667 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    1. Suppose that we were asked to arrange the followingin two categories—distance, mass, electric force, entropy, beauty, melody.I think there are the strongest grounds for placingentropy alongside beauty and melody and not with thefirst three.
    1. His best-known works are two voluminous books that attempt to systematize the development of the sciences, History of the Inductive Sciences (1837) and The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, Founded Upon Their History (1840, 1847, 1858–60). While the History traced how each branch of the sciences had evolved since antiquity, Whewell viewed the Philosophy as the "Moral" of the previous work as it sought to extract a universal theory of knowledge through history. In the latter, he attempted to follow Francis Bacon's plan for discovery. He examined ideas ("explication of conceptions") and by the "colligation of facts" endeavored to unite these ideas with the facts and so construct science.[11] This colligation is an "act of thought", a mental operation consisting of bringing together a number of empirical facts by "superinducing" upon them a conception which unites the facts and renders them capable of being expressed in general laws.[22]
  2. Feb 2023
  3. Jan 2023
    1. The real story of what happened in human history is a thousandtimes more diverting.
    2. In the end I decided: everyone hates a long essay; everyoneloves a short book. Why not turn the essay into a freestanding workand let it stand on its own merits?And that is what I have done.
    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. Panofsky's quote that "“Thus, while science endeavours to transform the chaotic variety of natural phenomena into what may be called a cosmos of nature, the humanities endeavour to transform the chaotic variety of human records into what may be called a cosmos of culture.”

      check quote and original source

    1. A. Both Robespierre and Animal are ambitious and protean members of an elite group, shifting their identities in response to changing conditions and gradually taking on increasingly extreme positions, driving both the French Revolution and the Muppet Show into what is colloquially known as “The Terror”.
    1. Browsing through Walten’s notes also helped Jagersma to get to know the pamphleteer better, even though he is been dead for three hundred years. “The Memoriaelen say a lot about him. I could read how Walten did his research, follow his fascinations, and see the ideas for pieces he was not able to work out anymore. In a way, these two notebooks are a kind of self-portrait.”
    2. In the process, her notes become very personal. “The more personal, the more valuable,” says Fraza. “The way in which you link your ideas is what makes your knowledge base unique.”
    3. And the third category is for things that inspire me but that I don’t yet know exactly how to use. This category is actually the most interesting.”

      Many people collect notes that they're not sure what to do with or even where to put them. Neuroscience student and researcher Charlotte Fraza keeps her version of these notes in a category of "things that inspire me, but I don't yet know exactly how to use. She feels that compared to the other categories of actionable specific use and sources, this inspiration category is the most interesting to her.

    1. 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. “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction.” E.F. Schumacher
    1. Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve, "Brief Mention," American Journal of Philology 20.1 (1899) 108-113 (at 108): With all our advance in scientific astronomy, the average modern man is not so familiar with the sky as was his antique brother, and some of the blunders in modern works of fiction that are scored from time to time in scientific journals would hardly have been possible for a ploughman of antiquity, not to say a sailor. The world needs every now and then a reminder that the modern head holds different things from the ancient brain-pan, not necessarily more.

      How painfully true this may have been in 1899, it's now much worse in 2023!


      Specialization of knowledge tends to fit the lifeways of the people who hold and maintain it. Changing lifeways means one must lose one or more domains and begin using or curating different domains of knowledge.

      In a global world of specialization, humans who specialize are forced to rely more heavily on the experience and veracity of those around them who have also specialized. One may be able to have a Ph.D. in astrophysics, but their knowledge of the state of the art in anthropology or economic policy may be therefore utterly undeveloped. As a result they will need to rely on the knowledge and help of others in maintaining those domains.

      This knowledge specialization means that politicians will need to be more open about what they think and say, yet instead politicians seem to be some of the least knowledge about almost anything.

      This is just the start of a somewhat well-formed thesis I've developed elsewhere, but not previously written out... more to come...

    1. Friedrich Schiller had already argued in 1795 that it was precisely in play that we find the origins of self-consciousness, and hence freedom, and hence morality. “Man plays only when he is in the full sense of the word a man,” Schiller wrote in his On the Aesthetic Education of Man, “and he is only wholly a Man when he is playing.”
    1. Might not my Journal be called “Field Notes?”

      —Henry David Thoreau, March 21, 1853

    2. to heaven. I see that if my facts were sufficiently vital and significant,—perhaps transmuted more into the substance of the human mind,—Ishould need but one book of poetry to contain them all.

      I have a commonplace-book for facts and another for poetry, but I find it difficult always to preserve the vague distinction which I had in my mind, for the most interesting and beautiful facts are so much the more poetry and that is their success. They are translated from earth

      —Henry David Thoreau February 18, 1852

      Rather than have two commonplaces, one for facts and one for poetry, if one can more carefully and successfully translate one's words and thoughts, they they might all be kept in the commonplace book of poetry.

