or Zettelkasten, but one needs to have some process or affordances which help to foster them. Victor Margolin's process put more of his work on the back end in comparison to Luhmann, but his version obviously works all the same. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxyy0THLfuI

    1. Wenn Sie nun einen Aufsatz zu schreiben beginnen, wie setzen Siedann Ihren Zettelkasten in Funktion?Da mache ich mir zunächst einen Plan für das, was ich schreibenwill, und hole dann aus dem Zettelkasten das heraus, was ich ge-brauchen kann.Im Gegensatz zu einem Baumeister, der ausschließlich vorgefer-tigte Teile zusammenmontiert, muß ein Wissenschaftler doch auchneue Ideen haben, die nicht bereits in den einzelnen Teilen enthal-ten sind. Solche Ideen kommen ja nicht aus einem Zettelkasten?Doch. Ich habe zum Beispiel eine große Menge von Zetteln zumBegriff "funktionale Differenzierung", ich habe ebenfalls eine Reihevon Notizen über "selbstreferentielle Systeme", und ich habe einengroßen Komplex von Notizen über "Binarität". Im Augenblick sitzeich an einem Vortrag über ökologische Probleme in modernenGesellschaften, und meine Arbeit besteht darin, Zettel aus den skiz-zierten drei begrifflichen Bereichen zu sichten und so zu kombinie-ren, daß ich etwas Substantielles zu diesem Thema sagen kann. Dieneuen Ideen ergeben sich dann aus den verschiedenen Kombina-tionsmöglichkeiten der Zettel zu den einzelnen Begriffen. Ohne dieZettel, also allein durch Nachdenken, würde ich auf solche Ideennicht kommen. Natürlich ist mein Kopf erforderlich, um die Einfällezu notieren, aber er kann nicht allein dafür verantwortlich gemachtwerden. Insofern arbeite ich wie ein Computer, der ja auch in demSinne kreativ sein kann, daß er durch die Kombination eingegebe-ner Daten neue Ergebnisse produziert, die so nicht voraussehbar

      waren. Diese Technik, so glaube ich, erklärt auch, warum ich überhaupt nicht linear denke und beim Bücherschreiben Mühe habe, die richtige Kapitelfolge zu finden, weil eigentlich ja jedes Kapitel in jedem anderen Kapitel wieder vorkommen müßte

      Niklas Luhmann's process for writing from his box

      Machine translation:

      Q: When you start writing an essay, how do you put your note box to work?

      I first make a plan for what I want to write and then take out what I can use from the note box.

      Q: In contrast to a builder who only assembles prefabricated parts, a scientist must also have new ideas that are not already contained in the individual parts. Ideas like these don't come from a note box?

      But. For example, I have a large set of notes on the term "functional differentiation", I also have a set of notes on "self-referential systems", and I have a large set of notes on "binarity". At the moment I am giving a lecture on ecological problems in modern societies, and my work consists of sifting through pieces of paper from the three conceptual areas outlined and combining them so that I can say something substantive on this topic. The new ideas then arise from the different possible combinations of the pieces of paper for the individual terms. Without the notes, just by thinking about it, I wouldn't come up with ideas like that. Of course my mind is required to record the ideas, but it cannot be held solely responsible for them. In this respect, I work like a computer, which can also be creative in the sense that by combining input data it produces new results that could not have been predicted. I think this technique also explains why I don't think linearly at all and why I have trouble finding the right sequence of chapters when writing books, because every chapter should actually appear in every other chapter.

    1. Just bychanging something, the desire often gets fulfilled.
    2. It’s interesting to seehow these unrelated things live together. And it gets your mindworking. How do these things relate when they seem so far apart? Itconjures up a third thing that almost unifies those first two. It’s astruggle to see how this unity in the midst of diversity could go towork.The ocean is the unity and these things float on it.
    3. New ideas can come along during the process, too. And a film isn’tfinished until it’s finished, so you’re always on guard. Sometimesthose happy accidents occur. They may even be the last pieces ofthe puzzle that allow it all to come together. And you feel so thankful:How in the world did this happen?
    4. When we were shooting the pilot for Twin Peaks, we had a setdresser named Frank Silva. Frank was never destined to be in TwinPeaks, never in a million years.

      Because Frank Silva was a proverbial slip in David Lynch's living zettelkasten process, he ended up appearing in Twin Peaks by way of the serendipity of Lynch's method of combinatorial creativity.

    1. These storage media further increasedthe flexible use of Fontane’s archival items, because they allowed allkinds of differently sized material to be kept on loose sheets in unboundform. Receptacles filled with discrete textual objects, such as note closets( Zettelschrä nke ) and slip boxes (Zettelkasten), are advantageous storagemedia for compilers, for they invite the generative process of reshufflingsources and creating textual patchwork from new combinations. 56 Infact, Fontane used his paper sleeves like a large- format slip box. Inthem, he stored material for the Wanderungen, but also for novels,novellas, and autobiographical writings on individual sheets. 57 Theexample “Figur in einer Berliner Novelle” (“Character in a BerlinNovella”), a folio sheet from Fontane’s Nachlass, provides a glimpse ofhow he formatted his material and indicates how important he found itto keep it in slip-like form (Figure 3.2).
  7. Sep 2023
    1. Creating a "signpost user interface" can help to uncover directions to take in digital contexts as out of sight is out of mind. Having things sit in your way within one's note taking workflow can remind them to either link things, or move in particular directions for discovering new avenues of thought.

      Example: it would be interesting if Jerry's The Brain would have links directly to material in Flancian's Agora to remind him to search or find relevant material there. This could help with combinatorial creativity with inputs from others, though it needs to be narrow so as not to result in rabbit holes which draw away attention.

      Link to: https://hypothes.is/a/iQvo7l1zEe6dZ5_9d9rrVw

    1. Since speed-reading has become a national fad, this new edition of How to Read a Book deals with the prob­lem and proposes variable-speed-reading as the solution, the aim being to read better, always better, but sometimes slower, sometimes faster.

      Framing of his book as a remedy to the speed reading fad in the 1970s...

      What did those books at the time indicate that their purpose was? Were they aimed at helping people consume more (hopefully with greater comprehension?) while there was a continuing glut of information overload building up in society?

      Which is better, more deep understanding of less or more surface understanding of more? How does combinatorial creativity effect the choice?

    1. My main purpose for using note-cards is to form lines of poetry into actual poems. Currently it's specifically erotic poetry that I'm writing, so it seems like there is a limited number of categories that I keep coming back to in regards to content: beauty, fashion, movement, relationship, etc, which I've put on the top of my index cards. This is based off of Ryan Holiday and Robert Greene's index card systems. I've also added subcategories: for example, beauty and myth, beauty and plant associations, etc. Going deeper, I might write B-P-F in the corner for Beauty-Plant-Flower, and then have BPF-1, 2, etc. If I organize these alphabetically with tabs, it seems like it would be easy to find the subject I'm looking for at a glance. One problem might be if I want to start making additional notes about which cards stand out for their structure: rhyme, alliteration, etc. Have various ideas for this.My questions are: what is the benefit of having an alphanumeric indexing system where you label subjects with 1, 2, 3, and then going deeper with 1a, 1a1, etc. when it seems like it would be harder to remember that science is #1 and philosophy is #2 vs. just putting science under S and philosophy under P? Is the Zettelkasten (alphanumeric) method better for creating a wide-ranging general knowledge database in a way I'm not realizing? Would there be any benefit for my narrower writing purpose? Any responses are appreciated.

      reply to u/DunesNSwoon at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/16ad43u/zettelkasten_alphanumeric_method_vs_alphabetical/

      Allow me an iconoclastic view for this subreddit: Given what you've got and your creative use case, I'll recommend you do not do any numbering or ordering at all!

      Instead follow the path of philosopher Raymond Llull and create what is sometimes referred to as a Llullian memory wheel. Search for one of his diagrams from the 11th century. Then sift through your cards for interesting ones and place one of your cards at each of the many letters, numbers, words, images, or "things" on the wheels, which were designed to move around a central axis much like a child's cryptographic decoder wheel based on the Caesar cipher. Then move things about combinatorically until you find interesting patterns, rhymes, rhythms, etc. to compose the poetry you're after.

