98 Matching Annotations
  1. May 2023
    1. It is unfortunate that the German word for a box of notes is the same as the methodology surrounding Luhmann.

      reply to dandennison84 at https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/comment/17921/#Comment_17921

      I've written a bit before on The Two Definitions of Zettelkasten, the latter of which has been emerging since roughly 2013 in English language contexts. Some of it is similar to or extends @dandennison84's framing along with some additional history.

      Because of the richness of prior annotation and note taking traditions, for those who might mean what we're jokingly calling ZK®, I typically refer to that practice specifically as a "Luhmann-esque zettelkasten", though it might be far more appropriate to name them a (Melvil) "Dewey Zettelkasten" because the underlying idea which makes Luhmann's specific zettelkasten unique is that he was numbering his ideas and filing them next to similar ideas. Luhmann was treating ideas on cards the way Dewey had treated and classified books about 76 years earlier. Luhmann fortunately didn't need to have a standardized set of numbers the way the Mundaneum had with the Universal Decimal Classification system, because his was personal/private and not shared.

      To be clear, I'm presently unaware that Dewey had or kept any specific sort of note taking system, card-based or otherwise. I would suspect, given his context, that if we were to dig into that history, we would find something closer to a Locke-inspired indexed commonplace book, though he may have switched later in life as his Library Bureau came to greater prominence and dominance.

      Some of the value of the Dewey-Luhmann note taking system stems from the same sorts of serendipity one discovers while flipping through ideas that one finds in searching for books on library shelves. You may find the specific book you were looking for, but you're also liable to find some interesting things to read on the shelves around that book or even on a shelf you pass on the way to find your book.

      Perhaps naming it and referring to it as the Dewey-Luhmann note taking system or the Dewey-Luhmann Zettelkasten may help to better ground and/or demystify the specific practices? Co-crediting them for the root idea and an early actual practice, respectively, provides a better framing and understanding, especially for native English speakers who don't have the linguistic context for understanding Zettelkästen on its own. Such a moniker would help to better delineate the expected practices and shape of a note taking practice which could be differentiated from other very similar ones which provide somewhat different affordances.

      Of course, as the history of naming scientific principles and mathematical theorems after people shows us, as soon as such a surname label might catch on, we'll assuredly discover someone earlier in the timeline who had mastered these principles long before (eg: the "Gessner Zettelkasten" anyone?) Caveat emptor.

  2. Apr 2023
    1. By the 1960s, Mr. Lorayne was best known for holding audiences rapt with feats of memory that bordered on the elephantine. Such feats were born, he explained in interviews and in his many books, of a system of learned associations — call them surrealist visual puns — that seemed equal parts Ivan Pavlov and Salvador Dalí.

      "surrealist visual puns"

    1. There is no real difference if you think about the boundaries between reading and notetaking. Moving the eyes over text: Sounds like reading. Highlighting key words while reading: Still sounds like reading. Jotting down keywords in the margins: Some writing, but still could count as reading. Writing tasks in the marings (e.g. "Should compare that to Buddhism"): Don't know. Reformulating key sections in your own words: Sounds like writing. But could be just the externalisation of what could be internal. Does make a difference if you stop and think about what you read or do it in written form?

      Perhaps there is a model for reading and note taking/writing with respect to both learning and creating new knowledge that follows an inverse mapping in a way similar to that seen in Galois theory?

      Explore this a bit to see what falls out.

  3. Mar 2023
    1. GPT and other large language models are aesthetic instruments rather than epistemological ones. Imagine a weird, unholy synthesizer whose buttons sample textual information, style, and semantics. Such a thing is compelling not because it offers answers in the form of text, but because it makes it possible to play text—all the text, almost—like an instrument.

      ChatGPT as an instrument that allows one to play text like an instrument.

    1. one of the things I value about writing, is the act of writing itself. It is an embodied process that connects me to my own humanity, by putting me in touch with my mind, the same way a vigorous hike through the woods can put me in touch with my body.
  4. Feb 2023
    1. On Ahrens' shipping container analogy to the zettelkasten

      @ZettelDistraction said Perhaps the shipping hub is a better analogy for the Zettelkasten than the shipping container (Ahrens, 40).

      We should be careful to separate the ideas of analogy and metaphor. Analogies are usually more direct and well-defined in scope.

      While there's an apt and direct correlation between shipping containers and zettelkasten as boxes, Ahrens was making the analogy with respect to the shift that shipping containers made to the overall system:

      shipping containers : shipping industry and globalism :: zettelkasten : thinking and writing/content creation

      As with many analogies, stretching it the way one might stretch metaphors isn't usually fruitful or even possible.

      In hindsight, we know why they failed: The ship owners tried to integrate the container into their usual way of working without changing the infrastructure and their routines. They tried to benefit from the obvious simplicity of loading containers onto ships without letting go of what they were used to.

      He's saying one needs to consider how one's note taking method fits into their work in a more integrative way. Without properly integrating it into one's workflow seamlessly the system will fail. This is also one of the most difficult problems many zettelkasten aspirants have. In addition to creating a zettelkasten, they're often also simultaneously trying to integrate new (digital) tools into their process at the same time and they get distracted by them rather than focusing on the move to increasing writing/creating and creativity overall (globalism).

      To focus on Ahrens' analogy a bit, if Obsidian, for example, is your "ship", is it as custom built for your specific purpose the way a container ship would be for a cargo container? Might you be better off with something like The Archive, ZKN3, or simple index cards that help to limit you to only do the function you want rather than all the other possible functions (wiki, blog, to do list, calendar, journal, kanban, etc.)? Obsidian and many other applications can be a proverbial row boat, a yacht, a tugboat, a steamer, a cruise ship, and even a warship in addition to a container ship, so one has to be extra careful how they choose to use it.

    2. Perhaps the shipping hub is a better analogy for the Zettelkasten than the shipping container (Ahrens, 40).

      Misreading of Ahrens. The shipping container wasn't a direct analogy to the zk. It was an analogy about process of building a system from the ground up to better effectuate a result.

    1. Pulling this back on topic by querying my own zettelkasten...

      I've got versions of most of @Will's excellent list in my notes as well, but here are a few other metaphors (and analogies) which I don't think have been mentioned:

    2. If you treat a metaphor as a second order perception (first order perception = senses) you can create Pseudo-Synesthesia which may increase divergent thinking.

      Mull on this...

    1. reply to Share the ideas dancing in your ZK with us. February 17, 2023

      Congratulations @Will on the milestone! @ctietze's analogy with smithwork is fantastic. I might also liken it to the point in acquiring a new language when one begins dreaming in their new target language. So many talk about the idea of increased productivity associated with having a zk, but most spend an inordinate amount of time on shiny object syndrome or over complicating it and never get to the point of quickly writing things out, filing them, and being able to trust that their system will just work™. When you no longer notice it anymore and it has become second nature is when the real fun (and magic) begins to happen. It also seems easier and more natural to break the "rules" once you've internalized the basics. We should spend more time talking about the value of 'zettelkasten fluency'.