    3. Sometimes, Isuspect, he copied his own words because he liked to copy: no one’scommonplace books could run to a million words—those are just theones that survive, in addition to a two-million-word Journal, andenormous quantities of other writing—without a sheer love of sittingwith pen in hand, a printed book and a blank page both open before

      him.

    4. 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. Ryan Randall @ryanrandall@hcommons.socialEarnest but still solidifying #pkm take:The ever-rising popularity of personal knowledge management tools indexes the need for liberal arts approaches. Particularly, but not exclusively, in STEM education.When people widely reinvent the concept/practice of commonplace books without building on centuries of prior knowledge (currently institutionalized in fields like library & information studies, English, rhetoric & composition, or media & communication studies), that's not "innovation."Instead, we're seeing some unfortunate combination of lost knowledge, missed opportunities, and capitalism selectively forgetting in order to manufacture a market.

      https://hcommons.social/@ryanrandall/109677171177320098

    1. Here are two personal sites that I found in the last couple of days. One I find fascinating for its ambition of totalization, the other for its simplicity and design. Chris Aldrich Andy Bell

      https://arrieta.io/little-corner-of-the-internet/

      I can only assume that mine is the one that has "ambition of totalization". :)

    1. It would actually be nice if there were some negative things that went along with conscientiousness, but at this point it’s emerging as one of the primary dimensions of successful functioning across the lifespan. It really goes cradle to grave in terms of how people do.— How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

      double-check quote and source

    1. not the technology itself that will bring about the learning or solve pedagogic prob-lems in the language classroom, but rather the affordances of those technologies andtheir use and integration in a well-formulated curriculum
    2. eachers’ digital litera-cies and their preparedness and motivation to introduce technology in their teachingwill largely impact on the extent to which technology-mediated TBLT will be viable asan innovation (Hubbard 2008)
    3. The addition of new technologies to people’s lives is never neutral, as it affects them,their language, and their personal knowledge and relations (Crystal 2008; Jenkinset al. 2009; Walther 2012)
    4. “digital natives”(Prensky 2001)

      A retenir pour usage ultérieur: digital native aka gen Z

    5. Warschauer has long warned, computerand information technology is no magic bullet and can be used to widen as much asto narrow social and educational gaps (Warschauer 2012
    6. particularly newInternet-connected devices and digital technologies have become embedded in thelife and learning processes of many new generations of students (Baron 2004; Ito et al.2009)

      saving this fact because it can be used as a reference in all our works later: so related to our field.

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIfH-iSGa5M

      2021-05-12

      Dr. Hanan Harif started out as a Geniza scholar but is now a biographer of Shlomo Dov Goitein.

      In the 1920s Goitein published his only play Pulcellina about a Jewish woman who was burned at the stake in France in 1171.

      Had a friendship with Levi Billig (1897-1936)

      You know very well the verse on Tabari that says: 'You wrote history with such zeal that you have become history yourself.' Although in your modesty you would deny it, we suggest that his couplet applies to yourself as well." —Norman Stillman to S.D. Goitein in letter dated 1977-07-20

      Norman Stillman was a student of Goitein.


      What has Hanan Harif written on Goitein? Any material on his Geniza research and his note cards? He addressed some note card material in the Q&A, but nothing direct or specific.

      Goitein's Mediterranean Society project was from 1967-1988 with the last volume published three years after his death. The entirety of the project was undertaken at University of Pennsylvania.

      The India Book, India Traders was published in 2007 (posthumously) as a collaboration with M.A. Friedman.

      Goitein wrote My Life as a Scholar in 1970, which may have some methodological clues about his work and his card index.

      He also left his diaries to the National Library of Israel as well and these may also have some clues.

      His bibliography is somewhere around 800 publications according to Harif, including his magnum opus.

      Harif shows a small card index at 1:15:20 of one of Goitein's collaborators (and later rival) Professor Eliasto (unsure of this name, can't find direct reference?). Harif indicates that the boxes are in the archives where he's at (https://www.nli.org.il/en/discover/archives/archives-list ? though I don't see a reasonable name/materials there, so perhaps it's at his home at Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem).

    1. Over time, they have been expanded and organized: it is the scaffolding of our conversation, left behind as a structure to think in. 

      "they" = "notes"

  4. Dec 2022
    1. "Queer people built the Fediverse," she said, adding that four of the five authors of the ActivityPub standard identify as queer. As a result, protections against undesired interaction are built into ActivityPub and the various front ends. Systems for blocking entire instances with a culture of trolling can save users the exhausting process of blocking one troll at a time. If a post includes a “summary” field, Mastodon uses that summary as a content warning.
    1. When writing history, there are rules to be followed and evidence to be respected. But no two histories will be the same, whereas the essence of scientific experiments is that they can be endlessly replicated.

      A subtle difference here between the (hard) sciences and the humanities. Every human will bring to bear a differently nuanced perspective.

