- Last 7 days
@chrisaldrich, I appreciate your feedback. Indeed there is magic in making notes which comes not only from finding connections in the ZK but also from making connections in mind. Maybe I'm confused. A mindset that makes note-making fun is one way to recruit the body's dopamine mechanism. This creates a positive feedback loop. More mote-making turns to more dopamine which turns to more note-making. Maybe even some notes on dopamine. (I have 11 already!) My sense of Luhmann's phrase "second memory" is a rehashing of an idea—a continued exploration. Using the ZK method is one way of formalizing the continued review of ideas. Without a formal process, it is too easy to fall into old bad habits and not work towards "the serendipity of combinatorial creativity. "
Reply to Will Simpson at https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/comment/17939/#Comment_17939
There should be more conversation about zettelkasten as both a "ratchet" as well as a "flywheeel". Sometimes I feel like it's hard to speak of these things for either lack of appropriate words/naming and/or having a shared vocabulary for them.
Even Luhmann's "second memory" has a mushiness to it, but I certainly see your sense of it as a thing which moves forward. I have the same sort of sense with the Aboriginal cultural idea of a "songline" which acts as both a noun as well as having an internal sense of being a verb to me. The word "google" has physically and specifically undergone the transition from noun to verb in a way which "second memory" and "songline" haven't, though perhaps they should? The difference is that the word google is much more concrete and simple while second memory and songline have a lot more cultural material and meaning sitting with them if you know them and their fuller attendant practices.
@Will Thanks for always keeping up with your regular threads and considerations.
I've been keeping examples of people talking about the "magic of note taking" for a bit. I appreciate your perspectives on it. Personally I consider large portions of it to be bound up with the ideas of what Luhmann termed as "second memory", the use of ZK to supplement our memories, and the serendipity of combinatorial creativity. I've traced portions of it back to the practices of Raymond Llull in which he bound up old mnemonic techniques with combinatorial creativity which goes back to at least Seneca.
A web search for "combinatorial creativity" may be useful, but there's a good attempt at what it entails here: https://fs.blog/seneca-on-combinatorial-creativity/
- zettelkasten ratchet
- second memory
- zettelkasten flywheel
- magic of note taking
- combinatorial creativity
- Jan 2022
I go through my old posts every day. I know that much – most? – of them are not for the ages. But some of them are good. Some, I think, are great. They define who I am. They're my outboard brain.
Cory Doctorow calls his blog and its archives his "outboard brain".
Manfred Kuehn looks at Karl Kraus' criticism of the idea of a zettelkasten as a tool which can be misused.
Of course this begs the question of what one is using their index card catalog for? Are you using it as a rhetorical thinking and creation device or simply a second memory?
- Dec 2021
As a result of extensive work with this technique a kind of secondary memory will arise, an alter ego with who we can constantly communicate.
I want to look at the original German for this sentence, particularly with respect to the translation of the phrase "secondary memory". Is the translation semantic or literal? Might the original German have been a more literal "second brain"?
Compare this to the one or two other examples of this sort of translation from the German.
In a short academic dissertation on the art of excerpts, Andreas Stübel described the card index as a ‘secondary and subsidiary memory’ (‘memoria secundaria and subsidiaria’), summing up in just three words the dilemma scholars had been struggling with for two centuries with respect to the use of commonplace books.28 As far as I know, Stübel was the first among contem-poraries to speak of secondary memory.
28 Andreas M. Stübel, Exercitatio academica de excerptis adornandis (Leipzig, 1684), 33
Andreas M. Stübel, in Exercitatio academica de excerptis adornandis (Leipzig, 1684), becomes the first to of many to speak about the idea of "secondary memory".
I like this idea better than Tiago Forte's marketing term "second brain."
In fact, the methodical use of notebooks changed the relationship between natural memory and artificial memory, although contemporaries did not immediately realize it. Historical research supports the idea that what was once perceived as a memory aid was now used as secondary memory.18
During the 16th century there was a transition in educational centers from using the natural and artificial memories to the methodical use of notebooks and commonplace books as a secondary memory saved by means of writing.
This allows people in some sense to "forget" what they've read and learned and be surprised by it again later. They allow themselves to create liminal memories which may be refreshed and brought to the center later. Perhaps there is also some benefit in this liminal memory for allowing ideas to steep on the periphery before using them. Perhaps combinatorial creativity happens unconsciously?
Cross reference: learning research by Barbara Oakley and Terry Sejnowski.