      I'm excited this week to be doing some work in areas of the history of misinformation, cultural myths, and 'American exceptionalism' in preparation for Dan Allosso's upcoming book club on Kruse and Zelizer's new edited book. I suspect he'll announce it shortly at https://danallosso.substack.com/ if folks are interested in joining in the discussion/sensemaking.

      Kruse, Kevin M., and Julian E. Zelizer. Myth America: Historians Take On the Biggest Legends and Lies About Our Past. Basic Books, 2023.

    1. Wer sich also solch einen hölzernen Lebenspartner aufzieht, wird nach einigen Jahren immer interessantere Antworten auf seine Fragen bekommen …

      google translate:

      So if you raise such a wooden life partner, you will get more and more interesting answers to your questions after a few years...

      I love the idea of rearing a zettelkasten as a "wooden life partner".

    1. First, I am a big fan of Chris’ posts. He is our best historian. Second, I did not challenge his ideas but asked for clarification about some terms which I believe are of general interest. Chris is well-positioned to answer my questions. Third, statistical mechanics is more about microscopic systems that do not evolve. As we know, ideas (from concepts to theories) evolve and generally emerge from previous ideas. Emergence is the key concept here. I suggested Phenomics as a potential metaphor because it represents well the emergence of some systems (phenotypes) from pre-existing ones (genotypes).

      reply to u/New-Investigator-623 at https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/10r6uwp/comment/j6wy4mf/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      Ideas, concepts, propositions, et al. in this context are just the nebulous dictionary definitions. Their roots and modern usage have so much baggage now that attempting to separate them into more technical meanings is difficult unless you've got a solid reason to do so. I certainly don't here. If you want to go down some of the rabbit hole on the differences, you might appreciate Winston Perez' work on concept modeling which he outlines with respect to innovation and creativity here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGQ-dW7yfPc.

      I debated on a more basic framing of chemistry or microbiology versus statistical mechanics or even the closely related statistical thermodynamics, but for the analogy here, I think it works even if it may scare some off as "too hard". With about 20 linear feet of books in my library dedicated to biology, physics, math, engineering with a lot of direct focus on evolutionary theory, complexity theory, and information theory I would suggest that the underlying physics of statistical mechanics and related thermodynamics is precisely what allows the conditions for systems to evolve and emerge, for this is exactly what biological (and other) systems have done. For those intrigued, perhaps Stuart Kauffman's Origins of Order (if you're technically minded) or At Home in the Universe (if you're less technically oriented) are interesting with respect to complexity and emergence. There's also an interesting similar analogy to be made between a zettelkasten system and the systems described in Peter Hoffman's book Life's Rachet. I think that if carefully circumscribed, one could define a zettelkasten to be "alive". That's a bigger thesis for another time. I was also trying to stay away from the broad idea of "atomic" and drawing attention to "atomic notes" as a concept. I'm still waiting for some bright physicist to talk about sub-atomic notes and what that might mean... I see where you're going with phenomics, but chemistry and statistical mechanics were already further afield than the intended audience who already have issues with "The Two Cultures". Getting into phenomics was just a bridge too far... not to mention, vastly more difficult to attempt to draw(!!!). 😉 Besides, I didn't want Carol Greider dropping into my DMs asking me why didn't I include telomeres or chancing an uncomfortable LAX-BWI flight and a train/cab ride into Baltimore with Peter Agre who's popped up next to me on more than one occasion.

      Honestly, I was much less satisfied with the nebulousness of "solution of life"... fortunately no one seems to be complaining about that or their inability to grapple with catalysis. 🤷🏼

  5. Jan 2023
    1. The most famous "active" reader of great books I know isPresident Hutchins, of the University of Chicago. He also has the hardest schedule ofbusiness activities of any man I know. He invariably reads with a pencil, and sometimes,when he picks up a book and pencil in the evening, he finds himself, instead of makingintelligent notes, drawing what he calls 'caviar factories' on the margins. When thathappens, he puts the book down. He knows he's too tired to read, and he's just wastingtime.

      "caviar factories" brings to mind the OCD doodling of lots of small compact circles, which is what I suspect Hutchins was occupying himself with...

    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.

  6. Dec 2022
    1. Luhmann’s system is built entirely of physical, not digital,parts. With those parts of Luhmann’s system stripped away, deleted, andmorphed from physical form to metaphysical form, the critical essence ofthe Zettelkasten system has been demoted.

      Interesting parallelism here with the metaphysical actions of governments and specifically the actions of American soldiers' treatment of Luhmann in the prior section....



    1. For example I had a few notes on principles of modern cryptography that came in handy when I had to write a paper about a related topic for my studies. But these cases were rare at best, most of these notes were never looked at again.

      The one shining moment in the whole essay and they don't seem to realize where the benefit or use actually was. They finally had a reason to have taken notes and the ideas shone here. But they've written off the tools because they didn't understand when to use them.

      Hammers are cool, but unless you're a professional carpenter, you don't carry it around all the time and use it constantly to hammer things. The same is true of note taking as a tool. You might use it regularly if you're a writer or an academic perhaps, but for hourly use in your day-to-day? Almost definitely not.

    1. Musical Chairs

      The authors analogize educational levels and unemployment rates to playing musical chairs to underline the zero sum game being played in the labor market.

      This becomes a useful argument for why a universal basic income ought to be implemented, not to mention the bullshit job thesis which pairs with it.

    2. What greater education and skills allow an individual to do is to move fur-ther up in the overall queue of people looking to find a well-paying and re-warding job. However, because of the limited number of such jobs, only a setamount of people will be able to land such jobs. Consequently, one’s positionin the queue can change as a result of human capital, but the same amount ofpeople will still be stuck at the end of the line if the overall opportunities re-main the same.

      There is a direct analogy to statistical mechanics and thermodynamics to be drawn here.

  7. Nov 2022
    1. Mark: Yeah. And I actually think the Agile revolution in software development is software development catching up to the fact that it’s a writer-ly art. Writers don’t know where they’re going or how they’re going to express it when they start out. Neither, it turns out, does software developers. They can pretend by writing it the first time in a spec language and then coding it and then, checking the specification, then finding out that they’ve written the wrong thing and writing a new specification. That was when I was getting started, the right way to write software.

      Agile software development is akin to the design of the writing process.

    1. Whenever I read about the various ideas, I feel like I do not necessarily belong. Thinking about my practice, I never quite feel that it is deliberate enough.


      Sometimes the root question is "what to I want to do this for?" Having an underlying reason can be hugely motivating.

      Are you collecting examples of things for students? (seeing examples can be incredibly powerful, especially for defining spaces) for yourself? Are you using them for exploring a particular space? To clarify your thinking/thought process? To think more critically? To write an article, blog, or book? To make videos or other content?

      Your own website is a version of many of these things in itself. You read, you collect, you write, you interlink ideas and expand on them. You're doing it much more naturally than you think.

