43 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
  2. Apr 2024
  3. Mar 2024
  4. Jan 2024
  5. Nov 2023
    1. Lovely. I guess what I'm trying to define is some methodology for practicing. Many times I simply resort to my exhaustive method, which has worked for me in the past simply due to brute force.Thank you for taking the time to respond and for what look like some very interesting references.

      reply to u/ethanzanemiller at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/185xmuh/comment/kb778dy/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      Some of your methodology will certainly depend on what questions you're asking, how well you know your area already, and where you'd like to go. If you're taking notes as part of learning a new area, they'll be different and you'll treat them differently than notes you're collecting on ideas you're actively building on or intriguing facts you're slowly accumulating. Often you'll have specific questions in mind and you'll do a literature review to see what's happing around that area and then read and take notes as a means of moving yourself closer to answering your particular questions.

      Take for example, the frequently asked questions (both here in this forum and by note takers across history): how big is an idea? what is an atomic note? or even something related to the question of how small can a fact be? If this is a topic you're interested in addressing, you'll make note of it as you encounter it in various settings and see that various authors use different words to describe these ideas. Over time, you'll be able to tag them with various phrases and terminologies like "atomic notes", "one idea per card", "note size", or "note lengths". I didn't originally set out to answer these questions specifically, but my interest in the related topics across intellectual history allowed such a question to emerge from my work and my notes.

      Once you've got a reasonable collection, you can then begin analyzing what various authors say about the topic. Bring them all to "terms" to ensure that they're talking about the same things and then consider what arguments they're making about the topic and write up your own ideas about what is happening to answer those questions you had. Perhaps a new thesis emerges about the idea? Some have called this process having a conversation with the texts and their authors or as Robert Hutchins called it participating in "The Great Conversation".

      Almost anyone in the forum here could expound on what an "atomic note" is for a few minutes, but they're likely to barely scratch the surface beyond their own definition. Based on the notes linked above, I've probably got enough of a collection on the idea of the length of a note that I can explore it better than any other ten people here could. My notes would allow me a lot of leverage and power to create some significant subtlety and nuance on this topic. (And it helps that they're all shared publicly so you can see what I mean a bit more clearly; most peoples' notes are private/hidden, so seeing examples are scant and difficult at best.)

      Some of the overall process of having and maintaining a zettelkasten for creating material is hard to physically "see". This is some of the benefit of Victor Margolin's video example of how he wrote his book on the history of design. He includes just enough that one can picture what's happening despite his not showing the deep specifics. I wrote a short piece about how I used my notes about delving into S.D. Goitein's work to write a short article a while back and looking at the article, the footnotes, and links to my original notes may be illustrative for some: https://boffosocko.com/2023/01/14/a-note-about-my-article-on-goitein-with-respect-to-zettelkasten-output-processes/. The exercise is a tedious one (though not as tedious as it was to create and hyperlink everything), but spend some time to click on each link to see the original notes and compare them with the final text. Some of the additional benefit of reading it all is that Goitein also had a zettelkasten which he used in his research and in leaving copies of it behind other researchers still actively use his translations and notes to continue on the conversation he started about the contents of the Cairo Geniza. Seeing some of his example, comparing his own notes/cards and his writings may be additionally illustrative as well, though take care as many of his notes are in multiple languages.

      Another potentially useful example is this video interview with Kathleen Coleman from the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae. It's in the realm of historical linguistics and lexicography, but she describes researchers collecting masses of data (from texts, inscriptions, coins, graffiti, etc.) on cards which they can then study and arrange to write their own articles about Latin words and their use across time/history. It's an incredibly simple looking example because they're creating a "dictionary", but the work involved was painstaking historical work to be sure.

      Again, when you're done, remember to go back and practice for yourself. Read. Ask questions of the texts and sources you're working with. Write them down. Allow your zettelkasten to become a ratchet for your ideas. New ideas and questions will emerge. Write them down! Follow up on them. Hunt down the answers. Make notes on others' attempts to answer similar questions. Then analyze, compare, and contrast them all to see what you might have to say on the topics. Rinse and repeat.

      As a further and final (meta) example, some of my answer to your questions has been based on my own experience, but the majority of it is easy to pull up, because I can pose your questions not to my experience, but to my own zettelkasten and then quickly search and pull up a variety of examples I've collected over time. Of course I have far more experience with my own zettelkasten, so it's easier and quicker for me to query it than for you, but you'll build this facility with your own over time.

      Good luck. 🗃️

    1. Studs Terkel, the oral historian, was known to admonish friends who would read his books but leave them free of markings. He told them that reading a book should not be a passive exercise, but rather a raucous conversation.

      love "raucous conversation"!

