13 Matching Annotations
  1. Sep 2021
    1. As the title of a research paper that the Vallée-Tourangeaus wrote with Lisa G. Guthrie puts it, “Moves in the World Are Faster Than Moves in the Head.”

      Perhaps this is some of the value behind the ability to resort index cards within a zettelkasten over the prior staticness of the commonplace tradition? The ideas aren't anchored to the page, but can be moved around, rearranged.

    1. Offloading can be far more complex, however, and doesn’t necessarily involve language. For example, “when we use our hands to move objects around, we offload the task of visualizing new configurations onto the world itself, where those configurations take tangible shape before our eyes” (243-244).

      This is one of the key benefits over the use of index cards in moving toward a zettelkasten from the traditional commonplace book tradition. Rearranging one's ideas in a separate space.

      Raymond Llull attempted to do this within his memory in the 12th century, but there are easier ways of doing this now.

  2. Jul 2021
    1. Feature Idea: Chaos Monkey for PKM

      This idea is a bit on the extreme side, but it does suggest that having a multi-card comparison view in a PKM system would be useful.

      Drawing on Raymond Llull's combitorial memory system from the 12th century and a bit of Herman Ebbinghaus' spaced repetition (though this is also seen in earlier non-literate cultures), one could present two (or more) random atomic notes together as a way of juxtaposing disparate ideas from one's notes.

      The spaced repetition of the cards would be helpful for one's long term memory of the ideas, but it could also have the secondary effect of nudging one to potentially find links or connections between the two ideas and help to spur creativity for the generation of new hybrid ideas or connection to other current ideas based on a person's changed context.

      I've thought about this in the past (most likely while reading Frances Yates' Art of Memory), but don't think I've bothered to write it down (or it's hiding in untranscribed marginalia).

  3. May 2021
    1. A relatively comprehensive view of Wouter Groeneveld's commonplacing workflow. There are a few bits missing here and there, but he's got most of the bigger basics down that a majority of people seem to have found and discovered.

      He's got a strong concept of indexing, search, and even some review, which many miss. There's some organic work toward combinatorial thought, but only via the search piece.

      I should make a list of the important pieces for more advanced versions to have. I've yet to see any articles or work on this.

    2. “but I how will I be able to find stuff later on?”. Good question we’ll answer later. A part of the answer is simply by re-reading. If you don’t re-read what you’ve written, nothing will ever happen with it. So, if you intent to simply write down thoughts in order to feel a temporary moment of relief, fine. But if you intent to change your life, that won’t suffice.

      One needs to re-read and reprocess things from time to time. This is a part of the combinatorial creativity that having notes is for.

      This is reminiscent of the CAA addage: "If you read something and then don't tell anyone about it, you may as well not have read it in the first place."

    1. Compare that to the traditional way of exploring your files, where the computer is like a dutiful, but dumb, butler: "Find me that document about the chimpanzees!" That's searching. The other feels different, so different that we don't quite have a verb for it: it's riffing, or brainstorming, or exploring. There are false starts and red herrings, to be sure, but there are just as many happy accidents and unexpected discoveries. Indeed, the fuzziness of the results is part of what makes the software so powerful.

      What is the best word/verb for this sort of pseudo-searching via word or idea association for generating new ideas?

      I've used the related phrase combinatorial thought before, but he's also using the idea of artificial intelligence to search/find and juxtapose these ideas.

  4. gordonbrander.com gordonbrander.com
    1. There are rumors Pascal wrote the Pensées on notecards, and pinned these cards to a wall, connecting related thoughts with yarn. An early example of hypertext?

      This certainly fits into the broad general ideas surrounding note taking, commonplace books, and zettelkasten as tools for thought. People generally seemed to have used relatively similar methods but shoehorned them into the available tools they had at the time.

      This also, incidentally isn't too far off from how indigenous peoples the world over have used memory techniques (memory palaces, songlines, etc.) to hold together and pollinate their own thinking.

      Raymond Llull took things a step further with his combinatoric methods, though I've yet to see anyone attempting that in the area of digital gardens.