      I find that having an idea of the broader space, what various practices look like, and use cases for them provides me a lot more flexibility for what may work or not work for my particular use case. I can then pick and choose for what suits me best, knowing that I don't have to spend as much time and effort experimenting to invent a system from scratch but can evolve something pre-existing to suit my current needs best.

      It's like learning to cook. There are thousands of methods (not even counting cuisine specific portions) for cooking a variety of meals. Knowing what these are and their outcomes can be incredibly helpful for creatively coming up with new meals. By analogy students are often only learning to heat water to boil an egg, but with some additional techniques they can bake complicated French pâtissier. Often if you know a handful of cooking methods you can go much further and farther using combinations of techniques and ingredients.

      What I'm looking for in the reading, note taking, and creation space is a baseline version of Peter Hertzmann's 50 Ways to Cook a Carrot combined with Michael Ruhlman's Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking. Generally cooking is seen as an overly complex and difficult topic, something that is emphasized on most aspirational cooking shows. But cooking schools break the material down into small pieces which makes the processes much easier and more broadly applicable. Once you've got these building blocks mastered, you can be much more creative with what you can create.

      How can we combine these small building blocks of reading and note taking practices for students in the 4th - 8th grades so that they can begin to leverage them in high school and certainly by college? Is there a way to frame them within teaching rhetoric and critical thinking to improve not only learning outcomes, but to improve lifelong learning and thinking?

    1. Think of "data" as thevegetables grown in this garden

      Since next example states local data is like an "apple", and global data is like "all apples from one tree", replace "vegetables" with "produce".

    1. He has a warehouse of notecards with ideas and stories and quotes and facts and bits of research, which get pulled and pieced together then proofread and revised and trimmed and inspected and packaged and then shipped.

      While the ancients thought of the commonplace as a storehouse of value or a treasury, modern knowledge workers and content creators might analogize it to a factory where one stores up ideas in a warehouse space where they can be easily accessed, put into a production line where those ideas can be assembled, revised, proofread, and then package and distributed to consumers (readers).


    1. his 1964 album Live At The Star-Club Hamburg, recorded by the Dutch label Philips as part of a series of live recordings from the German venue, and about which Rolling Stone Magazine later raved, "It's not an album, it's a crime scene ... with no survivors but The Killer."

      what a great review...

    1. Zettelkasten with the complicated digestive system of a ruminant. All arbitrary ideas, all coincidences of readings, can be brought in. The internal connectivity then decides.

      another in a long line of using analogizing thinking to food digestion.... I saw another just earlier today.

  8. Oct 2022
    1. Les murs du cabinet de travail, le plancher, le plafond même portaient des liasses débordantes, des cartons démesurément gonflés, des boîtes où se pressait une multitude innombrable de fiches, et je contemplai avec une admiration mêlée de terreur les cataractes de l'érudition prêtes à se rompre. —Maître, fis-je d'une voix émue, j'ai recours à votre bonté et à votre savoir, tous deux inépuisables. Ne consentiriez-vous pas à me guider dans mes recherches ardues sur les origines de l'art pingouin? —Monsieur, me répondit le maître, je possède tout l'art, vous m'entendez, tout l'art sur fiches classées alphabétiquement et par ordre de matières. Je me fais un devoir de mettre à votre disposition ce qui s'y rapporte aux Pingouins. Montez à cette échelle et tirez cette boîte que vous voyez là-haut. Vous y trouverez tout ce dont vous avez besoin. J'obéis en tremblant. Mais à peine avais-je ouvert la fatale boîte que des fiches bleues s'en échappèrent et, glissant entre mes doigts, commencèrent à pleuvoir. Presque aussitôt, par sympathie, les boîtes voisines s'ouvrirent et il en coula des ruisseaux de fiches roses, vertes et blanches, et de proche en proche, de toutes les boîtes les fiches diversement colorées se répandirent en murmurant comme, en avril, les cascades sur le flanc des montagnes. En une minute elles couvrirent le plancher d'une couche épaisse de papier. Jaillissant de leurs inépuisables réservoirs avec un mugissement sans cesse grossi, elles précipitaient de seconde en seconde leur chute torrentielle. Baigné jusqu'aux genoux, Fulgence Tapir, d'un nez attentif, observait le cataclysme; il en reconnut la cause et pâlit d'épouvante. —Que d'art! s'écria-t-il. Je l'appelai, je me penchai pour l'aider à gravir l'échelle qui pliait sous l'averse. Il était trop tard. Maintenant, accablé, désespéré, lamentable, ayant perdu sa calotte de velours et ses lunettes d'or, il opposait en vain ses bras courts au flot qui lui montait jusqu'aux aisselles. Soudain une trombe effroyable de fiches s'éleva, l'enveloppant d'un tourbillon gigantesque. Je vis durant l'espace d'une seconde dans le gouffre le crâne poli du savant et ses petites mains grasses, puis l'abîme se referma, et le déluge se répandit sur le silence et l'immobilité. Menacé moi-même d'être englouti avec mon échelle, je m'enfuis à travers le plus haut carreau de la croisée.

      France, Anatole. L’Île Des Pingouins. Project Gutenberg 8524. 1908. Reprint, Project Gutenberg, 2005. https://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/8524/pg8524.html

      Death by Zettelkasten!!

      (Coming soon to a theater near you...)

      In the preface to the novel Penguin Island (L'Île des Pingouins. Calmann-Lévy, 1908) by Nobel prize laureate Anatole France, a scholar is drowned by an avalanche of index cards which formed a gigantic whirlpool streaming out of his card index (Zettelkasten).

      Link to: Historian Keith Thomas has indicated that he finds it hard to take using index cards for excerpting and research seriously as a result of reading this passage in the satire Penguin Island.<br /> https://hypothes.is/a/rKAvtlQCEe2jtzP3LmPlsA

      Translation via: France, Anatole. Penguin Island. Translated by Arthur William Evans. 8th ed. 1908. Reprint, New York, NY, USA: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1922. https://www.google.com/books/edition/Penguin_Island/6UpWAvkPQaEC?hl=en&gbpv=0

      Small changes in the translation by me, comprising only adding the word "index" in front of the occurrences of card to better represent the historical idea of fiches used by scholars in the late 1800s and early 1900s, are indicated in brackets.

      The walls of the study, the floor, and even the ceiling were loaded with overflowing bundles, paste board boxes swollen beyond measure, boxes in which were compressed an innumerable multitude of small [index] cards covered with writing. I beheld in admiration mingled with terror the cataracts of erudition that threatened to burst forth.

      “Master,” said I in feeling tones, “I throw myself upon your kindness and your knowledge, both of which are inexhaustible. Would you consent to guide me in my arduous researches into the origins of Penguin art?"

      “Sir," answered the Master, “I possess all art, you understand me, all art, on [index] cards classed alphabetically and in order of subjects. I consider it my duty to place at your disposal all that relates to the Penguins. Get on that ladder and take out that box you see above. You will find in it everything you require.”