  6. Sep 2023
    1. Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally's assistance.

      —Kenneth Burke. The Philosophy of Literary Form. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1941.

      via Doug Brent at https://kairos.technorhetoric.net/2.1/features/brent/burke.htm

    1. syntopicalreading

      relationship of synoptical and syntopical

      Did the idea of syntopicality exist prior to Adler? Did it spring from the work of German religious scholars of XIX C who began doing synoptical readings and comparisons of the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke in the Bible?

      link to the "great conversation" quote of Whitehead about Plato: https://hypothes.is/a/qb2T7l9nEe6uVVOdez8mKw

    1. The Great Conversation: The Substance of a Liberal Education. 27th Printing. Vol. 1. 54 vols. The Great Books of the Western World. 1952. Reprint, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 1984.

      I read the first edition.

      Hutchins, Robert M. The Great Conversation: The Substance of a Liberal Education. Edited by Robert M. Hutchins and Mortimer J. Adler. 1st ed. Vol. 1. 54 vols. Great Books of the Western World. Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 1952.

      urn:x-pdf:0ce8391ed9f9f1cfc78c28b6c923abac<br /> Annotation search: https://jonudell.info/h/facet/?user=chrisaldrich&max=100&exactTagSearch=true&expanded=true&addQuoteContext=true&url=urn%3Ax-pdf%3A0ce8391ed9f9f1cfc78c28b6c923abac

  7. Aug 2023
    1. Whereas ChatGPT may be a bullshitter, Claude can be a co-reader whose output specifically references and works to make “meaning” in response to another author’s words.

      "Reading with an artificial intelligence" seems like a fascinating way to participate in the Great Conversation.

    1. Texts are patient conversationalists always waiting for you to write your side of the conversation into the margin before they continue on with their side of the conversation. Sadly, too many readers (students especially) don't realize that there's a conversation going on.

      Link to:<br /> - https://hypothes.is/a/bBwyhkN3Ee6nQNPI5xmSnQ - https://hypothes.is/a/GvRApkN3Ee6LbBPqqX-A5Q

    2. I could continue a thread anywhere, rather than always picking it up at the end. I could sketch out where I expected things to go, with an outline, rather than keeping all the points I wanted to hit in my head as I wrote. If I got stuck on something, I could write about how I was stuck nested underneath whatever paragraph I was currently writing, but then collapse the meta-thoughts to be invisible later -- so the overall narrative doesn’t feel interrupted.

      Notes about what you don't know (open questions), empty outline slots, red links as [[wikilinks]], and other "holes" in tools for thought provide a bookmark for where one may have quit exploring, but are an explicit breadcrumb for picking up that line of thought and continuing it at a future time.

      Linear writing in one's notebooks, books they're reading, and other places doesn't always provide an explicit space which invites the reader or writer to fill them in. One has to train themselves to annotate in the margins to have a conversation with the text. Until one sees these empty spaces as inviting spaces they can be invisible to the eye.

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

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

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

    2. The mathematical specialist, for example, canget further faster into the great mathematicians than a readerwho is without his specialized training. With the help ofgreat books, specialized knowledge can radiate out into agenuine interfiltration of common learning and common life.

      Here Hutchins is again prefiguring C.P. Snow's "two cultures". He makes the argument that by having a shared base of knowledge and culture in our society's past history of knowledge (and especially early scientists and mathematicians), everyone, despite their individual interests and specializations, can be an active participant in a broader human conversation.

    3. The task is to have a communitynevertheless, and to discover means of using specialties topromote it. This can be done through the Great Conversa-tion.

      We need some common culture to bind humanity together. Hutchins makes the argument that the Great Conversation can help to effectuate this binding through shared culture and knowledge.

      Perhaps he is even more right in the 2000s than he was in the 1950s?

    4. I should like to add that specialization, instead of makingthe Great Conversation irrelevant, makes it more pertinentthan ever. Specialization makes it harder to carry on anykind of conversation; but this calls for greater effort, not theabandonment of the attempt.

      The dramatic increase in economic specialization of humanity driven by the Industrial Revolution has many benefits to societies, but it also has detrimental effects when the core knowledge and shared base of the society is lost.

      Certainly individuals have a greater reliance on specialists for future outcomes (think about the specialization of areas like climate science which can have destructive outcomes on all of humanity or public health outcomes with respect to vaccines and specialized health care delivery), but they also need to have a common base of knowledge/culture and the ability to think critically for themselves to be able to effect necessary changes, particularly when the pace of those changes is more rapid than humans have generally been evolved to accept them.