    1. Since there is no measurable performance advantage for either, any time (however marginal) spent thinking or talking about a choice between the two is wasted. When you prefer single quoted strings, you have to think when you need interpolation. When you use double quoted strings, you never have to think. (I'd also add, anecdotally, that apostrophes are more prevalent in strings than double quotes, which again means less thinking when using double-quoted strings.) Therefore always using double-quoted strings results in the least possible wasted time and effort.
    1. I think one of the the things that 00:00:27 really separates us from the high primates is that we're tool builders and I read a a study that measured the efficiency of locomotion for various species on the planet the Condor used 00:00:41 the least energy to move a kilometer and humans came in with a rather unimpressive showing about a third of the way down the list it was not not too proud of a showing for the crown of 00:00:53 creation so that didn't look so good but then somebody at Scientific American had the insight to test the efficiency of locomotion for a man on a bicycle and a man on a bicycle or human on a bicycle 00:01:07 blew the Condor away completely off the top of the charts and that's what a computer is to me what a computer is to me is it's the most remarkable tool that we've ever come up with and it's the 00:01:19 equivalent of a bicycle for our minds

      Cleaned up quote:

      I think one of the [the] things that really separates us from the high primates is that [uh] we're tool builders. And I read a [uh] study that measured the efficiency of locomotion for various species on the planet. The Condor used the least energy to move a kilometer and [uh] humans came in with a rather unimpressive showing about a third of the way down the list. It was not [not] too proud of a showing for the crown of creation. So [uh] that didn't look so good, but then somebody at Scientific American had the insight to test the efficiency of locomotion for a man on a bicycle. And a man on a bicycle or human on a bicycle blew the Condor away—completely off the top of the charts and that's what a computer is to me. [uh] What a computer is to me is: it's the most remarkable tool that we've ever come up with and it's the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.<br /> —Steve Jobs in Memory & Imagination: New Pathways to the Library of Congress. Documentary. Krainin Productions, 1990.

      Snippet from full documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ob_GX50Za6c

    1. But Thamus replied, " Most ingenious Theuth, oneman has the ability to beget arts, but the ability tojudge of their usefulness or harmfulness to their usersbelongs to another ; and now you, who are the fatherof letters, have been led by your affection to ascribeto them a power the opposite of that which theyreally possess. For this invention will produce for-getfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it,because they will not practise their memory. Theirtrust in writing, produced by external characterswhich are no part of themselves, will discourage theuse of their own memory within them. You haveinvented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding ;and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom,not true wisdom, for they will read many thingswithout instruction and will therefore seem to knowmany things, when they are for the most part ignorant

      and hard to get along with, since they are not wise, but only appear wise." pp 563-564

    1. Life is too short to spend it on personal knowledge management.Tl;dr: I think personal knowledge management, in many cases, is a fruitless effort and there are generally only very few cases (see above) in which note taking actually makes sense.

      How was this tl;dr not obvious from before the start of their journey?

    1. By AD 500, the Christian Church had drawn most of the talented men of theage into its service, in either missionary, organizational, doctrinal, or purelycontemplative activity.—Edward Grant, Physical Science in the Middle Ages

      quote


      Google is like the Catholic Church both as organizers of information and society<br /> Just as the Catholic Church used funding from the masses to employ most of the smartest and talented to its own needs and mission from 500-1000 AD, Google has used advertising technology to collect people and employed them to their own needs. For one, the root was religion and the other technology, but both were organizing people and information for their own needs.

      Who/what organization will succeed them? What will its goals and ethics entail?

      (originally written 2022-12-11)

    1. But taste is not an act—it’s an opinion.
    2. “I thought that art schools should just be places where you thought about creative behavior, whereas they thought an art school was a place where you made painters,” he said later.

      We should do better at teaching and training creative behavior in schools. We say that we encourage exploration but somehow do it in all the wrong ways such we discourage it wholly.

    3. As he told Keyboard, in 1981, “Any constraint is part of the skeleton that you build the composition on—including your own incompetence.”
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8Xaw72ESdA

      According to researcher Danny Hatcher, the "Feynman Technique" was coined by Scott H. Young in the August 22, 2011 YouTube video Learn Faster with The Feynman Technique and the subsequent 2022-09-01 article Learn Faster with Feynman Technique, ostensibly in a summarization of Gleick, James (1992). Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-679-40836-3. OCLC 243743850.

      The frequently quoted Einstein that accompanies many instances of the Feynman Technique is also wrong and not said by Einstein.

      The root Einstein quote, is apparently as follows:

      that all physical theories, their mathematical expressions apart ought to lend themselves to so simple a description 'that even a child could understand them.' —Ronald W. Clark, p418 of Einstein: His Life and Times (1972)

    1. to lowered economic productivity through reduced earnings. In addition,increased health costs amount to $192 billion, whereas costs associated withincreased crime and incarceration (increased victimization costs of street crime;increased corrections and crime deterrence; increased social costs of incarcer-ation) total $406 billion.