      I tremblingly obeyed. But scarcely had I opened the fatal box than some blue [index] cards escaped from it, and slipping through my fingers, began to rain down.

      Almost immediately, acting in sympathy, the neighbouring boxes opened, and there flowed streams of pink, green, and white [index] cards, and by degrees, from all the boxes, differently coloured [index] cards were poured out murmuring like a waterfall on a mountain-side in April. In a minute they covered the floor with a thick layer of paper. Issuing from their in exhaustible reservoirs with a roar that continually grew in force, each second increased the vehemence of their torrential fall. Swamped up to the knees in cards, Fulgence Tapir observed the cataclysm with attentive nose. He recognised its cause and grew pale with fright.

      “ What a mass of art! ” he exclaimed.

      I called to him and leaned forward to help him mount the ladder which bent under the shower. It was too late. Overwhelmed, desperate, pitiable, his velvet smoking-cap and his gold-mounted spectacles having fallen from him, he vainly opposed his short arms to the flood which had now mounted to his arm-pits . Suddenly a terrible spurt of [index] cards arose and enveloped him in a gigantic whirlpool. During the space of a second I could see in the gulf the shining skull and little fat hands of the scholar; then it closed up and the deluge kept on pouring over what was silence and immobility. In dread lest I in my turn should be swallowed up ladder and all I made my escape through the topmost pane of the window.

    1. As the historian Thomas Fuller remarked, ‘A commonplace book contains many notions in garrison, whence the owner may draw out an army into the field on competent warning.’
    1. You are all computer scientists. You know what FINITE AUTOMATA can do. You know what TURING MACHINES can do. For example, Finite Automata can add but not multiply. Turing Machines can compute any computable function. Turing machines are incredibly more powerful than Finite Automata. Yet the only difference between a FA and a TM is that the TM, unlike the FA, has paper and pencil. Think about it. It tells you something about the power of writing. Without writing, you are reduced to a finite automaton. With writing you have the extraordinary power of a Turing machine.
    1. We have lostthe tools of learning—the axe and the wedge, the hammer and the saw, thechisel and the plane—that were so adaptable to all tasks. Instead of them, wehave merely a set of complicated jigs, each of which will do but one task andno more, and in using which eye and hand receive no training, so that no manever sees the work as a whole or “looks to the end of the work.”
    1. Doch ganz gleich, ob der Zettelkasten auf ein Buch, ein Werk oder auf eine Gedankenwolke mit wechselnder Niederschlagsneigung hinauslief - er ist stets mehr als das Ganze, dessen Teile er gesammelt hat. Denn es stecken stets noch andere Texte in ihm als diejenigen, die aus ihm hervorgegangen sind. Insofern wäre die Digitalisierung des einen oder anderen Zettelkastens ein Geschenk an die Wissenschaft.

      machine translation (Google):

      But regardless of whether the Zettelkasten resulted in a book, a work, or a thought cloud with varying degrees of precipitation - it is always more than the whole whose parts it has collected. Because there are always other texts in it than those that emerged from it.

      There's something romantic about the analogy of a zettelkasten with a thought cloud which may have varying degrees of precipitation.

      Link to other analogies: - ruminant machines - the disappointment of porn - others?

    1. The most important thing about research is to know when to stop.How does one recognize the moment? When I was eighteen orthereabouts, my mother told me that when out with a young man Ishould always leave a half-hour before I wanted to. Although I wasnot sure how this might be accomplished, I recognized the advice assound, and exactly the same rule applies to research. One must stopbefore one has finished; otherwise, one will never stop and neverfinish.

      Barbara Tuchman analogized stopping one's research to going out on a date: one should leave off a half-hour before you really want to.

      Liink to: This sounds suspiciously like advice about when to start writing, but slightly in reverse: https://hypothes.is/a/WeoX9DUOEe2-HxsJf2P8vw

      One might also liken these processes to the idea of divergence and convergence as described by Tiago Forte and others.

    1. Much like Gerald Weinberg's fieldstone metaphor for note taking and writing, Jacques Goutor frames the process as creating a mosaic of information "fit [...] into meaningful patterns" whether they be narratives, charts, or other forms.


  9. Sep 2022
    1. One of the first consequences of the so-called attention economy is the loss of high-quality information.

      In the attention economy, social media is the equivalent of fast food. Just like going out for fine dining or even healthier gourmet cooking at home, we need to make the time and effort to consume higher quality information sources. Books, journal articles, and longer forms of content with more editorial and review which take time and effort to produce are better choices.

    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. The Field Notes journal serves as RAM, the index cards as HDD, metaphorically speaking...(brain is CPU).

      Den analogizes their note taking system to computing on 2010-11-11 8:43 PM.

  10. Aug 2022
    1. Ballpoint pens are not tools for marking books, and felt-tip highlighters should be prohibited altogether.

      How is one to have an intimate conversation with a text if their annotations are not written in the margins? Placing your initial notes somewhere else is like having sex with your clothes on.

      syndication link

    1. “I do all my own research,” she said, “though reviewers have speculatedthat I must have a band of hirelings. I like to be led by a footnote ontosomething I never thought of. I rarely photocopy research materials because, for me, note-taking is learning, distilling. That’s the whole essence ofthe business. In taking notes, you have to discard what you don’t need. If you[photocopy] it, you haven’t chewed it.”
    1. Quine's book Word and Object (p. 3f) made famous Neurath's analogy which compares the holistic nature of language and consequently scientific verification with the construction of a boat which is already at sea (cf. Ship of Theseus): .mw-parser-output .templatequote{overflow:hidden;margin:1em 0;padding:0 40px}.mw-parser-output .templatequote .templatequotecite{line-height:1.5em;text-align:left;padding-left:1.6em;margin-top:0}We are like sailors who on the open sea must reconstruct their ship but are never able to start afresh from the bottom. Where a beam is taken away a new one must at once be put there, and for this the rest of the ship is used as support. In this way, by using the old beams and driftwood the ship can be shaped entirely anew, but only by gradual reconstruction.
  11. Jul 2022
    1. Even physicists,when they leave equations behind and try to describetheir discoveries to the rest of us in plain English, findthemselves employing analogies, metaphors, and theother language tools we all use

      Within mathematical contexts one of the major factors often at play is the idea of abstraction: how can one use a basic idea and then abstract it to other situations to see what results.

      The idea of abstraction in mathematics is analogous to analogy and metaphor in literature.

    1. that you know was not connected to any kind of military application there were other examples of this and this is something that you could actually put you know 00:07:36 these cards in a smaller deck that you could review i drove to my conference so it would have been a lot harder to review these when i'm driving however if you're flying or taking a train or you 00:07:49 know something where a passenger seat you could potentially just take these cars make a small deck and carry them with you wouldn't need a computer or anything now that was the priming piece 00:08:03 how did it help next step is i actually went to the agenda into the schedule and looked at it typically when you do that there are some some talks that you're going to want to 00:08:16 go to right and some work groups or tracks that are that have a large application to what you're doing your day job is the other piece is if you're presenting

      This is an example about preparation for going into a conference (or battle, which is suggested by this particular conference's topic). The work provides a primer for what is about to happen and can be analogized to ancients taking the ark of the covenant into battle before them. It serves as a cultural talisman representing what they're fighting for, but it also likely served as a mnemonic device for their actual battle strategies and plans from the time. They take it with them as a physical review reminder and device.