      Juxtaposing ideas in random (but structured) ways may help accelerate and amplify your creativity in ways you might not expect.

      They meant them to be used on a slower timescale, but Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt's Oblique Strategies are not too dissimilar in their effect. You might find them useful when you're creatively "stuck". As a poet you might also create a mini deck of cards with forms on them (sonnet, rhymed couplets, villanelle, limerick, etc.) to draw from at random and attempt to compose something to fit it. Odd constraints can often be helpful creative tools.

  8. Aug 2023
    1. Imagine the younger generation studying great books andlearning the liberal arts. Imagine an adult population con-tinuing to turn to the same sources of strength, inspiration,and communication. We could talk to one another then. Weshould be even better specialists than we are today because wecould understand the history of our specialty and its relationto all the others. We would be better citizens and better men.We might turn out to be the nucleus of the world community.

      Is the cohesive nature of Hutchins and Adler's enterprise for the humanities and the Great Conversation, part of the kernel of the rise of interdisciplinarity seen in the early 2000s onward in academia (and possibly industry).

      Certainly large portions are the result of uber-specialization, particularly in spaces which have concatenated and have allowed people to specialize in multiple areas to create new combinatorial creative possibilities.

    1. N+7 algorithm used by the Oulipo writers. This algorithm replaces every noun—every person, place, or thing—in Hacking the Academy with the person, place, or thing—mostly things—that comes seven nouns later in the dictionary. The results of N+7 would seem absolutely nonsensical, if not for the disruptive juxtapositions, startling evocations, and unexpected revelations that ruthless application of the algorithm draws out from the original work. Consider the opening substitution of Hacking the Academy, sustained throughout the entire book: every instance of the word academy is literally an accident.

      How might one use quirky algorithms in interestingly destructive or even generative ways to combinatorially create new things?

  9. Jul 2023
    1. Both of these stories captures something we all understand on a deep intuitive level, but our creative egos sort of don’t really want to accept: And that is the idea that creativity is combinatorial, that nothing is entirely original, that everything builds on what came before, and that we create by taking existing pieces of inspiration, knowledge, skill and insight that we gather over the course of our lives and recombining them into incredible new creations.

      as scalable/building on previous knowledge

    1. a conver-sation that has gone on for twenty-five centuries, all dogmasand points of view appear.

      Does it really?!? When the conversation omits so many perspectives and points of view for lack of diversity, it's also going to be missing quite a lot that one may not anticipate either. It's also likely to go down some blind alleys that may not be as beneficial too.

  10. Jun 2023
  11. May 2023
    1. I like to imagine that Bob Ross lends his voice to point to the “happy accidents” that happen while working with Zettelkastens.

      Bob Ross' "happy accidents" tied to the idea of serendipity or the outcome of combinatorial creativity within a zettelkasten.

      Ross's version is related to experimentation and the idea of adjacent possible. Taking a current known and extending it to see what will happening and accepting the general outcome. This was one of the roots of his creative process.

    1. @Will Thanks for always keeping up with your regular threads and considerations.

      I've been keeping examples of people talking about the "magic of note taking" for a bit. I appreciate your perspectives on it. Personally I consider large portions of it to be bound up with the ideas of what Luhmann termed as "second memory", the use of ZK to supplement our memories, and the serendipity of combinatorial creativity. I've traced portions of it back to the practices of Raymond Llull in which he bound up old mnemonic techniques with combinatorial creativity which goes back to at least Seneca.

      A web search for "combinatorial creativity" may be useful, but there's a good attempt at what it entails here: https://fs.blog/seneca-on-combinatorial-creativity/

    2. The magic comes from the repetition of adding your thoughts to the notes you take and reviewing notes regularly.

      Will Simpson feels that the magic of note taking stems from "the repetition of adding your thoughts to the notes you take and reviewing notes regularly".

      I think it sems more from the serendipitous connections and resultant combinatorial creativity.

    1. Combinational creativity: the myth of originality

      Noticing that the title of this isn't original itself (or is it?) There's a similar post entitled "Combinatorial Creativity and the Myth of Originality" by Maria Popova at https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/combinatorial-creativity-and-the-myth-of-originality-114843098/

      Perhaps the William Inge quote is incredibly apropos here: https://hypothes.is/a/Fvkz-i8rEe2hJYM4oINfpw

    1. I get by when I work by accumulating notes—a bit about everything, ideas cap-tured on the fly, summaries of what I have read, references, quotations . . . Andwhen I want to start a project, I pull a packet of notes out of their pigeonhole anddeal them out like a deck of cards. This kind of operation, where chance plays arole, helps me revive my failing memory.16

      via: Didier Eribon, Conversations with Claude Lévi-Strauss (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), vii–viii; Claude Lévi-Strauss, Structural Anthropology (New York: Basic Books, 1963), 129f.

    1. Even three or four words are often worth jotting down if they will evoke a thought, an idea or a mood. In the barren periods, one should browse through the notebooks. Some ideas may suddenly start to move. Two ideas may combine, perhaps because they were meant to combine in the first place. —Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction
  12. Apr 2023
    1. The Medici effect is a concept that describes the way in which innovation arises from the intersection of different disciplines and ideas. The term was coined by author Frans Johansson in his book “The Medici Effect: What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation”. The Medici family of Renaissance-era Florence is used as an example of the way in which the intersection of different disciplines, such as art, science, and finance, led to a period of great innovation and cultural advancement. Similarly, Johansson argues that innovation today is more likely to occur when people from different backgrounds and disciplines come together to share ideas and collaborate. The Medici effect highlights the importance of diversity, curiosity, and creativity in driving innovation and problem-solving.

      Frans Johansson's "Medici effect" which describes innovation arriving from an admixture of diversity of people and their ideas sounds like a human-based mode of combinatorial creativity similar to that seen in the commonplace book/zettelkasten traditions. Instead of the communication occurring between a person and their notes or written work, the communication occurs between people.

      How is the information between these people crystalized? Some may be written, some may be in prototypes and final physical products, while some may simply be stored in the people themselves for sharing and re-sharing over time.

    1. Without variation on given ideas, there are no possibilities of scrutiny and selection of innovations. Therefore, the actual challenge becomes generating incidents with sufficiently high chances of selection.

      The value of a zettelkasten is as a tool to actively force combinatorial creativity—the goal is to create accidents or collisions of ideas which might have a high chance of being discovered and selected for.

    2. But if you think in evolutionary models, randomness has a prominent role. (9)9 Without it, nothing progresses anyhow.

      Nothing progresses without randomness.


      Think about this for a bit. True/untrue? Provable? Counterexamples?

    3. The Zettelkasten provides combinatorial possibilities that were never planned, never pre-meditated, or never designed in this way.
  13. Mar 2023
    1. In the fall of 2015, she assigned students to write chapter introductions and translate some texts into modern English.

      Perhaps of interest here, would not be a specific OER text, but an OER zettelkasten or card index that indexes a variety of potential public domain or open resources, articles, pieces, primary documents, or other short readings which could then be aggregated and tagged to allow for a teacher or student to create their own personalized OER text for a particular area of work.

      If done well, a professor might then pick and choose from a wide variety of resources to build their own reader to highlight or supplement the material they're teaching. This could allow a wider variety of thinking and interlinking of ideas. With such a regiment, teachers are less likely to become bored with their material and might help to actively create new ideas and research lines as they teach.

      Students could then be tasked with and guided to creating a level of cohesiveness to their readings as they progress rather than being served up a pre-prepared meal with a layer of preconceived notions and frameworks imposed upon the text by a single voice.

      This could encourage students to develop their own voices as well as to look at materials more critically as they proceed rather than being spoon fed calcified ideas.

    1. we create (knowledge) tools to measure how good we are, and avoid just feeling good (Collector's Fallacy).

      Collecting for collections' sake is a fools errand. Collecting to connect and create is where the magic happens.

  14. Feb 2023
    1. He understood that the writing of a thesis forcedmany students outside of their cultural comfort zone, andthat if the shock was too sudden or strong, they would giveup.

      The writing of a thesis is a shock to many specifically because information overload has not only gotten worse, but because the underlying historical method of doing so has either been removed from the educational equation or so heavily watered down that students don't think to use it.