    5. Do science, technology, industrialization, and specializa-tion render the Great Conversation irrelevant?
  8. Jul 2023
    1. Books aren’t something one approves or disapproves of; they are to be understood, interpreted, learned from, shocked by, argued with and enjoyed. Moreover, the evolution of literature and the other arts, their constant renewal over the centuries, has always been fueled by what is now censoriously labeled “cultural appropriation” but which is more properly described as “influence,” “inspiration” or “homage.” Poets, painters, novelists and other artists all borrow, distort and transform. That’s their job; that’s what they do.
    1. a conver-sation that has gone on for twenty-five centuries, all dogmasand points of view appear.

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

    2. the reader becomes to thisextent his own editor.
    3. Some writers have made an important contribution to theGreat Conversation, but in a way that makes it impossible toinclude it in a set like this. These are writers, of whom Leib-nitz, Voltaire, and Balzac are notable examples, whose con-tribution lies in the total volume of their work, rather thanin a few great works, and whose total volume is too largeto be included or whose single works do not come up to thestandard of the other books in this set.
    4. In many cases, all or some of an author'sworks included in this set were unavailable.

      One of the primary goals of The Great Books, was to make some of the (especially ancient writers) more accessible to modern audiences with respect to ready availability of their works which were otherwise much more expensive.

      This certainly says something about both publishing and reading practices of the early 20th century.

    5. The reason, then, for the omission of authors and worksafter 1900 is simply that the Editors did not feel that they oranyone else could accurately judge the merits of contempo-rary writings.

      The idea of the Lindy effect is subtly hiding here. Presumably it also existed before.

      It's often seen in how historians can or can't easily evaluate the impact of recent historical figures without the appropriate amount of additional evaluation with respect to passing time.

    6. the Great Conversation coversmore than twenty-five centuries.

      Broadly the entirety of the documented existence of mankind...

    7. The set is almost self-selected, in the sense that one bookleads to another, amplifying, modifying, or contradicting it.

      amplifying, modifying, contradicting...

      what other means of argumentation/conversation could one enumerate here with respect to a greater conversation?

    8. THE GREAT CONVERSATION

      How specifically does the author define "The Great Conversation"?

      Note that it is consistently capitalized throughout the book to give it greater importance.

    9. They now have the chance to understandthemselves through understanding their tradition.

      It feels odd that people wouldn't understand their own traditions, but it obviously happens. Information overload can obviously heavily afflict societies toward forgetting their traditions and the formation of new traditions, particularly in non-oral traditions which focus more on written texts which can more easily be ignored (not read) and then later replaced with seemingly newer traditions.

      Take for example the resurgence of note taking ideas circa 2014-2020 which completely disregarded the prior histories, particularly in lieu of new technologies for doing them.

      As a means of focusing on Western Culture, the editors here have highlighted some of the most important thoughts for encapsulating and influencing their current and future cultures.

      How do oral traditions embrace the idea of the "Great Conversation"?

    1. readers typically turn to translations not to hear about culinary ephemera but to read literature.

      Part of literature is the Great Conversation, which often turns on the ability for writers to be understood and appreciated, often in translation. Gary Saul Morson takes P&V to task for their Russian translations which often focus on the incredibly specific nuances of direct translation, but which simultaneously lose the beauty and sense of literature. He says, "[...] readers typically turn to translations not to hear about culinary ephemera but to read literature."

  9. Jun 2023
    1. I do think it’s helpful for members of the public to know some basic facts about the past. For me, it’s the same idea as the saying “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Similarly, if you know nothing you can be convinced of anything.

      These are much pithier versions of what Robert Hutchins is getting at when he's talking about the importance of the Great Conversation with respect to Democracy.

  10. Apr 2023
    1. TheSyntopicon invites the reader to make on the set whatever demands arisefrom his own problems and interests. It is constructed to enable the reader,nomatter what the stages of his reading in other ways, to find that part of theGreat Conversation in which any topic that interests him is being discussed.

      While the Syntopicon ultimately appears in book form, one must recall that it started life as a paper slip-based card index (Life v24, issue 4, 1948). This index can be queried in some of the ways one might have queried a library card catalog or more specifically the way in which Niklas Luhmann indicated that he queried his zettelkasten (Luhmann,1981). Unlike a library card catalog, The Syntopicon would not only provide a variety of entry places within the Western canon to begin their search for answers, but would provide specific page numbers and passages rather than references to entire books.

