5 Matching Annotations
  1. May 2020
    1. The aim of these books wasn’t regurgitation but rather combinatorial creativity. People were encouraged to improvise on themes and topics. Gathering raw material alone — in this case, information — is not enough. We must transform it into something new. It is in this light that Seneca advised copying the bee and Einstein advised combinatorial play.

      I was really hoping for so much more in this essay on the combinatorial creativity, espcially since the author threw the idea into the title. The real meat must be in the two linked articles about Seneca and Einstein.

      There is a slight mention of combinatorics in the justaposition of pieces within one's commonplace book, and a mention that these books may date back to the 12th century where they were probably more influenced by the combinatoric creativity of Raymond Lull. It's still an open question for me just how far back the idea of commonplaces goes as well as how far back Lull's combinatoric pieces go...

    1. People in the Renaissance broke texts into fragments and used these to assemble and connect. It was, perhaps, the original remix culture and ultimate foundation of creativity.

      I'm wondering if I'm going to see signs of Raymond Lull's ideas here?

    1. Finally, and as fundamentally as there is a numerical memory and a dia-lectical memory, there is a geometry of memory too. Almost every monas-tic mnemotechnical scheme—ladders, roses, buildings, maps—was based ongeometrical figures: squares, rectangles, triangles, circles, and complex refor-mations of these, including three-dimensional structures

      She doesn't mention it, but they're not only placing things in order for potential memory purposes, but they're also placing an order on their world as well.

      Ladders and steps were frequently used to create an order of beings as in the scala naturae or the Great Chain of Being.

      Some of this is also seen in Ramon Lull's Ladder of Ascent and Descent of the Mind, 1305 (Ars Magna)

  2. Apr 2020
    1. Experienced practitioners [...] don't have to plod step by step through such a listing of concepts and questions. When they encounter a set of ideas or engage in debate, they can speed through the familiar relationships and spot at a glance the concepts that haven't been taken into account and the questions that haven't been asked. When they work out their own arguments or ideas, they can look at each point from a galaxy of different perspectives that might never come to mind without the help of the combinatorial system and the mental training it provides. Like the Lullian adepts of the Renaissance, they supplemented the natural capacities of their minds with the systematic practices of the combinatorial art. This, in turn, the art of memory seeks to do with the natural capacities of the human memory.  De Umbris Idearum, 'Working Bruno's Magic', p. 164