    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. 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

  12. Jun 2022
    1. As powerful and necessary as divergence is, if all we ever do isdiverge, then we never arrive anywhere.

      Tiago Forte frames the creative process in the framing of divergence (brainstorming) and convergence (connecting ideas, editing, refining) which emerged out of the Stanford Design School and popularized by IDEO in the 1980s and 1990s.

      But this is just what the more refined practices of maintaining a zettelkasten entail. It's the creation of profligate divergence forced by promiscuously following one's interests and collecting ideas along the way interspersed with active and pointed connection of ideas slowly creating convergence of these ideas over time. The ultimate act of creation finally becomes simple as pulling one's favorite idea of many out of the box (along with all the things connected to it) and editing out any unnecessary pieces and then smoothing the whole into something cohesive.

      This is far less taxing than sculpting marble where one needs to start with an idea of where one is going and then needs the actual skill to get there. Doing this well requires thousands of hours of practice at the skill, working with smaller models, and eventually (hopefully) arriving at art. It's much easier if one has the broad shapes of the entirety of Rodin, Michelangelo, and Donatello's works in their repository and they can simply pull out one that feels interesting and polish it up a bit. Some of the time necessary for work and practice are still there, but the ultimate results are closer to guaranteed art in one domain than the other.

      Commonplacing or slipboxing allows us to take the ability to imitate, which humans are exceptionally good at (Annie Murphy Paul, link tk), and combine those imitations in a way to actively explore and then create new innovative ideas.

      Commonplacing can be thought of as lifelong and consistent practice of brainstorming where one captures all the ideas for later use.

      Link to - practice makes perfect

    2. The idea of startinganything from scratch will become foreign to you—why not draw onthe wealth of assets you’ve invested in in the past?

      He uses the idea of "wealth" here for notes created in a commonplace instead of "treasure" or storehouse as is the historical tradition, this is an indication of a complete schism between the older traditions and the new.

    1. The old cookbook said: " Take enough butter." I say: "Do nottake too many notes." Both recommendations are hard to inter-pret except by trial and error.
    2. The first is: always take notes inyour own words-I mean, of course, facts an1 ideas garneredfrom elsewhere, not statements to be quoted verbatim. The titleof a book, an important phrase or remark, you will copy as theystand. But everything else you reword, for two reasons: in thateffort the fact or idea passes through your mind, instead of goingfrom the page to your eye and thence to your note while you remainin a trance. Again, by rewording you mix something of yourthought with the acquired datum, and the admixture is the be-ginning of your own thought-and-writing about the whole topic.Naturally you take care not to distort. But you will find that notestaken under this safeguard are much closer to you than meretranscripts from other books; they are warm and speak to youlike old friends, becau se by your act of thought they have be-come pieces of your mind.

      Barzun analogies notes as "old friends". He, like many others, encourages note takers to put ideas into their own words.

  13. May 2022
    1. I’m evenwilling to bet that you’re doing them already in some form, whetheryou realize it or not.

      Are self-help books with sentences that highlight the fact that one is already practicing the described/prescribed method really necessary?

      Perhaps speaking about the process and making the steps discrete to assist people in actually "touching all the bases" will help them score their homeruns.



    1. in my experience it has its head has a similar pattern to what henry ford did to the automobile 01:20:31 industry so before him it was basically like a few people built one car at a time and he basically broke up the process so you had like i don't know how many but 01:20:43 like dozens people a dozen people and each individual had just one one motion to do and the industrialization specialization right yeah and the the result was that 01:20:56 each individual didn't know anything and all the knowledge was in the process and my suspicion is that the promise of the settle custom that the paper 01:21:08 just write themselves it's like a very prominent process a promise around the telecast method lead to the to the thinking that you basically reduce your 01:21:20 the need for yourself and all the intelligence all the proficiency is put into a system and you have something doing for you and you treat yourself more like a like a 01:21:33 worker on a an assembly line just being and having all just a simple a simple motion that you have to do and then the end product will be 01:21:45 but will be very complex and very sophisticated because the intelligence is embedded in the process

      Sascha Fast analogizes the writing process using a zettelkasten to Henry Ford's assembly line for building cars. Each worker on the assembly line has a limited bit of knowledge for their individual part of the process, but most of the knowledge and value is built into the overarching process itself. This makes the overall system quicker and more efficient.

      Similarly with note taking, each individual portion of the process is simple and self-contained, but it allows the writer to create a much more creative and complex piece in the end. Here an individual can accomplish all of the individual steps in a self-contained way while focusing on individual steps without becoming lost in the subsequent steps which would otherwise require a tremendous additional amount of energy.

  14. Apr 2022
    1. it starts with 00:32:31 this one kind of thing called single finger and these are all just variations or practice styles [Music] 00:32:45 and then octave double stop skills [Music] and you know just down the list but you know these things are all developed 00:32:59 through the practice the daily practice but then once once they've been developed then i can just plug them into songs and and create so that's just i'm really excited about this form like the fiddle wrong is because

      Jason Kleinberg takes basic tunes and then has a list of variations of practice styles which he runs through with each one (eg. single-finger, octave double stops scale, old-time, polkafy, blues, etc.) and he plays those tunes in these modified styles not only to practice, but to take these "musical conversations" and translate them into his own words. This is a clever way of generating new music and potentially even new styles by mixing those which have come before. To a great sense, he's having a musical conversation with prior composers and musicians in the same way that an annotator will have a conversation in the margins with an author. It's also an example of the sort of combinatorial creativity suggested by Raymond Llull's work.

    1. In the course of teaching hundredsof first-year law students, Monte Smith, a professor and dean at Ohio StateUniversity’s law school, grew increasingly puzzled by the seeming inability ofhis bright, hardworking students to absorb basic tenets of legal thinking and toapply them in writing. He came to believe that the manner of his instruction wasdemanding more from them than their mental bandwidth would allow. Studentswere being asked to employ a whole new vocabulary and a whole new suite ofconcepts, even as they were attempting to write in an unaccustomed style and anunaccustomed form. It was too much, and they had too few mental resources leftover to actually learn.

      This same analogy also works in advanced mathematics courses where students are often learning dense and technical vocabulary and then moments later applying it directly to even more technical ideas and proofs.

      How might this sort of solution from law school be applied to abstract mathematics?

    1. On Zettel 9/8a2 he called the Zettelkasten "eine Klärgrube" or a "septic tank;" (perhaps even "cesspool"). Waste goes in, and gets separated from the clearer stuff.