      When I think and write about "note taking" I'm doing it in a subtly different way and method than how it seems to be used in common parlance. Most seem to use it solely for information extraction and as a memory crutch which they may or may not revisit to memorize or use and then throw away. I do it for some of these reasons, but my practice goes far beyond this for generating new ideas, mixing up ideas creatively, and for writing. Note reuse seems to be the thing missing from the equation. It also coincidentally was the reason I quit taking notes in college.

    1. Und doch fand er darin nie das, was er eigentlich suchte, sondern etwas Neues, Überraschendes.

      google translate:

      And yet he never found what he was actually looking for, but something new and surprising.

      While you'll only find in your zettelkasten exactly what you placed there, you may be surprised to find more than you expected.

    1. If I were going to use an AI, I'd want to plugin and give massive priority to my commonplace book and personal notes followed by the materials I've read, watched, and listened to secondarily.

    2. language models are incredible "yes, and" machines, allowing writers to quickly explore seemingly unlimited variations on their ideas.
    3. We like to describe Wordcraft as a "magic text editor". It's a familiar web-based word processor, but under the hood it has a number of LaMDA-powered writing features that reveal themselves depending on the user's activity.

      The engineers behind Wordcraft refer to it "as a 'magic text editor'". This is a cop-out for many versus a more concrete description of what is actually happening under the hood of the machine.

      It's also similar, thought subtly different to the idea of the "magic of note taking" by which writers are taking about ideas of emergent creativity and combinatorial creativity which occur in that space.

    1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incremental_reading

      Incremental reading is spaced parallel reading of multiple sources with note taking and spaced repetition.


      It's not far from how I read and take notes myself, though I place less emphasis on the spaced repetition piece as I tend to run across things naturally within my note collection anyway.


      One of the major potential benefits of incremental reading (not mentioned in the Wikipedia article; is it in Wozniak's work?) is the increase of combinatorial creativity created by mixing a variety of topics simultaneously.

      There is also likely a useful diffuse thinking effect happening between reading sessions.

  15. Jan 2023
    1. What are your goals for creating your zettelkasten? .t3_10mha0u._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }
    1. Re"...what is it like? How does it manifest?"For me, the idea that my zettelkasten becomes an entity outside myself is most often (and most obviously) felt in two situations (tho there are probably others):When I'm importing new ideas and a connection arises that I hadn't thought of previouslyWhen following trains of thought and connections arise that I didn't overtly intend to makeIn the first instance, I come across ideas I had forgotten about, and although it's not the direction I assumed the new idea would go, it becomes an exciting and possibly more lucrative way to take it.In the second instance, where I might be tracing a thought line to develop an article, I might, for example, zoom in on the graph view in Obsidian and see an idea that, while not formally connected to the ones I'm following, happens to be in close proximity spatially, and so it triggers a new direction I might want to take the article. (You can see this happen IRL in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OUn2-h6oVc&)In both cases, my zk feels like it's offering me more than what I would have gotten had I not been communicating with it. There is a sense that I and it are working together. I import new ideas with a rough sense of how they should connect. It shows alternatives to my thinking on the matter.Obviously, in both cases, all the ideas are my own. So, the zk is not necessarily developing ideas for me. But, because of the way in which the ideas are handled—non-hierarchically, rhizomatic, cross-categorical, cross-theme, etc.—non-habituated connections come to light, connections that are less conditioned by my own conventional ways of thinking.

      A good description from Bob Doto.

    1. For a while, I forgot how fun it is to talk to users People seem to intuitively help you if you build something useful for them. And they come up with better ideas than you do.

      Peter Hagen, 2022-08-24 https://twitter.com/peterhagen_/status/1562535573134254080

      One can dramatically increase their potential combinatorial creativity not only by having their own ideas run into each other, for example in a commonplace book or card index/zettelkasten, but by putting them out into the world and allowing them to very actively interact with other people and their ideas.

      Reach, engagement and other factors may also help in the acceleration, but keep in mind that you also need to have the time and bandwidth to listen and often build context with those replies to be able to extract the ultimate real value out of those interactions.

    1. When I create a new note, I write and link it as usual. Then I call up a saved search in The Archive via shortcut. I then go through the notes of my favorites and see if the fresh note is usable for one of my favorites. In doing so, I make an effort to find a connection. This effort trains my divergent thinking.

      Sascha Fast juxtaposes his new notes with his own favorite problems to see if they have any connections with respect to improving on or solving them.

      This practice is somewhat similar to Marshall Kirkpatrick's conceptualization of triangle thinking, but rather than being randomly generated with respect to each other, the new things are always generated toward important questions he's actively working on or toward.

      This helps to increase the changes of forward progress in specific areas rather than undirected random progress.

    2. Richard Feynman was fond of giving the following advice on how to be a genius. You have to keep a dozen of your favorite problems constantly present in your mind, although by and large they will lie in a dormant state. Every time you hear or read a new trick or a new result, test it against each of your twelve problems to see whether it helps. Every once in a while there will be a hit, and people will say, “How did he do it? He must be a genius!”

      Gian-Carlo Rota (1997): Ten Lessons I Wish I Had Been Taught, Notices of the American Mathematical Society 1, 1997, Vol. 44, pp. 22-25.

    1. Jan. 22. To set down such choice experiences that my own writingsmay inspire me and at last I may make wholes of parts. Certainly it isa distinct profession to rescue from oblivion and to fix the sentimentsand thoughts which visit all men more or less generally, that thecontemplation of the unfinished picture may suggest its harmoniouscompletion. Associate reverently and as much as you can with yourloftiest thoughts. Each thought that is welcomed and recorded is anest egg, by the side of which more will be laid. Thoughts accidentallythrown together become a frame in which more may be developedand exhibited. Perhaps this is the main value of a habit of writing, ofkeeping a journal,—that so we remember our best hours and stimulateourselves. My thoughts are my company. They have a certainindividuality and separate existence, aye, personality. Having bychance recorded a few disconnected thoughts and then brought theminto juxtaposition, they suggest a whole new field in which it waspossible to labor and to think. Thought begat thought.

      !!!!

      Henry David Thoreau from 1852

    1. Expansion is led by focus. By taking time to edit, carve up, and refactor our notes, we put focus on ideas. This starts the Great Wheel of Positive Feedback. All hail to the Great Wheel of Positive Feedback.

      How can we better thing of card indexes as positive feedback mechanisms? Will describes it as the "Great Wheel of Positive Feedback" which reminds me a bit of flywheels for storing energy for later use.

  16. Dec 2022
    1. Aleatoric music (also aleatory music or chance music; from the Latin word alea, meaning "dice") is music in which some element of the composition is left to chance, and/or some primary element of a composed work's realization is left to the determination of its performer(s). The term is most often associated with procedures in which the chance element involves a relatively limited number of possibilities.
    1. On Twitter a few days ago, Dave Winer shared this review from 1983 of his early application ThinkTank, which Infoworld dubbed “an idea processor.” That’s maybe too close to “word processor,” but it gets at the core concept: software that helps you generate ideas, remix them into new combinations. Software that serves as a seedbed for your ideas.

      idea processor as an extension of the idea of word processor

    1. IMO ZK has always been a tool for writers - who are writing complex things for other people to read - to gather and organize information for that expressed purpose. They could be book writers, essay writers, academic paper/thesis writers, speech writers, bloggers, etc, but they've gotta be output-focused.

      via an anecdotal reply from /deltadeep

      Many have frequently provided this advice, but they're missing a number of other affordances, one of the key one's being combinatorial creativity, and this often, because they're not consciously aware of it as a concept or a useful affordance or it's potential outcomes.

    1. “I have a trick that I used in my studio, because I have these twenty-eight-hundred-odd pieces of unreleased music, and I have them all stored in iTunes,” Eno said during his talk at Red Bull. “When I’m cleaning up the studio, which I do quite often—and it’s quite a big studio—I just have it playing on random shuffle. And so, suddenly, I hear something and often I can’t even remember doing it. Or I have a very vague memory of it, because a lot of these pieces, they’re just something I started at half past eight one evening and then finished at quarter past ten, gave some kind of funny name to that doesn’t describe anything, and then completely forgot about, and then, years later, on the random shuffle, this thing comes up, and I think, Wow, I didn’t hear it when I was doing it. And I think that often happens—we don’t actually hear what we’re doing. . . . I often find pieces and I think, This is genius. Which me did that? Who was the me that did that?”