      Childhood poverty results in an annual loss of $294 billion due...

    2. Alexis de Tocqueville referred to this in his 1840 treatise on America as self-interest properly understood. In fact, the full title of the chapter from his book,Democracy in America, is, “How the Americans Combat Individualism by theDoctrine of Self-Interest Properly Understood.” His basic premise was that“one sees that by serving his fellows, man serves himself and that doing good isto his private advantage.”6
    1. “Miraculous worlds may reveal themselves to a patient observer where the casual passerby sees nothing at all.” — Karl von Frisch
    1. I couldn’t help noticing that RSS kept turning out to be a great way to move data between cooperating systems. That’s always been true, and I love how this example reminds us that it’s still true.
    1. When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and you’re life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.
    1. “I first make a plan of what I am going to write,and then take from the note cabinet what I can use.”60

      source:

      60 Hans-Georg Moeller, The Radical Luhmann (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011), 11.

      I rather like the phrase "note cabinet" which isn't used often enough in the zettelkasten space. Something more interesting than filing cabinet which feels like where things are stored to never be seen again versus a note cabinet which is temporary and directed location storage specifically meant for things to actively be reused.

    2. “I started my Zettelkasten,because I realized that I had to plan for a life and not for a book.”5

      from Niklas Luhmann, Niklas Luhmann Short Cuts (English Translation), 2002, 22.

  5. Nov 2022
    1. James Clear:The only way to become excellent is to be endlessly fascinated by doing the same thing over and over.
    2. But Dr Essai has observed time and again how the finest artists are the ones whose idea of fun is spending hour after hour, day after day doing the same thing over and over and over and over. And then some more.

      This seems to fit in with Malcolm Gladwell's observation about Paul Simon see: https://hypothes.is/a/Kd7X4lvPEe250Gvn57Pbdg

    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. Victor Margolin's note taking and writing process

      • Collecting materials and bibliographies in files based on categories (for chapters)
      • Reads material, excerpts/note making on 5 x 7" note cards
        • Generally with a title (based on visual in video)
        • excerpts have page number references (much like literature notes, the refinement linking and outlining happens separately later in his mapping and writing processes)
        • filed in a box with tabbed index cards by chapter number with name
        • video indicates that he does write on both sides of cards breaking the usual rule to write only on one side
      • Uses large pad of newsprint (roughly 18" x 24" based on visualization) to map out each chapter in visual form using his cards in a non-linear way. Out of the diagrams and clusters he creates a linear narrative form.
      • Tapes diagrams to wall
      • Writes in text editor on computer as he references the index cards and the visual map.

      "I've developed a way of working to make this huge project of a world history of design manageable."<br /> —Victor Margolin

      Notice here that Victor Margolin doesn't indicate that it was a process that he was taught, but rather "I've developed". Of course he was likely taught or influenced on the method, particularly as a historian, and that what he really means to communicate is that this is how he's evolved that process.

      "I begin with a large amount of information." <br /> —Victor Margolin

      "As I begin to write a story begins to emerge because, in fact, I've already rehearsed this story in several different ways by getting the information for the cards, mapping it out and of course the writing is then the third way of telling the story the one that will ultimately result in the finished chapters."<br /> —Victor Margolin

  6. 6291320.fs1.hubspotusercontent-na1.net 6291320.fs1.hubspotusercontent-na1.net
    1. The prevalence of annotation online is a reminderthat the web is an information fabric woven together by linked resources. Annotationincreases the thread count of that fabric.
    2. Edgar Allan Poe, who wrote in 1844, “In the marginalia, too, we talkonly to ourselves; we therefore talk freshly — boldly — originally — with abandonnement— without conceit.”1

      Poe, E. A. (1844). Marginalia. United States Magazine and Democratic Review, 15, 484, https://www.eapoe.org/works/misc/mar1144.htm

      Curious that Poe framed marginalia as a self-conversation rather than a conversation with the text itself...

    1. “In order to talk to each other, we have to have words, and that’s all right. It’s a good idea to try to see the difference, and it’s a good idea to know when we are teaching the tools of science, such as words, and when we are teaching science itself,” Feynman said.

      Maths, Logic, Computer Science, Chess, Music, and Dance

      A similar observation could be made about mathematics, logic, and computer science. Sadly, public education in the states seems to lose sight that the formalisms in these domains are merely the tools of the trade and not the trade itself (ie, developing an understanding of the fundamental/foundational notions, their relationships, their instantiations, and cultivating how one can develop capacity to "move" in that space).

      Similarly, it's as if we encourage children that they need to merely memorize all the movements of chess pieces to appreciate the depth of the game.