      Niklas Luhmann analogized his zettelkasten to a septic tank. You put in a lot of material, a lot of seemingly waste, and it allows a process of settling and filtering to allow the waste to be separated and distill into something useful.

    1. enable the blogger to share his or her observations from readings or experiencewith others, just as some seventeenth- century pedagogues advocated sharingnotes within a group.


      Blogging is a form of public note sharing that isn't dissimilar to seventeenth-century note sharing practices in group settings.

  15. Mar 2022
  16. Feb 2022
    1. The Internet is a giant mental network. In theory, it would be possible to create a miniature version of the web by creating one node with some content (an idea, a thought) and to ask people to create a branch off that node with a label of their own—based on what the initial node made them think about. People would keep on adding nodes, which would create interesting stories, like a non-linear cadavre exquis.
    1. Every Scrivener document is made up of little cards of text — called “scrivenings” in the lingo — that are presented in an outline view on the left hand side of the window. Select a card, and you see the text associated with that card in the main view.

      zettels:zettelkasten::scrivenings:Scrivener::index card:index card file

      Example of a neologism ("scrivenings") used specifically for marketing a feature of a technology product.

    2. Two things are worth noting here: the nests and the non-linearity. The different layers are nested in structure. Hunches come together to form ideas which come together to form stories. But sequence only becomes critical in the top layers: stories, arguments, chapters. The different between the two stages is like the difference between the pushpin evidence board from The Wire — a scattered network of clues and potential connections—and a prosecutor’s closing statement in a criminal trial.
    1. A coach is not there to do the work,but to show us how to use our time and effort in the most effectiveway.

      Much as coaches help their athletes become better, teachers are there to help students use their time and work efforts in the most effective ways.

    2. Most students sort their material by topicor even by seminars and semester. From the perspective ofsomeone who writes, that makes as much sense as sorting yourerrands by purchase date and the store they were bought from.Can’t find your trousers? Maybe they are with the bleach you boughtthe same day at your department store.

      This is a brilliant analogy.

    3. In hindsight, we know why they failed: The ship owners tried tointegrate the container into their usual way of working withoutchanging the infrastructure and their routines. They tried to benefitfrom the obvious simplicity of loading containers onto ships withoutletting go of what they were used to.

      Ahrens makes a useful analogy: the reason that early attempts at shipping containers failed was because their users tried to fit them into their own way of doing business instead of reorganizing their businesses to accommodate the shipping container. Similarly one needs to consider how one's note taking method fits into their work in a more integrative way. Without properly integrating it into one's workflow seamlessly the system will fail.

    1. To satisfy the architecture of a modern process, a space sepa-rate from the usual library business is furnished, a catalog room or working memory for a central bibliographic unit. In this CBU, the program pro-cesses data contributed by various paths.

      Note here how the author creates the acronym CBU out of central bibliographic unit as a means of creating a connection to computer jargon like CPU (central processing unit). I suspect that CBU was not an acronym used at the time.




  17. Jan 2022
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ydqjJiQ4zs

      Dan Allosso looks at the graph view of his Obsidian vault in an attempt to clean up orphaned notes and connect them into his larger knowledge base.

      He uses a clever Kuiper belt comet analogy to describe bringing these notes into his his solar system.

    1. One of these tools was the so-called Indice Categorico designed by Emanu-ele Tesauro. Tesauro displayed it as a ‘secret truly secret’ (‘secreto veramente secreto’), that is, as a truly valuable invention. According to Tesauro,72 the matter was to discover topics that were hidden behind several different cat-egories and to compare them to each other (‘penetrar gli obietti altamente ap-piattati sotto diverse Categorie, e di riscontrarli tra loro’) to discover analogies and similarities that would have otherwise been overlooked if everything had been preserved under its own category (‘scovare analogie e somiglianze che sarebbero passate inosservate se ogni cosa fosse rimasta classificata sotto la propria Categoria’). The cognitive device used to achieve this purpose was the metaphor. By listing topics in a jumbled manner under a certain category ac-cording to some similarity in meaning among them, it was possible to produce unexpected results. In short, it was possible to discover something new.

      72 Emanuele Tesauro, Il Cannocchiale aristotelico, 5th ed. (Venice, 1669), 83. On this inven-tion, see also Umberto Eco, Dall’albero al labirinto. Studi storici sul segno e l’interpretazione (Milan, 2007), 45–7.

      Emanuele Tesaurio's Indice Categorico was a tool for thought which aimed to discover new information by using metaphors and analogies with respect to the categories or taxonomies so as to draw links between them.

    1. A few friends are better than a thousand acquaintances.

      Adler is analogizing friendship to books here.

    1. Seneca gives an account of his ideas about note-taking in the 84th letter to Luculius ("On Gathering Ideas"). [1]The letter starts from what "men say" (ut aiunt), namely that we should imitate the bees in reading. As they produce honey from the flowers they visit and then "assort in their cells all that they have brought in" (277), so we should, Seneca himself says "sift (separare) whatever we have gathered from a varied course of reading" because things keep better in isolation from one another.

      Cross reference origin in

      Seneca (2006) Epistles 66-92. With an English translation by Richard G. Gummere. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press (Loeb Classical Library), 277-285.

  18. Dec 2021
    1. The tools of writing have seldom been designed with writers in mind.

      Perhaps its just that modern writers have been so long divorced from the ideas of classical rhetoric that they're making the process so much harder than it needs to be. Do writers know what they really need in the first place? Perhaps they've been putting the cart before the horse for too long.

      Rethinking one's writing process to start at the moment of reading and annotation is possibly a far better method for composition? Then instead of needing to do the work of coming up with an idea and then researching toward one's idea and then creating something de novo, one can delve into one's notes of things they know have previously been of interest to them. By already being of interest or answering questions they've previously asked themselves and had interest in pursuing, they might make the load of work more evenly spread across their lives rather than designing a massive mountain of a problem first and then attempting to scale it after the fact.

      By building the mountain from the start, it then isn't a problem to be solved, just a vista from which to stand and survey the area.

    1. Every note is only an element which receives its quality only from the network of links and back-links within the system.

      Every element receives its value based on the network of links and connections it has with other elements. This is just as true for ideas on index cards in a zettelkasten as it is for people within a society.

      idea/index card:zettelkasten :: person:society

      What other elements in complex systems is this analogy true for? Is it a truism for all elements in complex systems? What other examples can we come up with?

    2. Possibility of linking (Verweisungsmöglichkeiten). Since all papers have fixed numbers, you can add as many references to them as you may want. Central concepts can have many links which show on which other contexts we can find materials relevant for them.

      Continuing on the analogy between addresses for zettels/index cards and for people, the differing contexts for cards and ideas is similar to the multiple different publics in which people operate (home, work, school, church, etc.)

      Having these multiple publics creates a variety of cross links within various networks for people which makes their internal knowledge and relationships more valuable.