      Example of Brian Eno using ITunes as a digital music zettelkasten. He's got 2,800 pieces of unreleased music which he plays on random shuffle for serendipity, memory, and potential creativity. The experience seems to be a musical one which parallels Luhmann's ideas of serendipity and discovery with the ghost in the machine or the conversation partner he describes in his zettelkasten practice.

    2. Eno’s strategies don’t always appeal to the musicians he works with. In Geeta Dayal’s book about the album, also titled “Another Green World,” the bassist Percy Jones recalls, “There was this one time when he gave everybody a piece of paper, and he said write down 1 to 100 or something like that, and then he gave us notes to play against specific numbers.” Phil Collins, who played drums on the album, reacted to these instructions by throwing beer cans across the room. “I think we got up to about 24 and then we gave up and did something else,” Jones said.

      Example of Brian Eno using combinatorial creativity using cards to generate music.

      This sounds similar to a process used by Austin Kleon which I've noted before.

    1. Reply to:

      Who is Zettelkasten note-taking system for? <br /> u/Beens__<br /> https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/zhyu5i/who_is_zettelkasten_notetaking_system_for/

      Perhaps your use case may benefit from knowing the longer term outcomes of such processes, particularly as they relate to idea generation and innovation within your areas of interest? Keeping notes which you review over periodically and between which you create potential links will help to foster more productive long term combinatorial creativity, which will help you create new and potentially useful ideas much more quickly than blank page-based brainstorming.

      Her method was much more ad hoc than the more highly refined methods of Luhmann which allowed him to write, but perhaps there's something you might appreciate from the example of the character Tess McGill in the movie Working Girl. Even more base in practice is that of Eminem, which shows far less structure, but could still have interesting long term creativity effects, though again, it bears repeating that one should occasionally revisit their notes (even if they're only in "headline form") in attempts to refresh their memory and link old ideas to new to generate completely new ideas.

    1. No es magia.

      I love that he points this out explicitly.

      Some don't see the underlying processes of complexity within note taking methods and as a result ascribe magical properties to what are emergent properties or combinatorial creativity.

      See also: The Ghost in the Machine zettel from Luhmann

      Somehow there's an odd dichotomy between the boredom of such a simple method and people seeing magic within it at the same time. This is very similar to those who feel that life must be divinely created despite the evidence brought by evolutionary and complexity theory. In this arena, there is a lot more evolved complexity which makes the system harder to see compared to the simpler zettelkasten process.

    1. https://austinkleon.com/2018/03/04/card-games/

      I'm reminded of early French use of playing cards for note taking here...

    2. Then I remembered a little card game I came up with to make jam sessions more interesting: Have each band member list 10 musical acts they’d like to play in Write each musical act on an index card Shuffle the cards, and, without revealing the cars, deal one to each band member. Keep the cards secret — the game is no fun if you can see the cards before you play. Just like any other jam session, it helps to pick a key and start with the rhythm. Everyone has to pretend like they’re playing in the act written on their card. Jam until it gets boring. At the end, everybody gets to guess which card each person was dealt. Repeat until you’re out of cards

      A game by Austin Kleon for making jam sessions less boring using cards.

      Inspired by Oblique Strategies and The Creative Tarot.

    1. https://www.dalekeiger.net/untitled/

      Dale Keiger is tap dancing his way into a definition for the underlying traits for encouraging and expanding on creativity. There's definitely something here worth pursuing further and giving a specific name to.

      Some it is very akin to the ideas behind combinatorial creativity of working (dancing in Kelly's case) on the mundane with precision and drive and perhaps at least a soupçon of obsessiveness, but openness to the new.

      How can we sharpen this set of ideas to settle on the right list of "ingredients"? Is there a way to hone in on this sort of creation of flow within a certain creative area while simultaneously not getting bored? Is it the small string of creative breakthroughs in the process of practice which open up new avenues and help create the flow to prevent boredom?

      How might relate to Anders Ericsson's work on on deliberate practice or plateau principle coming into play, particularly to prevent boredom to encourage one to continue on with their practice?

      I haven't put my finger on it but there were hints in it from a Yo-Yo Ma ad for Masterclass I saw the other day (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbjgHkj-syM)..

  17. Nov 2022
    1. In 1971, Eno co-formed the glam and art rock band Roxy Music. He had a chance meeting with saxophonist Andy Mackay at a train station, which led to him joining the band. Eno later said: "If I'd walked ten yards further on the platform, or missed that train, or been in the next carriage, I probably would have been an art teacher now".[24]

      How does idea density influence the rate of creativity?

      What are the thermodynamics of creativity? I've probably got enough material for a significant book chapter if not perhaps a book on this topic.

      May need a more public friendly name. Burning Creativity?

    2. In the mid-1970s, he co-developed Oblique Strategies, a deck of cards featuring aphorisms intended to spur creative thinking.
    1. The erupting volcano represents Productive ambiguity. This is where the real work is done at scale. Concepts can be productively ambiguous through straight metaphor, or by mass (media) convergence on a particular term. It resonates with many people.

      New, relatively well-formed ideas may have lost much of their ambiguity to their creators, but they're solid enough to be communicated at scale to others. The newness of the concepts as they're accepted and used by others provides a tremendous level of productive ambiguity as the ideas spread and further solidify and are combined with a broader field of pre-existing ideas.

    1. For example, if I've left myself a note like #pkm/xref this reminds me of something the Carthage expert I like said, but I can't remember her name I will search my notes to figure out the name of the Carthage expert I like, cross-reference the highlight with things she said, and add links and update notes as appropriate. If I said something like This reminds me of the article about the guy a crane is in love with when I was taking notes on something without access to my notes, I will go find the article and link to my notes about it so that my backlinks and graph are updated.

      I'm not sure how frequent this pattern is within fleeting notes, but it's something I do myself to create at least a temporary shorthand context of how things interrelate and which can easily be cleaned up later in the longer form permanent notes.

      The tougher thing is to always capture these sorts of things which one won't remember, but which quite often create better and stronger insights down the road.

    1. And this is the art-the skill or craftthat we are talking about here.

      We don't talk about the art of reading or the art of note making often enough as a goal to which students might aspire. It's too often framed as a set of rules and an mechanical process rather than a road to producing interesting, inspiring, or insightful content that can change humanity.

    1. This reminded me of Robert Greene’s definition of creativity, which is that creativity is a function of putting in lots of tedious work. “If you put a lot of hours into thinking and researching and reading,” Robert says, “hour after hour—a very tedious process—creativity will come to you.” 

      Robert Green's definition of creativity sounds like it's related to diffuse thinking processes. read: https://billyoppenheimer.com/august-14-2022/

      Often note taking, and reviewing over those notes is more explicit in form for creating new ideas.

      Come back to explore these.

    2. Randall Stutman, an executive advisor and prolific note-taker, says, “collecting insights is just the preamble to what really matters: reviewing, with some level of consistency, those insights. You have to routinely make those insights available to yourself.” “Wisdom is only wisdom if you can act on it,” Randall says. “In the review process, you’re making those insights available for your mind to act on.”

      Regular review through one's note cards is important for the memory portion of directly remembering your insights and received wisdom, but they're also important for helping to allow you to grow them into new ideas as well as combining them with other ideas to allow dramatic innovation.

    3. And improving the quality and quantity of material available to your brain when you sit down to create something—that is why we implement The Notecard System.

      Increasing the quantity and quality of ideas and materials one has at their disposal when one desires to create something new is one of the reasons for having a note taking system.

      memory, learning, sense making, improving understanding, improved creativity, and others are also at play... any others? we should have a comprehensive list eventually.

  18. Oct 2022
    1. In his essay ‘On Intellectual Craftsmanship’, appended to his The Sociological Imagination (1959), C. Wright Mills reassuringly remarks that ‘the way in which these categories change, some being dropped and others being added, is an index of your intellectual progress ... As you rearrange a filing system, you often find that you are, as it were, loosening your imagination.’

      One's notes are an index of their intellectual progress. In sorting through and re-arranging them one "loosens their imagination".

    2. As Beatrice Webb rightly said, the very process of shuffling notes can be intellectually fertile.

      Keith Thomas indicates that through his personal experience that Beatrice Webb was right in saying that "shuffling notes can be intellectually fertile."