      Or saying "Here, just memorize these disconnected contortions of the hand upon these strings along this piece of wood. Once you have that down, you've experienced all that guitar, (nay, music itself!) has to offer."

      Or "Yes, once, you internalize the words for these moves and recite them verbatim, you will have experienced all the depth and wonder that dance and movement have to offer."

      However, none of these examples are given so as to dismiss or ignore the necessity of (at least some level of) formalistic fluency within each of these domains of experience. Rather, their purpose is to highlight the parallels in other domains that may seem (at first) so disconnected from one's own experience, so far from one's fundamental way of feeling the world, that the only plausible reasons one can make to explain why people would waste their time engaging in such acts are 1. folly: they merely do not yet know their activities are absurd, but surely enough time will disabuse them of their foolish ways. 2. madness: they cannot ever know the absurdity of their acts, for "the absurd" and "the astute" are but two names for one and the same thing in their world of chaos. 3. apathy: they in fact do see the absurdity in their continuing of activities which give them no sense of meaning, yet their indifference insurmountably impedes them from changing their course of action. For how could one resist the path of least resistance, a road born of habit, when one must expend energy to do so but that energy can only come from one who cares?

      Or at least, these 3 reasons can surely seem like that's all there possibly could be to warrant someone continuing music, chess, dance, maths, logic, computer science, or any apparently alien craft. However, if one takes time to speak to someone who earnestly pursues such "alien crafts", then one may start to perceive intimations of something beyond their current impressions

      The contorted clutching of the strings now seems... coordinated. The pensive placement of the pawns now appears... purposeful. The frantic flailing of one's feet now feels... freeing. The movements of one's mind now feels... marvelous.

      So the very activity that once seemed so clearly absurd, becomes cognition and shapes perspectives beyond words

    1. Justice Louis D.Brandeis instructedlawyers that “there is nosuch thing as good writ-ing. There is only goodrewriting.”23
    2. “Broadly speaking, the shortwords are the best, and the old wordswhen short are best of all,” attestedformer British Prime Minister WinstonChurchill,
    3. “Usethe smallest word that does the job,”advised essayist and journalist E. B.White.20
    4. “[T]here is always a short word for it,”Rogers said. “‘I love words but I don’tlike strange ones. You don’t under-stand them, and they don’t understandyou. Old words is like old friends– you know ‘em the minute you see‘em.”17

      17 betty roGerS, wiLL roGerS 294 (1941; new ed. 1979) (quoting Rogers).

    5. Novelists Ernest Hemingway and Wil-liam Faulkner, for example, went backand forth about the virtues of simplic-ity in writing. Faulkner once criticizedHemingway, who he said “had nocourage, never been known to use aword that might send the reader to thedictionary.” “Poor Faulkner,” Heming-way responded, “Does he really thinkbig emotions come from big words?He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollarwords. I know them all right. But thereare older and simpler and better words,and those are the ones I use.”15

      15 A.E. Hotchner , PAPA heminGwAy 69-70 (1966) (quoting Hemingway).

    6. Guy de Maupassant, was no lawyer,but his advice can help guide lawyerswho seek precision in their writing.“Whatever you want to say,” he assert-ed, “there is only one word to expressit, only one verb to give it movement,only one adjective to qualify it. Youmust search for that word, that verb,that adjective, and never be contentwith an approximation, never resortto tricks, even clever ones, and neverhave recourse to verbal sleight-of-hand to avoid a difficulty.”11

      11 Guy de Maupassant, Selected Short Sto- ries 10-11 (Roger Colet ed., 1971) (Maupassant quoting French writer Gustave Flaubert).

    1. social historian G. M. Trevelyan (1978) put theissue some time ago, ‘Education...has produced a vast population able to readbut unable to distinguish what is worth reading.’
    2. As the British prime minister WilliamGladstone put it at the time in the Edinburgh Review, speaking of the remarkablePrussian success in the Franco-Prussian War: ‘Undoubtedly, the conduct of thecampaign, on the German side, has given a marked triumph to the cause ofsystematic popular education.’
    1. Reading a book should be a conversation between you andthe author.
    2. writing your reactions downhelps you to remember the thoughts of the author.
    3. . Full ownership of a bookonly comes when you have made it a part of yourself, and thebest way to make yourself a part of it-which comes to thesame thing-is by writing in it.
    4. To use a good book as a sedative is conspicuous waste.
    5. This is a rhetorical flourish, and it deserves what mererhetoric always deserves
    6. You should also be able to placethe book even more accurately than before in your mental cardcatalogue, for further reference if the occasion should everarise.

      use of "mental card catalogue" as memory

    7. Weare on record as holding that unlimited educational opportunity-or, speaking practically, educational opportunity thatis limited only by individual desire, ability, and need-is themost valuable service that society can provide for its members.

      This broadly applies to both oral and literate societies.

      Desire, ability, and need are all tough measures however... each one losing a portion of the population along the way.