  5. Mar 2021
    1. Since “Sexy Times With Wangxian” became a whole Thing, it has spawned memes, spinoff fics, and a frankly fabulous fic prompt generator that scans all of the STWW tags and chooses some at random for you to write fics around. Just now I got the tags, “Foursome – M/M/M/M,” “I’m Bad At Summaries,” “Cryptography,” “Body Dysphoria,” and “Organs.” Outstanding.

      This could be an interesting feature for a personal website/blog. A generator that takes pre-existing taxonomies from one's website and suggests combinations of them as potential writing prompts when one has writer's block.

  6. Feb 2021
    1. The overall increase in textual productivity may be the single most important fact about the Web’s growth over the past fifteen years. Think about it this way: let’s say it’s 1995, and you are cultivating a page of “hot links” to interesting discoveries on the Web. You find an article about a Columbia journalism lecture and you link to it on your page. The information value you have created is useful exclusively to two groups: people interested in journalism who happen to visit your page, and the people maintaining the Columbia page, who benefit from the increased traffic. Fast forward to 2010, and you check-in at Foursquare for this lecture tonight, and tweet a link to a description of the talk. What happens to that information? For starters, it goes out to friends of yours, and into your twitter feed, and into Google’s index. The geo-data embedded in the link alerts local businesses who can offer your promotions through foursquare; the link to the talk helps Google build its index of the web, which then attracts advertisers interested in your location or the topic of journalism itself. Because that tiny little snippet of information is free to make new connections, by checking in here you are helping your friends figure out what to do tonight; you’re helping the Journalism school in promoting this venue; you’re helping the bar across Broadway attract more customers, you’re helping Google organize the web; you’re helping people searching google for information about journalism; you’re helping journalism schools advertising on Google to attract new students. Not bad for 140 characters.

      A fantastic example of the value of networked thought based solely on the ability of everyone's commonplace books to talk to each other.

    2. What you see on this page is, in a very real sense, textual play: the recombining of words into new forms and associations that their original creators never dreamed of.

      What if we add in a dose of Llull's combinatorial thought to the idea of a search engine? What if the search engine can remember the top 50 categories in my personal commonplace book and show overlapping searches of those terms? What if it's even more combinatorial and randomly chooses overlaps from any words in my commonplace? Is that more or less valuable as an idea generator?

      Is it more fruitful to randomly work on various entries every day in an effort to tie them into our other thoughts?

    3. Since the heyday of the commonplace book, there have been a few isolated attempts to turn these textual remixes into a finished product, into a standalone work of collage. The most famous is probably Jefferson’s bible, his controversial “remix” of the New Testament. There’s also Walter Benjamin’s unfinished, and ultimately unpublishable Passagenwerk, or “Arcades Project,” his rumination on the early shopping malls of Paris built out of photos, quotes, and aphoristic musings. Just this year, David Shields published a book, Reality Hunger, built out of quotes from a wide variety of sources. And of course, there are parallel works in music, painting, and architecture that are constructed out of “quotes” lifted from original sources and remixed in imaginative ways.

      Interesting examples of remixed work.

    4. But all of this magic was predicated on one thing: that the words could be copied, re-arranged, put to surprising new uses in surprising new contexts. By stitching together passages written by multiple authors, without their explicit permission or consultation, some new awareness could take shape.

      Remixing content can be an important tool. Is there a direct relation to the ideas of Raymond Llull hidden between here and there?

  7. Oct 2020
    1. What if the best tools for thought have already been discovered? In other words, perhaps the 1960s and 1970s were an unrepeatable golden age, and all we can expect in the future is gradual incremental improvement, and perhaps the occasional major breakthrough, at a decreasing frequency?

      Many have been, but they've been forgotten and need to be rediscovered and repopularized as well as refined.

      Once this has happened, perhaps others may follow. Ideas like PAO are incredibly valuable ones that hadn't previously existed, but were specially built for remembering specific types of information. How can we combinatorially use some of these other methods to create new and interesting ones for other types of tools?