      The Syntopicon invites the reader to make on the set whatever demands arise from his own problems and interests. It is constructed to enable the reader, no matter what the stages of his reading in other ways, to find that part of the Great Conversation in which any topic that interests him is being discussed. (p. 85)

      While the search space for the Syntopicon wasn't as large as the corpus covered by larger search engines of the 21st century, the work that went into making it and the depth and focus of the sources make it a much more valuable search tool from a humanistic perspective. This work and value can also be seen in a personal zettelkasten. Some of the value appears in the form of having previously built a store of contextualized knowledge, particularly in cases where some ideas have been forgotten or not easily called to mind, which serves as a context ratchet upon which to continue exploring and building.

    1. Oakeshott saw educationas part of the ‘conversation of mankind’, wherein teachers induct their studentsinto that conversation by teaching them how to participate in the dialogue—howto hear the ‘voices’ of previous generations while cultivating their own uniquevoices.

      How did Michael Oakeshott's philosophy overlap with the idea of the 'Great Conversation' or 20th century movement of Adler's Great Books of the Western World.

      How does it influence the idea of "having conversations with the text" in the annotation space?

  11. Dec 2022
    1. “I have a trick that I used in my studio, because I have these twenty-eight-hundred-odd pieces of unreleased music, and I have them all stored in iTunes,” Eno said during his talk at Red Bull. “When I’m cleaning up the studio, which I do quite often—and it’s quite a big studio—I just have it playing on random shuffle. And so, suddenly, I hear something and often I can’t even remember doing it. Or I have a very vague memory of it, because a lot of these pieces, they’re just something I started at half past eight one evening and then finished at quarter past ten, gave some kind of funny name to that doesn’t describe anything, and then completely forgot about, and then, years later, on the random shuffle, this thing comes up, and I think, Wow, I didn’t hear it when I was doing it. And I think that often happens—we don’t actually hear what we’re doing. . . . I often find pieces and I think, This is genius. Which me did that? Who was the me that did that?”

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

  12. May 2022
    1. a constellation already described in 1805 by Heinrich von Kleist in his fascinat-ing analysis of the “Midwifery of Thought”: “If you want to know something and cannotfind it through meditation, I advise you, my dear, clever friend, to speak about it withthe next acquaintance who bumps into you.” 43 The positive tension that such a conversa-tion immediately elicits through the expectations of the Other obliges one to producenew thought in the conversation. The idea develops during speech. There, the sheeravailability of such a counterpart, who must do nothing further (i.e., offer additionalstimulus through keen contradiction of the speaker) is already enough; “There is a specialsource of excitement, for him who speaks, in the human face across from him; and agaze which already announces a half-expressed thought to be understood often givesexpression to the entire other half.”44
      1. Heinrich von Kleist, “Ü ber die allm ä hliche Verfertigung der Gedanken beim Reden,” in Sämtliche Werke und Briefe. Zweiter Band, ed. Helmut Sembdner (M ü nchen: dtv, 1805/2001), 319 – 324, at 319.
      2. Ibid., 320.

      in 1805 Heinrich von Kleist noted that one can use conversation with another person, even when that person is silent, to come up with solutions or ideas they may not have done on their own.

      This phenomena is borne out in modern practices like the so-called "rubber duck debugging", where a programmer can talk to any imagined listener, often framed as a rubber duck sitting on their desk, and talk through the problem in their code. Invariably, talking through all the steps of the problem will often result in the person realizing what the problem is and allow them to fix it.

      This method of verbal "conversation" obviously was a tool which indigenous oral cultures frequently used despite the fact that they didn't have literacy as a tool to fall back on.

  13. Mar 2022
    1. “I think people have this idea, and you see this over and over again, that this is basically a cold or this is essentially the flu. And I think for a lot of people, that’s been their personal experience. But when you look at it as a whole, that’s again just not true,” Bernstein said “... And a lot of people have said things like people aren’t dying ‘of’ COVID, they’re dying ‘with’ COVID. And when you look at the number of excess deaths over the last couple of years, that’s just, quite frankly, untrue.”

      Adding to the conversation: Those who don't die of COVID sometimes get "Long COVID" or they now live with other deficits like: brain damage, psychological issues, diminished lung capacity, or some organ failures. I'm sure more things will emerge over time.

  14. Jun 2021
    1. Giving peers permission to engage in dialogue about race and holding a lofty expectation that they will stay engaged in these conversations throughout the semester or year is the first of the four agreements for courageous conversation. While initially, some participants may be eager to enter into these conversations, our experience indicates that the more personal and thus risky these topics get, the more difficult it is for participants to stay committed and engaged." Singleton and Hays

  15. Jul 2020
  16. May 2020