      As societies grow the number of potential interconnections grows as well. Compounding things the society doesn't grow as a homogeneous whole but smaller sub-groups appear creating new and different publics for each member of the society. This is sure to create a much larger and much more complex system. Perhaps it's part of the beneficial piece of the human limit of memory of inter-personal connections (the Dunbar number) means that instead of spending time linearly with those physically closest to us, we travel further out into other spheres and by doing so, we dramatically increase the complexity of our societies.

      Does this level of complexity change for oral societies in pre-agrarian contexts?

      What would this look like mathematically and combinatorially? How does this effect the size and complexity of the system?

      How can we connect this to Stuart Kauffman's ideas on complexity? (Picking up a single thread creates a network by itself...)

    1. For a library without a catalog, as Leibniz put it in his Consilium , resembles the ware-house of a businessman who cannot keep stock.
    2. Behind this order of paper slips that guarantees mobility and rearrange-ment, one can recognize the same economy of signs that a century earlier contributes to a major paradigmatic shift. Johannes Gutenberg ’ s invention of the printing press not only forges most obviously associations of typeset-ting, steel models, pouring mechanisms for individual letter types, special alloys, and composing sticks for setting lines of type. 28

      Much the same way printing was automated with Johannes Gutenberg's moveable type invention, the writing of longer pieces may be automated with moveable ideas. Ideas written down on slips (index cards) can be moved around easily and re-used as necessary in composing longer articles.

  19. Nov 2021
    1. had it been up to the folks in charge in Glynn County, the jury never would have seen that evidence. To say the system worked in this case is like saying your car made it home—after your entire family had to get out and push it miles down a dirt road.

      Recall that it took 70 days for an arrest in this case.

    1. As when a man buries a burning log in a black ash heapon the island of the Phaiakiansin a remote place in the country, where none live near as neighbors, 490and saves the seed of fire, having no other place to get a light from, soOdysseus buried himself in the leaves, and Athene shed a sleep on his eyesso as most quickly to quit him,by veiling his eyes, from the exhaustion of his hard labors.

      Wonderful analogy, particularly given the value of storing the heat and spark of fire in the wilderness at the time of the poem's composition.

      This is an interesting use of the verb "to quit". I'm curious what the sense of the original Greek was. Who/what is quitting who/what?

      Also interesting given his weakened state that he would need the help of Athene to fall asleep.

    1. Robert George has created the Academic Freedom Alliance, a group that intends to offer moral and legal support to professors who are under fire, and even to pay for their legal teams if necessary. George was inspired, he told me, by a nature program that showed how elephant packs will defend every member of the herd against a marauding lion, whereas zebras run away and let the weakest get killed off. “The trouble with us academics is we’re a bunch of zebras,” he said. “We need to become elephants.”

      There's something intriguing here with this cultural analogy of people to either elephants or zebras.

      The other side of this is also that of the accusers, who on the whole have not been believed or gaslit for centuries. How can we simultaneously be elephants for them as well?

  20. Sep 2021
    1. Just like if you are diseased, you are suffering from fever, so when there is no more fever, but you remain in your original healthy body, that is called mukti.
    1. The conventional Elizabethan images

      The conventional Elizabethan images of time as a devourer, a defacer, a bloody tyrant, a scytheman, are old enough, but there is a new immediacy and insistence.

    1. This is the theory of the extended mind, introduced more than two decades ago by the philosophers Andy Clark and David Chalmers. A 1998 article of theirs published in the journal Analysis began by posing a question that would seem to have an obvious answer: “Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin?” They went on to offer an unconventional response. The mind does not stop at the usual “boundaries of skin and skull,” they maintained. Rather, the mind extends into the world and augments the capacities of the biological brain with outside-the-brain resources.


      Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin?

      There seems to be a parallel between this question and that between the gene and the body. Evolution is working at the level of the gene, but the body and the environment are part of the extended system as well. Link these to Richard Dawkins idea of the extended gene and ideas of group selection.

      Are there effects to be seen on the evolutionary scale of group selection ideas with respect to the same sorts of group dynamics like the minimal group paradigm? Can the sorts of unconscious bias that occur in groups be the result of individual genes? This seems a bit crazy, but potentially worth exploring if there are interlinked effects based on this analogy.

    1. https://fs.blog/2021/07/mathematicians-lament/

      What if we taught art and music the way we do mathematics? All theory and drudgery without any excitement or exploration?

      What textbooks out there take math from the perspective of exploration?

      • Inventional geometry does

      Certainly Gauss, Euler, and other "greats" explored mathematics this way? Why shouldn't we?

      This same problem of teaching math is also one we ignore when it comes to things like note taking, commonplacing, and even memory, but even there we don't even delve into the theory at all.

      How can we better reframe mathematics education?

      I can see creating an analogy that equates math with art and music. Perhaps something like Arthur Eddington's quote:

      Suppose that we were asked to arrange the following in two categories–

      distance, mass, electric force, entropy, beauty, melody.

      I think there are the strongest grounds for placing entropy alongside beauty and melody and not with the first three. —Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, OM, FRS (1882-1944), a British astronomer, physicist, and mathematician in The Nature of the Physical World, 1927

  21. Aug 2021
    1. Want to Write a Book? You Probably Already Have!

      Patrick Rhone


      Paper is the best solution for the long term. If it's not on paper it can be important, if it's not it won't be.

      Our writing is important. It is durable.

      All we know about the past is what survived.

      Analogy: coke:champaign glass::blogger:book

      Converting one's blog into a book.

      "The funny thing about minimalism is that there's only so much you can say."

      Change the frame and suddenly you've changed the experience.

    1. Indeed, Luhmann's system functions very much like a library, with the note cards corresponding to the books and the index corresponding to the subject catalogue.

      Useful analogy here.

      Similarly W. Ross Ashby had a set of commonplace books, but used a more traditional index card system to create his index.

  22. Jul 2021
    1. In the same way that libertarian ideas had been lying around for Americans to pick up in the stagflated 1970s, young people coming of age in the disillusioned 2000s were handed powerful ideas about social justice to explain their world. The ideas came from different intellectual traditions: the Frankfurt School in 1920s Germany, French postmodernist thinkers of the 1960s and ’70s, radical feminism, Black studies. They converged and recombined in American university classrooms, where two generations of students were taught to think as critical theorists.

      Libertarian ideas being picked up in the 1970s.in analogy with

      Frankfurt School in 1920s Germany and French postmodernist thinkers of the 1960s and 70s put into "Just America"

    1. Reading and listening are thought of as receiving communication from someone who is actively engaged in giving or sending it. The mistake here is to suppose that re­ceiving communication is like receiving a blow or a legacy or a judgment from the court. On the contrary, the reader or listener is much more like the catcher in a game of baseball. Catching the ball is just as much an activity as pitching or hitting it. The pitcher or batter is the sender in the sense that his activity initiates the motion of the ball. The catcher or fielder is the receiver in the sense that his activity terminates it. Both are active, though the activities are different.

      Reading is a receptive active undertaking in the same way as a catcher receiving a pitch in baseball.