      How can we maintain high proportions across all these variables?

    1. Being an English only speaker I love the mystery invoked by the German term "Zettelkasten".

      Example of someone who sees "mystery" in the idea of Zettelkasten, which becomes part of the draw into using it.

    1. “Who you are as a person is going to have more to do with your success in whatever you’re choosing to do than anything else.”

      this

    1. I'm pretty much done thinking about "tools for thought". It quickly becomes an infinity of navel gazing and a complete waste of time. It's an easy topic for budding "influencers" because you don't actually need to know anything. All they need is to spend some time with a new bit of software and tell people how they should use it and the next thing you know they're selling an online course via their budding YouTube channel.

      scathing, but broadly true...

    1. A commonplace book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial, reason, that "great wits have short memories;" and whereas, on the other hand, poets, being liars by profession, ought to have good memories; to reconcile these, a book of this sort, is in the nature of a supplemental memory, or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day's reading or conversation. There you enter not only your own original thoughts, (which, a hundred to one, are few and insignificant) but such of other men, as you think fit to make your own, by entering them there. For, take this for a rule, when an author is in your books, you have the same demand upon him for his wit, as a merchant has for your money, when you are in his. By these few and easy prescriptions, (with the help of a good genius) it is possible you may, in a short time, arrive at the accomplishments of a poet, and shine in that character[3].

      "Nullum numen abest si sit prudentia, is unquestionably true, with regard to every thing except poetry; and I am very sure that any man of common understanding may, by proper culture, care, attention, and labour, make himself whatever he pleases, except a good poet." Chesterfield, Letter lxxxi.

      See also: https://en.m.wikisource.org/wiki/Page:The_Works_of_the_Rev._Jonathan_Swift,_Volume_5.djvu/261 as a source


      Swift, Jonathan. The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift. Edited by Thomas Sheridan and John Nichols. Vol. 5. 19 vols. London: H. Baldwin and Son, 1801.

    1. 3/ Champion your competition’s work<br><br>With his reading list email, on podcasts, in his bookstore, Ryan promotes other books more than his own.<br><br>When asked, he’ll say:<br><br>“Authors think they’re competing with other authors. They’re not. They’re competing with people not reading.”

      — Billy Oppenheimer (@bpoppenheimer) August 24, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
    1. When he was coming up as a writer, the author and journalist Rex Murphy would write out longhand favorite poems and passages. He was asked, what’s that done for you? “There’s an energy attached to poetry and great prose,” Murphy said. “And when you bring it into your mind, into your living sensibility, by some weird osmosis, it lifts your style or the attempts of your mind.” When you read great writing, when you write down a great line or paragraph, Murphy continues, “somehow or another, it contaminates you in a rich way. You get something from it—from this osmotic imitation—that will only take place if you lodge it in your consciousness.”

      This writing advice from Rex Murphy sounds like the beginning portions of Benjamin Franklin's advice on writing and slowly rewriting one's way into better prose styles.

      Link to Franklin's quote

    2. David Brooks talks about what he calls the “theory of maximum taste.” It’s similar to what Murphy is saying. “Exposure to genius has the power to expand your consciousness,” Brooks writes. “If you spend a lot of time with genius, your mind will end up bigger and broader than if you [don’t].”
    3. For example, I recently read about how Lin-Manuel Miranda tells the same story dozens of times to the same person because he forgets who he already told. Once, when he finished telling his collaborator Tommy Kail a story, Kail said, “That happened to me. I told you that.” They both laughed then Kail added, “That’s why you’re cut out for theater, because you’ll tell it like it’s the first time.” So in the margin I wrote, LIKE IT’S THE FIRST TIME:

      This is interesting for itself.

      (reference: Sicker in the Head)


      It's also interesting because it's an example of regular rehearsal that actors, comedians, storytellers, performers and even salespeople often do to slowly hone and improve their performance or pitch. Each retelling and the response it gives provides subtle hints and clues as to how to improve the story or performance on the next go round, or at least until the thing is both perfected and comes out the same way every time.

    4. “There is then creative reading as well as creative writing,” Emerson said. “The discerning will read…only the authentic utterances of the oracle—all the rest he rejects.”
    5. Emerson liked to identify four classes of readers: the hourglass, the sponge, the jelly-bag, and the Golconda. The hourglass takes nothing in. The sponge holds on to nothing but a little dirt and sediment. The jelly-bag doesn’t recognize good stuff, but holds on to worthless stuff. And the Golconda (a rich mine) keeps only the pure gems.

      Where is the origin of this reading analogy?

    6. 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.

    7. The novelist and screenwriter Raymond Chandler said he avoided reading books written by someone who didn’t “take the pains” to write out the words. (It used to be common for writers to dictate into a recorder then have an assistant transcribe those words.) “You have to have that mechanical resistance,” Chandler wrote in a 1949 letter to actor/writer Alex Barris. “When you have to use your energy to put those words down, you are more apt to make them count.”
    1. "If the Reagans' home in Palisades (Calif.) were burning," Brinkley says, "this would be one of the things Reagan would immediately drag out of the house. He carried them with him all over like a carpenter brings their tools. These were the tools for his trade."