    1. A friend of mine, well versed in all sorts of PKM and stuff, was convinced the ZK was beneficial, but took a long time before you started seeing benefits. My experience was completely different. I think I had about 5 permanent cards established when I made my first jump to a new idea... I don't know if the idea is any good at this moment, but I got a chill up my spine when I did it. I have more cards now, and have had a few more "new thoughts" that I would not have had otherwise. Don't put it off.

      The zettelkasten can be a useful educational substrate for thinking in as few as five cards.

      link to: https://hypothes.is/a/Iwy7MGlMEeyztTNgvCXUOA

    1. Sincecopying is a chore and a bore, use of the cards, the smaller thebetter, forces one to extract the strictly relevant, to distill from thevery beginning, to pass the material through the grinder of one’s ownmind, so to speak.

      Barbara Tuchman recommended using the smallest sized index cards possible to force one only to "extract the strictly relevant" because copying by hand can be both "a chore and a bore".

      In the same address in 1963, she encourages "distill[ing] from the very beginning, to pass the material through the grinder of one's own mind, so to speak." This practice is similar to modern day pedagogues who encourage this practice, but with the benefit of psychology research to back up the practice.

      This advice is two-fold in terms of filtering out the useless material for an author, but the grinder metaphor indicates placing multiple types of material in to to a processor to see what new combinations of products come out the other end. This touches more subtly on the idea of combinatorial creativity encouraged by Raymond Llull, Matt Ridley, et al. or the serendipity described by Niklas Luhmann and others.


      When did the writing for understanding idea begin within the tradition? Was it through experience in part and then underlined with psychology research? Visit Ahrens' references on this for particular papers to read.

      Link to modality shift research.

    1. The experts often noted that research breakthroughs came from recognizing the significance of some additional information that other researchers had overlooked.

      Breakthroughs in problem solving and basic research often come from recognizing the significance of overlooked information.


      How is this additional information gleaned in these cases? Through combinatorial creativity, chance, other? Can methods for pushing these sorts of additional information be created in the problem solving process?

    1. here are several ways I havefound useful to invite the sociological imagination:

      C. Wright Mills delineates a rough definition of "sociological imagination" which could be thought of as a framework within tools for thought: 1. Combinatorial creativity<br /> 2. Diffuse thinking, flâneur<br /> 3. Changing perspective (how would x see this?) Writing dialogues is a useful method to accomplish this. (He doesn't state it, but acting as a devil's advocate is a useful technique here as well.)<br /> 4. Collecting and lay out all the multiple viewpoints and arguments on a topic. (This might presume the method of devil's advocate I mentioned above 😀)<br /> 5. Play and exploration with words and terms<br /> 6. Watching levels of generality and breaking things down into smaller constituent parts or building blocks. (This also might benefit of abstracting ideas from one space to another.)<br /> 7. Categorization or casting ideas into types 8. Cross-tabulating and creation of charts, tables, and diagrams or other visualizations 9. Comparative cases and examples - finding examples of an idea in other contexts and time settings for comparison and contrast 10. Extreme types and opposites (or polar types) - coming up with the most extreme examples of comparative cases or opposites of one's idea. (cross reference: Compass Points https://hypothes.is/a/Di4hzvftEeyY9EOsxaOg7w and thinking routines). This includes creating dimensions of study on an object - what axes define it? What indices can one find data or statistics on? 11. Create historical depth - examples may be limited in number, so what might exist in the historical record to provide depth.

    2. As I thus rearranged the filing system, I found that I wasloosening my imagination.

      "loosening my imagination" !!

    3. examine my entire file, not only thoseparts of it which obviously bore on the topic, but alsomany others which seemed to have no relevance whatso-ever. For imagination and " t h e structuring of an i d e a " areoften exercised by putting together hitherto isolated items,by finding unsuspected connections. 1 made new units inthe file for this particular range of problems, which, o fcourse, led to a new arrangement of other parts of the file.

      What a lot to unpack here.

      He's actively looking through all parts of his files to find potential links and connections between ideas. He brings up the idea of "unsuspected connections" which touches on Luhmann's idea of serendipity, Llull's combinatorial arts, or what one might call combinatorial creativity.

  19. Sep 2022
    1. sociologist C. WrightMills

      Note takers reading this may appreciate that Mills had a note taking system:

      https://hypothes.is/a/Wbm09giuEe2-tH8vp1LziA<br /> https://hypothes.is/a/_7SQkPdFEeunDX9htFmQ8w

      This particular note and my notice of it is an interesting case of faint recognition and combinatorial creativity at play. I vaguely recognized Mills' name but was able to quickly find it within my reading notes to discover I'd run across him and his intellectual practice before.

    1. Many know from their own experience how uncontrollable and irretrievable the oftenvaluable notes and chains of thought are in note books and in the cabinets they are stored in

      Heyde indicates how "valuable notes and chains of thought are" but also points out "how uncontrollable and irretrievable" they are.

      This statement is strong evidence along with others in this chapter which may have inspired Niklas Luhmann to invent his iteration of the zettelkasten method of excerpting and making notes.

      (link to: Clemens /Heyde and Luhmann timeline: https://hypothes.is/a/4wxHdDqeEe2OKGMHXDKezA)

      Presumably he may have either heard or seen others talking about or using these general methods either during his undergraduate or law school experiences. Even with some scant experience, this line may have struck him significantly as an organization barrier of earlier methods.

      Why have notes strewn about in a box or notebook as Heyde says? Why spend the time indexing everything and then needing to search for it later? Why not take the time to actively place new ideas into one's box as close as possibly to ideas they directly relate to?

      But how do we manage this in a findable way? Since we can't index ideas based on tabs in a notebook or even notebook page numbers, we need to have some sort of handle on where ideas are in slips within our box. The development of European card catalog systems had started in the late 1700s, and further refinements of Melvil Dewey as well as standardization had come about by the early to mid 1900s. One could have used the Dewey Decimal System to index their notes using smaller decimals to infinitely intersperse cards on a growing basis.

      But Niklas Luhmann had gone to law school and spent time in civil administration. He would have been aware of aktenzeichen file numbers used in German law/court settings and public administration. He seems to have used a simplified version of this sort of filing system as the base of his numbering system. And why not? He would have likely been intimately familiar with its use and application, so why not adopt it or a simplified version of it for his use? Because it's extensible in a a branching tree fashion, one can add an infinite number of cards or files into the midst of a preexisting collection. And isn't this just the function aktenzeichen file numbers served within the German court system? Incidentally these file numbers began use around 1932, but were likely heavily influenced by the Austrian conscription numbers and house numbers of the late 1770s which also influenced library card cataloging numbers, so the whole system comes right back around. (Ref Krajewski here).

      (Cross reference/ see: https://hypothes.is/a/CqGhGvchEey6heekrEJ9WA

      Other pieces he may have been attempting to get around include the excessive work of additional copying involved in this piece as well as a lot of the additional work of indexing.

      One will note that Luhmann's index was much more sparse than without his methods. Often in books, a reader will find a reference or two in an index and then go right to the spot they need and read around it. Luhmann did exactly this in his sequence of cards. An index entry or two would send him to the general local and sifting through a handful of cards would place him in the correct vicinity. This results in a slight increase in time for some searches, but it pays off in massive savings of time of not needing to cross index everything onto cards as one goes, and it also dramatically increases the probability that one will serendipitously review over related cards and potentially generate new insights and links for new ideas going into one's slip box.

    1. • Daily writing prevents writer’s block.• Daily writing demystifies the writing process.• Daily writing keeps your research always at the top of your mind.• Daily writing generates new ideas.• Daily writing stimulates creativity• Daily writing adds up incrementally.• Daily writing helps you figure out what you want to say.

      What specifically does she define "writing" to be? What exactly is she writing, and how much? What does her process look like?

      One might also consider the idea of active reading and writing notes. I may not "write" daily in the way she means, but my note writing, is cumulative and beneficial in the ways she describes in her list. I might further posit that the amount of work/effort it takes me to do my writing is far more fruitful and productive than her writing.

      When I say writing, I mean focused note taking (either excerpting, rephrasing, or original small ideas which can be stitched together later). I don't think this is her same definition.