    1. In the relatively early years of the Web, the mass of content wassmall enough that a group of people at Yahoo could organize it bycategory, in something like a digital version of the map of humanknowledge created by the French Encyclopedists.

      Not every day that one sees a tangential reference to Denis Diderot's Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers (English: Encyclopedia, or a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Crafts).

  23. May 2021
    1. I worked on a recent project to sketch out for a centre-right German think-tank how a European data commons might work. I tried to steer it away from property rights and towards what you’d get if you started with the commons and then worked back to what data could be harnessed, and to which collective purposes. This is eminently do-able, and pushes you towards two distinct areas; groups of people who are served poorly or not at all by current data regimes, and existing cooperatives, unions and mutual societies who could collect and process their members’ data to improve collective bargaining, or licence access to it to generate revenue and boost affiliate membership. Viewing personal data as a collective asset points towards all sorts of currently under-provided public goods (I briefly describe several, on p. 74 here – yes, oddly enough, this stuff got shoved into an annex).

      Apparently lots of reading to catch up on here.

      I definitely like the idea of starting with the commons and working backwards, not only with respect to data, but with respect to most natural resources. This should be the primary goal of governments and the goal should be to prevent private individuals and corporations from privatizing profits and socializing the losses.

      Think of an individual organism in analogy to a country or even personkind. What do we call a group of cells that grows without check and consumes all the resources? (A cancer). The organism needs each cell and group of cells to work together for the common good. We can't have a group of cis-gender white men aggregating all the power and resources for themselves at the cost of the rest otherwise they're just a cancer on humanity.

    1. Amidst the global pandemic, this might sound not dissimilar to public health. When I decide whether to wear a mask in public, that’s partially about how much the mask will protect me from airborne droplets. But it’s also—perhaps more significantly—about protecting everyone else from me. People who refuse to wear a mask because they’re willing to risk getting Covid are often only thinking about their bodies as a thing to defend, whose sanctity depends on the strength of their individual immune system. They’re not thinking about their bodies as a thing that can also attack, that can be the conduit that kills someone else. People who are careless about their own data because they think they’ve done nothing wrong are only thinking of the harms that they might experience, not the harms that they can cause.

      What lessons might we draw from public health and epidemiology to improve our privacy lives in an online world? How might we wear social media "masks" to protect our friends and loved ones from our own posts?

    1. Social media platforms work on a sort of flywheel of engagement. View->Engage->Comment->Create->View. Paywalls inhibit that flywheel, and so I think any hope for a return to the glory days of the blogosphere will result in disappointment.

      The analogy of social media being a flywheel of engagement is an apt one and it also plays into the idea of "flow" because if you're bored with one post, the next might be better.

    1. Standard economic theory uses mathematics as its main means of understanding, and this brings clarity of reasoning and logical power. But there is a drawback: algebraic mathematics restricts economic modeling to what can be expressed only in quantitative nouns, and this forces theory to leave out matters to do with process, formation, adjustment, creation and nonequilibrium. For these we need a different means of understanding, one that allows verbs as well as nouns. Algorithmic expression is such a means. It allows verbs (processes) as well as nouns (objects and quantities). It allows fuller description in economics, and can include heterogeneity of agents, actions as well as objects, and realistic models of behavior in ill-defined situations. The world that algorithms reveal is action-based as well as object-based, organic, possibly ever-changing, and not fully knowable. But it is strangely and wonderfully alive.

      Read abstract.

      The analogy of adding a "verb" to mathematics is intriguing here.

  24. Apr 2021
    1. Although no one would hesitate to watch a TV show because they haven’t studied enough television history, many people think they do not know enough art history to look at art. For Linnea West, an educator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Slow Art Day lowers some of the barriers by making the case that there’s something to be gained simply from looking.“You don’t have to come to a work with knowledge you read in a book to get a lot out of it,” she says.

      This is an important point that many miss about art.

  25. Mar 2021
    1. Of course, the great thing about IndieWeb ideas is that if I ever do have that problem, a tool is already available. And if you have that problem right now, you just need to open up the IndieWeb toolkit and pull it out.

      You don't buy the hardware store because it's there, you visit it to get the right tool for the right job.

    1. We have a problem here with analogies: the so-called “vaccine resistance” is not like antibiotic resistance. Our mental models of “resistance” come mostly from antibiotics, but this analogy isn’t applicable here in the same way. Vaccines aren’t drugs; they are tools to give our immune system test practice so that when the real thing shows up, our body knows what to do. When antibiotics don’t work, they don’t work. Not so here. If the test practice isn’t as precise because the variant is a little different around the spike protein, the conclusion isn’t necessarily that the immune system won’t be able to do its job and stave off illness.

      Antibiotic resistance is not the same thing as vaccine "resistance".

  26. Feb 2021
    1. Commonplacing was like quilting: it produced pictures, some more beautiful than others, but each of them interesting in its own way. The assembled texts reveal patterns of culture: the segments that went into it, the stitching that connected them, the tears that pulled them apart, and the common cloth of which they were composed.

      A nice little analogy here.

    1. The parallels between walled gardens and the Berlin Wall don't stop there: the East German government maintained that the Wall wasn't there to keep people from escaping; rather, they said it was there to stop westerners who longed for the East German lifestyle from pouring across the border. Today, Facebook insists that it blocks interoperability to keep privacy-plunderers out of its service -- not to trap its users inside.

      A pretty apt analogy!

  27. Jan 2021
    1. Let’s say you have a group of people in a room and every one of those people has the physical ability to see. The room is dark. You want to turn on the light so they can see. You turn on a light. Here’s what equity work is like. Some eyes will hurt when you turn the light on, and they will need to be coached or trained to adapt. Some will blink and adjust quickly. Some have been waiting anxiously for light. And some eyes will stay closed and never open and then will write you emails about how angry they are that you turned a light on.

      Great analogy for institutional DEI work AND could be helpful for people needing to conceptualize Equity.

  28. Dec 2020
    1. Andrew Bosworth, one of Facebook’s longtime executives, has compared Facebook to sugar—in that it is “delicious” but best enjoyed in moderation. In a memo originally posted to Facebook’s internal network last year, he argued for a philosophy of personal responsibility. “My grandfather took such a stance towards bacon and I admired him for it,” Bosworth wrote. “And social media is likely much less fatal than bacon.”

      Another example of comparing social media and food.

  29. Aug 2014
    1. Interessant an den Analogien, die die Autoren Einstein entweder gezogen zu haben unterstellen oder aber selbst finden, um Zusammenhänge zu verdeutlichen, ist, dass es sich dabei offenbar zu einem großen Teil nicht um mathematisch-logische, sondern um bildliche Analogien, also Metaphern handelt. Das bedeutet mithin, dass das Einstein-Hirn beim Erdenken der Relativitätstheorie weitgehend mit denselben bildlichen Verfahren arbeitete wie zum Beispiel das Shakespeare-Hirn beim Verfassen so mancher unsterblicher Verszeile.