      Another example of someone saying that if their house were to catch fire, they'd save their commonplace book (first or foremost).

    1. It's not an exaggeration: Nearly every dollar I've made in my adult life was earned first on the back or front (or both) of an index card.Everything I do, I do on index cards.
  7. Oct 2022
    1. A recent writer has called attention to apassage in Paxson's presidential address before the American Historical Associationin 1938, in which he remarked that historians "needed Cheyney's warning . . . not towrite in 1917 or 1918 what might be regretted in 1927 and 1928."

      There are lessons in Frederic L. Paxson's 1938 address to the American Historical Association for todays social media culture and the growing realm of cancel culture when he remarked that historians "needed Cheyney's warning... not to write in 1917 or 1918 what might be regretted in 1927 and 1928.

    2. I am not much like Turner ; but I believe that I am like him in that Iam aware that in history you cannot prove an inference. You cannotprove causation, much as you crave to do it. You may present sequencesof events, whose relationship suggests a link-up of cause and consequence ;

      you may carry on the inquiry for a lifetime without discovering other events inconsistent with the hypothesis which has caught your eye. But you can never get beyond a circumstantial case. . . .<br /> "A Footnote to the Safety-Valve," August 15, 1940, Paxson Papers (University of California Library, Berkeley)

    3. The Verdict of History," he scrawled on anote : "There is none — . . . Apart from verif of facts There is noverdict only onesided testimony." "

      Note, n.d. (probably made during the 1920's), unsorted, Paxson File.

    4. "Say what one may of historical philos-ophy," he wrote in 1926, "history is a matter of facts; and theestablishment of facts, desiccated as they may be, is the chief func-tion of the genuine historian."

      Review of John B. Black, The Art of History; A Study of Four Great His- torians of the Eighteenth Century (New York, 1926), New York Herald Tribune Books, December 12, 1926, p. 12.

    5. "Do not take out of a secondarywork a paragraph or its substance and incorporate it in your work. . . . Use it if youmust, but restate it in your own terms, and make its form entirely yours. Give thefootnote of course but remember that you must be the author."

      Paxson advised that one should completely know, understand, and own one's sources and materials so that they would be able to act as auteur when relaying those ideas in their own theses.

    6. the author must not merely articulate his sources; he mustdigest them. A long passage quoted or closely followed "remainsan undigested bit of foreign matter." "Over quotation may meanunder thought."
    7. A note system, he told his stu-dents, should permit rearrangement and study of notes in differentrelationships "until the fact itself is brought out against the back-ground in all its important details."
      1. Note headed "notes," n.d., Paxson File, unclassified.
    1. ‘What tho’ his head be empty, provided his common-place book be full?’ sneered Jonathan Swift.
    2. For without a clear conceptual plan, an accumulation of excerpts, what Milton called ‘a paroxysm of citations’, can rapidly become a substitute for thought.
    3. I feel sympathy for Robert Southey, whose excerpts from his voracious reading were posthumously published in four volumes as Southey’s Common-Place Book. He confessed in 1822 that,Like those persons who frequent sales, and fill their houses with useless purchases, because they may want them some time or other; so am I for ever making collections, and storing up materials which may not come into use till the Greek Calends. And this I have been doing for five-and-twenty years! It is true that I draw daily upon my hoards, and should be poor without them; but in prudence I ought now to be working up these materials rather than adding to so much dead stock.
    4. 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".

    5. As Francis Bacon warned long ago, ‘One man’s notes will little profit another.’
    6. It is possible to take too many notes; the task of sorting, filing and assimilating them can take for ever, so that nothing gets written.
    7. another long forgotten manual for students, History and Historical Research (1928) by C.G. Crump of the Public Record Office: ‘Never make a note for future use in such a form ... that even you yourself will not know what it means, when you come across it some months later.’
    8. In his delightful autobiography, Memories Migrating, the late John Burrow records his perplexities when this injunction was conveyed to him by his graduate supervisor, George Kitson Clark: ‘I brooded on this. What was a fact? And what made it one fact? Surely most facts were compound. How would I know when I had reached bedrock, the ultimate, unsplittable atomic fact?’

      Historian John Burrow brooded over the definition of the atomicity of an idea in his autobiography Memories Migrating (2009).


      Individual facts link together into small networks to create context for each other.

    9. 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.’
    10. According to the Jacobean educational writer John Brinsley, ‘the choycest books of most great learned men, and the notablest students’ were marked through, ‘with little lines under or above’ or ‘by some prickes, or whatsoever letter or mark may best help to call the knowledge of the thing to remembrance’.
    1. Congratulations (I guess?) on finding my semi-secret Substack: a place away from my main site to discuss my journey from technologist (a pompous term that really just means I do computers) to writer (a pompous term that really just means I do computers but now it’s art).