      I'm curious how her process of writing generates new ideas and creativity specifically?


      One might analogize the idea of active reading with a pen in hand as a sort of Einsteinian space-time. Many view reading and writing as to separate and distinct practices. What if they're melded together the way Einstein reconceptualized the space time continuum? The writing advice provided by those who write about commonplace books, zettelkasten, and general note taking combines an active reading practice with a focused writing practice that moves one toward not only more output, but higher quality output without the deleterious effects seen in other methods.

    1. https://lu.ma/w6c1b9cd

      [[Anne-Laure Le Cunff & Nick Milo - How can we do Combinational Creativity]]

      Details

      Date: [[2022-09-06]]<br /> Time: 9:00 - 10:00 AM<br /> Host: [[Nick Milo]]<br /> Location / Platform: #Zoom<br /> URL: https://lu.ma/w6c1b9cd<br /> Calendar: link <br /> Parent event: [[LYT Conference 2]]<br /> Subject(s): [[combinational creativity]]

      To Do / Follow up

      • [ ] Clean up notes
      • [ ] Post video link when available (@2022-09-11)

      Video

      TK

      Attendees

      Notes

      generational effect

      Silent muses which resulted in drugs, alcohol as chemical muses.

      All creativity is combinational in nature. - A-L L C

      mash-ups are a tacit form of combinatorial creativity

      Methods: - chaining<br /> - clustering (what do things have in common? eg: Cities and living organisms have in common?)<br /> - c...

      Peter Wohlleben is the author of “hidden life of trees”

      CMAPT tools https://cmap.ihmc.us/

      mind mapping

      Metaphor theory is apparently a "thing" follow up on this to see what the work/research looks like

      I put the following into the chat/Q&A:

      The phrase combinatorial creativity seems to stem from this 2014 article: https://fs.blog/networked-knowledge-and-combinatorial-creativity/, the ideas go back much further obviously, often with different names across cultures. Matt Ridley describes it as "ideas have sex" https://www.ted.com/talks/matt_ridley_when_ideas_have_sex; Raymond Llull - Llullan combinatorial arts; Niklas Luhmann - linked zettels; Marshall Kirkpatrick - "triangle thinking" - Dan Pink - "symphonic thinking" are some others.

      For those who really want to blow their minds on how not new some of these ideas are, try out Margo Neale and Lynne Kelly's book Songlines: The Power and Promise which describes songlines which were indigenous methods for memory (note taking for oral cultures) and created "combinatorial creativity" for peoples in modern day Australia going back 65,000 years.

      Side benefit of this work:

      "You'll be a lot more fun at dinner parties." -Anne-Laure

      Improv's "yes and" concept is a means of forcing creativity.

      Originality is undetected plagiarism - Gish? English writer 9:41 AM quote; source?

      Me: "Play off of [that]" is a command to encourage combintorial creativity. In music one might say "riff off"...

      Chat log

      none available

    2. Anne-Laure Le Cunff & Nick Milo: How can we do Combinational Creativity?

      Interesting to see people talking about these ideas in these spaces. It's too often a missed piece of the puzzle, and is really one of the most valuable parts.

      What was the origin of the phrase "combinatorial creativity"? Was if Farnam Street in 2014 https://fs.blog/networked-knowledge-and-combinatorial-creativity/

      Some of Anne-Laure Le Cunff's discussion of this in the past: - Building a Creativity Inbox: Anne-Laure Le Cunff & David Perell https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTSAuSUxuj0 (taped: June 23, 2020; released: Jun 25, 2020) where the phrase is uased as well as "idea sex" - Combinational creativity: the myth of originality https://nesslabs.com/combinational-creativity (see https://twitter.com/anthilemoon/status/1275820127058120705)

    1. https://fs.blog/networked-knowledge-and-combinatorial-creativity

      Originally published: 2014-07-21T11:45:00+00:00

      Is this where I saw the phrase "combinatorial creativity" first?

  20. Aug 2022
    1. Should I always create a Bib-note? .t3_x2f4hn._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      reply to: https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/x2f4hn/should_i_always_create_a_bibnote/

      If you want to be lazy you could just create the one card with the quote and full source and save a full bibliographical note. Your future self will likely be pleasantly surprised if you do create a full bib note (filed separately) which allows for a greater level of future findability and potential serendipity, It may happen when you've run across that possibly obscure author multiple times and it may spur you to read other material by them or cross reference other related authors. It's these small, but seemingly "useless", practices in the present that generate creativity and serendipity over longer periods of time that really bring out the compounding value of ZK.

      More and more I find that the randomly referenced and obscure writer or historical figure I noted weeks/months/years ago pops up and becomes a key player in research I'm doing now, but that I otherwise would have long forgotten and thus not able to connect or inform my current pursuits. These golden moments are too frequently not written about or highlighted properly in much of the literature about these practices.

      Naturally, however, everyone's practices may differ. You want to save the source at the very least, even if it's just on that slip with the quote. If you're pressed for time now, save the step and do it later when you install the card.

      Often is the time that I don't think of anything useful contemporaneously but then a week or two later I'll think of something relevant and go back and write another note or two, or I'll want to recommend it to someone and then at least it's findable to recommend.

      Frequently I find that the rule "If it's worth reading, then it's worth writing down the author, title, publisher and date at a minimum" saves me from reading a lot of useless material. Of course if you're researching and writing about the broader idea of "listicles" then perhaps you have other priorities?

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o49C8jQIsvs

      Video about the Double-Bubble Map: https://youtu.be/Hm4En13TDjs

      The double-bubble map is a tool for thought for comparing and contrasting ideas. Albert Rosenberg indicates that construction of opposites is one of the most reliable ways for generating ideas. (35:50)

      Bluma Zeigarnik - open tasks tend to occupy short-term memory.

      I love his compounding interest graphic with the steps moving up to the right with the quote: "Even groundbreaking paradigm shifts are most often the consequence of many small moves in the right direction instead of one big idea." This could be an awesome t-shirt or motivational poster.

      Watched this up to about 36 minutes on 2022-08-10 and finished on 2022-08-22.

    1. I see connections between ideas more easily following this approach. Plus, the combinations of ideas lead to even more new ideas. It’s great!

      Like many others, the idea of combinatorial creativity and serendipity stemming from the slip box is undersold.

    1. I'm working on my zettelkasten—creating literature notes and permanent notes—for 90 min a day from Monday to Friday but I struggle with my permanent note output. Namely, I manage to complete no more than 3-4 permanent notes per week. By complete I mean notes that are atomic (limited to 1 idea), autonomous (make sense on their own), connected (link to at least 3 other notes), and brief (no more than 300 words).That said, I have two questions:How many permanent notes do you complete per week on average?What are your tips to increase your output?

      reply to: https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/wjigq6/how_do_you_increase_your_permanent_note_output

      In addition to all the other good advice from others, it might be worth taking a look at others' production and output from a historical perspective. Luhmann working at his project full time managed to average about 6 cards a day.1 Roland Barthes who had a similar practice for 37 years averaged about 1.3 cards a day.2 Tiago Forte has self-reported that he makes two notes a day, though obviously his isn't the same sort of practice nor has he done it consistently for as long.3 As you request, it would be useful to have some better data about the output of people with long term, consistent use.

      Given even these few, but reasonably solid, data points at just 90 minutes a day, one might think you're maybe too "productive"! I suspect that unless one is an academic working at something consistently nearly full time, most are more likely to be in the 1-3 notes a day average output at best. On a per hour basis Luhmann was close to 0.75 cards while you're at 0.53 cards. Knowing this, perhaps the best advice is to slow down a bit and focus on quality over quantity. This combined with continued consistency will probably serve your enterprise much better in the long run than in focusing on card per hour or card per day productivity.

      Internal idea generation/creation productivity will naturally compound over time as your collection grows and you continue to work with it. This may be a better sort of productivity to focus on in the long term compared with short term raw inputs.

      Another useful tidbit that some neglect is the level of quality and diversity of the reading (or other) inputs you're using. The better the journal articles and books you're reading, the more value and insight you're likely to find and generate more quickly over time.

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJLDF6qZUX0

      The classic Reece's Peanut Butter Cups commercial (circa 1981) in which a boy and a girl run into each other on the street with the following exchange:

      Girl: Hey! You got your chocolate in my peanut butter. Boy: You got peanut butter on my chocolate.

      is a good example of the productive collision of ideas behind the concepts of "ideas have sex" or "combinatorial creativity".

  21. Jul 2022
    1. https://vimeo.com/729407073

      <iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/729407073?h=054ecbcc7b" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; fullscreen; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

      MakingKnowledge: Scott Scheper from Dan Allosso on Vimeo.


      Various names Luhmann gives to the effects seen in his slip box: - ghost in the box - second mind - alter ego - communication partner

      These are tangential ideas and words which lead up to the serendipity of combinatorial creativity, but aren't quite there.

    1. https://danallosso.substack.com/p/thoughts-prior-to-publishing

      <iframe title="vimeo-player" src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/735211043?h=68a6bdd022" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

      I love the pointed focus @danallosso puts on output here. I think he's right that the "conversation between the writer, the text, and their notes" (in my framing combinatorial creativity) is where the real value is to be had.

      His explanation of the "evergreen note" is highly valuable here. One should really do as much work upfront to make it as evergreen as possible. Too many people (especially in the digital gardens space) put the emphasis on working on these evergreen notes over time to slowly improve and evolve them and that's probably the wrong framing to take. Write it once, write it well, then reuse it.

    1. Writing a Point Note about an idea can trigger acascade of other thoughts that you can explore on theirown (and write additional notes about).

      Allosso seems to be grasping for the idea of combinatorial creativity here, but doesn't make it concrete or name it the way other authors have in the past (though all different words)

    2. the better we can become at collecting,understanding, and remembering information, the morelikely we are to solve hard problems.
    3. . I thinkit’s often an issue for people when they first become note-makers: an anxiety about getting the “right” stuff out ofa book, or even “all the stuff”. I don’t think this iscompletely possible, and I think it’s increasingly lesspossible, the better the book.

      In the 1400s-1600s it was a common desire to excerpt all the value of books and attempts were made, though ultimately futile. This seems to be a commonly occurring desire.


      Often having a simple synopsis and notes isn't as useful as it may not spark the same sort of creativity and juxtaposition of ideas a particular reader might have had with their own context.


      Some have said that "content is king". I've previously thought that "context is king". Perhaps content and context end up ruling as joint monarchs.

    1. Man sieht, die stoffliche Ordnung setzt bereits bestimmteGesichtspunkte voraus und ist daher durch die ,Auffassung“bedingt; allein bei tibersichtlicher Materialordnung werden wirauch umgekehrt oft genug durch sich anhtufende Daten einergewissen von uns anfangs nicht erwarteten Art auf ganz neueGesichtspunkte unseres Themas aufmerksam gemacht.

      Google translation:

      One sees that the material order already sets certain ones points of view ahead and is therefore conditional; only with a clear arrangement of the material will we also vice versa often enough due to accumulating data in a way that we didn't expect at first, in a completely new way points of view of our topic.

      While discussing the various orders of research material, Ernst Bernheim mentions the potential of accumulating data and arranging it in various manners such that we obtain new points of view in unexpected ways. This sounds quite similar to a process of idea generation similar to combinatorial creativity, though not as explicit.

      The process creates the creativity, but isn't necessarily used to force the creativity here.

      While he doesn't point out a specific generative mechanism for the creation of the surprise, it's obvious that his collection and collation method underpins it.

    1. But it's not a trivial problem. I have compiled, at latest reckoning, 35,669 posts - my version of a Zettelkasten. But how to use them when writing a paper? It's not straightforward - and I find myself typically looking outside my own notes to do searches on Google and elsewhere. So how is my own Zettel useful? For me, the magic happens in the creation, not in the subsequent use. They become grist for pattern recognition. I don't find value in classifying them or categorizing them (except for historical purposes, to create a chronology of some concept over time), but by linking them intuitively to form overarching themes or concepts not actually contained in the resources themselves. But this my brain does, not my software. Then I write a paper (or an outline) based on those themes (usually at the prompt of an interview, speaking or paper invitation) and then I flesh out the paper by doing a much wider search, and not just my limited collection of resources.

      Stephen Downes describes some of his note taking process for creation here. He doesn't actively reuse his notes (or in this case blog posts, bookmarks, etc.) which number a sizeable 35669, directly, at least in the sort of cut and paste method suggested by Sönke Ahrens. Rather he follows a sort of broad idea, outline creation, and search plan akin to that described by Cory Doctorow in 20 years a blogger

      Link to: - https://hyp.is/_XgTCm9GEeyn4Dv6eR9ypw/pluralistic.net/2021/01/13/two-decades/


      Downes suggests that the "magic happens in the creation" of his notes. He uses them as "grist for pattern recognition". He doesn't mention words like surprise or serendipity coming from his notes by linking them, though he does use them "intuitively to form overarching themes or concepts not actually contained in the resources themselves." This is closely akin to the broader ideas ensconced in inventio, Llullan Wheels, triangle thinking, ideas have sex, combinatorial creativity, serendipity (Luhmann), insight, etc. which have been described by others.


      Note that Downes indicates that his brain creates the links and he doesn't rely on his software to do this. The break is compounded by the fact that he doesn't find value in classifying or categorizing his notes.


      I appreciate that Downes uses the word "grist" to describe part of his note taking practice which evokes the idea of grinding up complex ideas (the grain) to sort out the portions of the whole to find simpler ideas (the flour) which one might use later to combine to make new ideas (bread, cake, etc.) Similar analogies might be had in the grain harvesting space including winnowing or threshing.

      One can compare this use of a grist mill analogy of thinking with the analogy of the crucible, which implies a chamber or space in which elements are brought together often with work or extreme conditions to create new products by their combination.

      Of course these also follow the older classical analogy of imitating the bees (apes).

    1. Unfortunately, many corporate software programsaim to level or standardise the differences betweenindividual workers. In supporting knowledgeworkers, we should be careful to provide tools whichenable diversification of individuals’ outputs.Word-processors satisfi this criterion; tools whichembed a model of a knowledge worker’s task in thesoftware do not.

      Tools which allow for flexibility and creativity are better for knowledge workers than those which attempt to crystalize their tasks into ruts. This may tend to force the outputs in a programmatic way and thereby dramatically decrease the potential for innovative outputs. If the tools force the automation of thought without a concurrent increase in creativity then one may as well rely on manual labor for their thinking.


      This may be one of the major flaws of tools for thought in the educational technology space. They often attempt to facilitate the delivery of education in an automated way which dramatically decreases the creativity of the students and the value of the overall outputs. While attempting to automate education may suit the needs of institutions which are delivering the education, particularly with respect to the overall cost of delivery, the automation itself is dramatically at odds with the desire to expand upon ideas and continue innovation for all participants involved. Students also require diverse modes of input (seen/heard) as well as internal processing followed by subsequent outputs (written/drawn/sculpted/painted, spoken/sung, movement/dance). Many teachers don't excel at providing all of these neurodiverse modes and most educational technology tools are even less flexible, thus requiring an even larger panoply of them (often not interoperable because of corporate siloing for competitive reasons) to provide reasonable replacements. Given their ultimate costs, providing a variety of these tools may only serve to increase the overall costs of delivering education or risk diminishing the overall quality. Educators and institutions not watching out for these traps will tend to serve only a small portion of their intended audiences, and even those may be served poorly as they only receive a limited variety of modalities of inputs and outputs. As an example Western cultures' overreliance on primary literacy modes is their Achilles' heel.


      Tools for thought should actively attempt to increase the potential solution spaces available to their users, while later still allowing for focusing of attention. How can we better allow for the divergence of ideas and later convergence? Better, how might we allow for regular and repeated cycles of divergence and convergence? Advanced zettelkasten note taking techniques (which also allow for drawing, visual, auditory and other modalities beyond just basic literacy) seem to allow for this sort of practice over long periods of time, particularly when coupled with outputs which are then published for public consumption and divergence/convergence cycles by others.

      This may also point out some of the stagnation allowed by social media whose primary modes is neither convergence nor divergence. While they allow for the transmission/communication portion, they primarily don't actively encourage their users to closely evaluate the transmitted ideas, internalize them, or ultimately expand upon them. Their primary mode is for maximizing on time of attention (including base emotions including excitement and fear) and the lowest levels of interaction and engagement (likes, retweets, short gut reaction commentary).