      This quote is art... :)

    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. Anybody who writes knows you don’t simply write what you believe. You write to find out what you believe, or what you can afford to believe. So when I write something and it sounds good, I leave it in, usually, to see what it sounds like to someone else. To somebody else it might sound awful or brash, but I want to be able to have the courage of my brashness. I don’t leave things in that I know to be terrible, or that I don’t, as it were, find interesting—I don’t do that—but if there’s a doubt about it and it sounds interesting, I’ll leave it in. And I want to be free to do that, because that’s why I write. When I write, things occur to me. It’s a way of thinking. But you can perform your thinking instead of just thinking it.
    1. Memorization is not about a language, rather about a feeling you have about information. In other words, how deep it resonates with your life. In this sense, I was also exploring the idea that having an Antinet Zettelkasten is almost like having a "diary", not for your personal feelings or emotions, rather for exploring the way in which your entire mind and heart work together over the years in which we discover the world. For me, exploring subjects and studying is an internal discovery.

      in reply to los2pollos<br /> https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/y5un81/comment/it4jy3c/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      You're not the only one to think of a card index as diary. Roland Barthes practiced this as well. His biographer Tiphaine Samoyault came to call it his fichierjournal.

    1. if you're thinking without 00:03:26 writing chances are you're fooling yourself we're only

      If you're thinking without writing, you only think you're thinking. —Leslie Lamport.“Thinking Above the Code.” Lecture presented at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit, Microsoft Research, July 15, 2014. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/video/leslie-lamport-thinking-code/. Timestamp: 03:26

      Link to:<br /> https://hypothes.is/a/rvisgFDXEe2s-SuJJGw3cA<br /> https://hypothes.is/a/yEFMHoCkEeyl34fItJe__w

      Note that the spoken quote is different from the written quote.

    1. For the sole true end of educationis simply this: to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whateverinstruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain.
    2. 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.”
    3. for as Dialectic will have shown all branches oflearning to be inter-related, so Rhetoric will tend to show that all knowledgeis one.

      How did we shift from inter-related subjects and "one knowledge" of rhetoric in the Middle Ages to such strict departmentalization in the academy to only now be moving back toward multi-disciplinary research?

    4. hildren sit in judgment on their masters;

      All children sit in judgment on their masters;

    5. We dole out lip-service to the importance of education—lip-service and, just occasionally, a little grant of money; we postpone theschool leaving-age, and plan to build bigger and better schools; the teachersslave conscientiously in and out of school-hours, till responsibility becomes aburden and a nightmare; and yet, as I believe, all this devoted effort is largelyfrustrated, because we have lost the tools of learning, and in their absencecan only make a botched and piecemeal job of it.
    6. By teaching them all to read, we have left them atthe mercy of the printed word.

      Knowing how to read without the associated apparatus of the trivium, leaves people open to believing just about anything. You can read words, but knowing what to do with those words, endow them with meaning, and reason with them. (summarization)


      Oral cultures with knowledge systems engrained into them would likely have included trivium-esque structures to allow their users to not only better remember to to better think and argue.

    7. Is it not the great defect of our education to-day (—a defect traceablethrough all the disquieting symptoms of trouble that I have mentioned—)that although we often succeed in teaching our pupils “subjects,” we faillamentably on the whole in teaching them how to think? They learneverything, except the art of learning.
    1. [T.S.] Eliot stood—as he once famously said of himself—for conservatism in politics, classicism in literature, and Catholicism, or rather Anglo-Catholicism, in religion. He looked back into the past, the mediaeval past, as a confirmed laudator temporis acti and in the mediaeval past he looked back not only to John Donne among the metaphysical poets, nor only to William Shakespeare among the Elizabethan dramatists, but before them to the great Dante among Italian poets and behind Dante, though not so obviously, to St. Thomas Aquinas among the scholastic theologians. (From "T.S. Eliot's Metaphysics" by Peter Milward, Culture and Civilization 2009.)
    1. ‘Nothing should be taught to theyoung...unless it is not only permitted, but actually demanded by their age andmental strength.’

      —Comenius (1592-1670) in Didactica magna

      This is broadly similar to the spirit of much of Indigenous pedagogy, particularly in societies in which staged oral learning was a privilege.

    2. William Petty, a doctor in Cromwell’s army in 1647, noted that ‘...we seechildren do delight in drums, pipes, fiddles, guns made of elder sticks, andbellowes noses, piped keys, etc., painting flags and ensigns with elder-berriesand corn poppy, making ships with paper, and setting even nut-shells aswimming, handling the tools of workmen as soon as they turn their backs, andtrying to work themselves’ (reported in the Harleian Miscellany, 1810).