    1. Dan Pink’s book A Whole New Mind and learned about what he calls Symphonic Thinking, or the ability to find connections between seemingly disparate entities, as a key thinking pattern for the future of work,

      Dan Pink's book A Whole New Mind lays out an idea he call's "Symphonic Thinking" which is a practice of finding connections between unrelated ideas. He suggests that this practice is an important key to the future of work.


      Link this to other incarnations of this pattern in history: - Raymond Llull - Llullan combinatorial arts - Niklas Luhmann - linked zettelkasten - Marshall Kirkpatrick - triangle thinking - Dan Pink - symphonic thinking - etc...


      Dan Pink A Whole New Mind #books/wanttoread

    1. https://www.zylstra.org/blog/2022/06/spring-83/

      I've been thinking about this sort of thing off and on myself.

      I too almost immediately thought of Fraidyc.at and its nudge at shifting the importance of content based on time and recency. I'd love to have a social reader with additional affordances for both this time shifting and Ton's idea of reading based on social distance.

      I'm struck by the seemingly related idea of @peterhagen's LindyLearn platform and annotations: https://annotations.lindylearn.io/new/ which focuses on taking some of the longer term interesting ideas as the basis for browsing and chewing on. Though even here, one needs some of the odd, the cutting edge, and the avant garde in their balanced internet diet. Would Spring '83 provide some of this?

      I'm also struck by some similarities this has with the idea of Derek Siver's /now page movement. I see some updating regularly while others have let it slip by the wayside. Still the "board" of users exists, though one must click through a sea of mostly smiling and welcoming faces to get to it the individual pieces of content. (The smiling faces are more inviting and personal than the cacophony of yelling and chaos I see in models for Spring '83.) This reminds me of Stanley Meyers' frequent assertion that he attempted to design a certain "sense of quiet" into the early television show Dragnet to balance the seeming loudness of the everyday as well as the noise of other contemporaneous television programming.

      The form reminds me a bit of the signature pages of one's high school year book. But here, instead of the goal being timeless scribbles, one has the opportunity to change the message over time. Does the potential commercialization of the form (you know it will happen in a VC world crazed with surveillance capitalism) follow the same trajectory of the old college paper facebook? Next up, Yearbook.com!

      Beyond the thing as a standard, I wondered what the actual form of Spring '83 adds to a broader conversation? What does it add to the diversity of voices that we don't already see in other spaces. How might it be abused? Would people come back to it regularly? What might be its emergent properties?

      It definitely seems quirky and fun in and old school web sort of way, but it also stresses me out looking at the zany busyness of some of the examples of magazine stands. The general form reminds me of the bargain bins at book stores which have the promise of finding valuable hidden gems and at an excellent price, but often the ideas and quality of what I find usually isn't worth the discounted price and the return on investment is rarely worth the effort. How might this get beyond these forms?

      It also brings up the idea of what other online forms we may have had with this same sort of raw experimentation? How might the internet have looked if there had been a bigger rise of the wiki before that of the blog? What would the world be like if Webmention had existed before social media rose to prominence? Did we somehow miss some interesting digital animals because the web rose so quickly to prominence without more early experimentation before its "Cambrian explosion"?

      I've been thinking about distilled note taking forms recently and what a network of atomic ideas on index cards look like and what emerges from them. What if the standard were digital index cards that linked and cross linked to each other, particularly in a world without adherence to time based orders and streams? What does a new story look like if I can pull out a card either at random or based on a single topic and only see it or perhaps some short linked chain of ideas (mine or others) which come along with it? Does the choice of a random "Markov monkey" change my thinking or perspective? What comes out of this jar of Pandora? Is it just a new form of cadavre exquis?

      This standard has been out for a bit and presumably folks are experimenting with it. What do the early results look like? How are they using it? Do they like it? Does it need more scale? What do small changes make to the overall form?


      For more on these related ideas, see: https://hypothes.is/search?q=tag%3A%22spring+%2783%22

    1. probefahrer · 7 hr. agoAre you familiar with Mark Granovetter‘s theory of weak ties?He used it in the sense of the value of weak social connections but I am pretty sure one could make a case for weak connections in a Zettelkasten as being very valuable

      Humanity is a zettelkasten in biological form.

      Our social ties (links) putting us into proximity with other humans over time creates a new links between us and our ideas, and slowly evolves new ideas over time. Those new ideas that win this evolutionary process are called innovation.

      The general statistical thermodynamics of this idea innovation process can be "heated up" by improving communication channels with those far away from us (think letters, telegraph, radio, television, internet, social media).

      This reaction can be further accelerated by actively permuting the ideas with respect to each other as suggested by Raymond Llull's combinatorial arts.

      motivating reference: Matt Ridley in The Rational Optimist

      link to: - Mark Granovetter and weak ties - life of x

  22. Jun 2022
    1. The trending topics on Twitter can be used as a form of juxtaposition of random ideas which could be brought together to make new and interesting things.

      Here's but one example of someone practicing just this:

      Y’all, imagine Spielberg’s Sailor Moon pic.twitter.com/xZ1DEsbLTy

      — Matty Illustration (@MN_illustration) June 30, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

      cc: https://twitter.com/marshallk

    1. The paradox of hoarding isthat no matter how much we collect and accumulate, it’s neverenough.

      How is the paradox of hoarding related to the collector's fallacy?

      Regardless of how much you collect, you can't take it with you. So what's the value? - Having and using it to sustain you while you're alive. - Combining it in creative ways to leave behind new ideas and new innovations for those who follow you. - others?

    2. send off your draft or beta orproposal for feedback. Share this Intermediate Packet with a friend,family member, colleague, or collaborator; tell them that it’s still awork-in-process and ask them to send you their thoughts on it. Thenext time you sit down to work on it again, you’ll have their input andsuggestions to add to the mix of material you’re working with.

      A major benefit of working in public is that it invites immediate feedback (hopefully positive, constructive criticism) from anyone who might be reading it including pre-built audiences, whether this is through social media or in a classroom setting utilizing discussion or social annotation methods.

      This feedback along the way may help to further find flaws in arguments, additional examples of patterns, or links to ideas one may not have considered by themselves.

      Sadly, depending on your reader's context and understanding of your work, there are the attendant dangers of context collapse which may provide or elicit the wrong sorts of feedback, not to mention general abuse.

    3. the time you sit down tomake progress on something, all the work to gather and organize thesource material needs to already be done. We can’t expectourselves to instantly come up with brilliant ideas on demand. Ilearned that innovation and problem-solving depend on a routine thatsystematically brings interesting ideas to the surface of ourawareness.

      By writing down and collecting ideas slowly over time, working on them in small fits and spurts, when one finally comes to do the final work on their writing project or other work, the pieces only need minor shaping to take their final form. This process allows for a much greater level of serendipity, creativity, and potential sustained genius of connecting ideas across time to take shape in a final piece.


      How does this relate to diffuse thinking? How can slow diffuse thinking be leveraged into this process?

      Writing down fleeting notes while walking around can be valuable as one's ideas brew slowly in the mind (diffuse thinking) in combination with active combinatorial creativity, thus a form of Llullan combinatorial diffusion.


      Many business books seem so shallow and often only have one real insight which is repeated multiple times, perhaps to drive the point home or perhaps just to have enough filler to seem being worth the purchase of a book.

      Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich is an example of this, though it shows a different form of genius in expanding the idea from a variety of perspectives so that eventually everyone will absorb the broader idea which is distilled to great effect into the title.

    4. Third, sharing our ideas with others introduces a major element ofserendipity

      There is lots of serendipity here, particularly when people are willing to either share their knowledge or feel compelled to share it as part of an imagined life "competition" or even low forms of mansplaining, though this last tends to be called this when the ultimate idea isn't serendipitous but potentially so commonly known that there is no insight in the information.

      This sort of "public serendipity" or "group serendipity" is nice because it means that much of the work of discovery and connecting ideas is done by others against your own work rather that you sorting/searching through your own more limited realm of work to potentially create it.

      Group focused combinatorial creativity can be dramatically more powerful than that done on one's own. This can be part of the major value behind public digital gardens, zettelkasten, etc.