14 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    1. the time you sit down tomake progress on something, all the work to gather and organize thesource material needs to already be done. We can’t expectourselves to instantly come up with brilliant ideas on demand. Ilearned that innovation and problem-solving depend on a routine thatsystematically brings interesting ideas to the surface of ourawareness.

      By writing down and collecting ideas slowly over time, working on them in small fits and spurts, when one finally comes to do the final work on their writing project or other work, the pieces only need minor shaping to take their final form. This process allows for a much greater level of serendipity, creativity, and potential sustained genius of connecting ideas across time to take shape in a final piece.


      How does this relate to diffuse thinking? How can slow diffuse thinking be leveraged into this process?

      Writing down fleeting notes while walking around can be valuable as one's ideas brew slowly in the mind (diffuse thinking) in combination with active combinatorial creativity, thus a form of Llullan combinatorial diffusion.


      Many business books seem so shallow and often only have one real insight which is repeated multiple times, perhaps to drive the point home or perhaps just to have enough filler to seem being worth the purchase of a book.

      Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich is an example of this, though it shows a different form of genius in expanding the idea from a variety of perspectives so that eventually everyone will absorb the broader idea which is distilled to great effect into the title.

  2. Jun 2022
    1. Marshall’s method for connecting which he calls Triangle Thinking (26:41)

      Marshall Kirkpatrick describes a method of taking three ostensibly random ideas and attempting to view each from the others' perspectives as a way to create new ideas by linking them together.

      This method is quite similar to that of Raymond Llull as described in Frances Yate's The Art of Memory (UChicago Press, 1966), though there Llull was memorizing and combinatorially permuting 20 or more ideas at a time. It's also quite similar to the sort of meditative practice found in the lectio divina, though there ideas are generally limited to religious ones for contemplation.

      https://content.blubrry.com/thrivingonoverload/THRIVING_013_Marshall_Kirkpatrick.mp3#t=1559,1745

      Other examples: - https://hypothes.is/users/chrisaldrich?q=%22combinatorial+creativity%22 - https://hypothes.is/users/chrisaldrich?q=%22Llullan%20combinatorial%20arts%22

  3. May 2022
    1. scanned for solutions to long-standing problems in his reading,conversations, and everyday life. When he found one, he couldmake a connection that looked to others like a flash of unparalleledbrilliance

      Feynman’s approach encouraged him to follow his interests wherever they might lead. He posed questions and constantly

      Creating strong and clever connections between disparate areas of knowledge can appear to others to be a flash of genius, in part because they didn't have the prior knowledges nor did they put in the work of collecting, remembering, or juxtaposition.

      This method may be one of the primary (only) underpinnings supporting the lone genius myth. This is particularly the case when the underlying ideas were not ones fully developed by the originator. As an example if Einstein had fully developed the ideas of space and time by himself and then put the two together as spacetime, then he's independently built two separate layers, but in reality, he's cleverly juxtaposed two broadly pre-existing ideas and combined them in an intriguing new framing to come up with something new. Because he did this a few times over his life, he's viewed as an even bigger genius, but when we think about what he's done and how, is it really genius or simply an underlying method that may have shaken out anyway by means of statistical thermodynamics of people thinking, reading, communicating, and writing?

      Are there other techniques that also masquerade as genius like this, or is this one of the few/only?

      Link this to Feynman's mention that his writing is the actual thinking that appears on the pages of his notes. "It's the actual thinking."

    2. This cross-disciplinary approach allowed him tomake connections across seemingly unrelated subjects, whilecontinuing to follow his sense of curiosity

      For someone like Feynman who worked in areas beyond theoretical physics, tacitly practicing the Llullan combinatorial arts will allow them to apply their knowledge in a more cross-disciplinary way.

      But why apply this sort of thinking to just one person? Abstract it up a few levels. What if multiple people can apply this technique simultaneously?

      Currently it's happening in academic circles with people collaborating across disciplines, but it's more likely happening by oral transmission by holding conversations about the work at hand and combinatorial brainstorming being the engine. What if they were keeping a collective zettelkasten to encourage their work? This presents the issue of the histories of separate knowledge bases and potential context collapse. They still need to have some sort of intervening interface (typically personal presence for memory/reference) to encourage it as search may not be as useful or much more time consuming.

      How might anagora.org act as a potential model for brining these ideas into fruition?

      link directly to portions of https://hypothes.is/a/GZ5kkuAyEeyfDx9azj0VAw

    3. new result, test it against each of your twelve problems to seewhether it helps. Every once in a while there will be a hit, andpeople will say, “How did he do it? He must be a genius!”

      You have to keep a dozen of your favorite problems constantly present in your mind, although by and large they will lay in a dormant state. Every time you hear or read a new trick or a

      Gian-Carlo Rota, Indiscrete Thoughts (Boston: Birkhäuser Boston, 1997), 202.

      Richard Feynman indicated in an interview that he kept a dozen of his favorite problems at the top of his mind. As he encountered new results and tricks, he tried applying them to those problems in hopes of either solving them or in coming up with new ideas. Over time by random but combinatorial chance, solutions or ideas would present themselves as ideas were juxtaposed.

      One would suspect that Feynman hadn't actually read Raymond Llull, but this technique sounds very similar to the Llullan combinatorial arts from centuries earlier, albeit in a much more simplified form.

      Can we find evidence of Feynman having read or interacted with Llull? Was it independently created or was he influenced?

      I had an example of this on 2022-05-28 in Dan Allosso's book club on Equality in the closing minutes where a bit of inspiration hit me to combine the ideas of memes, evolution, and Indigenous knowledge and storytelling to our current political situation. Several of them are problems and ideas I've been working with over years or months, and they came together all at once to present a surprising and useful new combination. #examples

      Link this also to the idea of diffuse thinking as a means of solving problems. One can combine the idea of diffuse thinking with combinatorial creativity to super-charge one's problem solving and idea generation capacity this way. What would one call this combination? It definitely needs a name. Llullan combinatorial diffusion, perhaps? To some extent Llull was doing this already as part of his practice, it's just that he didn't know or write explicitly about the diffuse thinking portion (to my knowledge), though this doesn't mean that he wasn't the beneficiary of it in actual practice, particularly when it's known that many of his time practiced lectio divina and meditated on their ideas. Alternately meditating on ideas and then "walking away" from them will by force cause diffuse thinking to be triggered.

      Are there people for whom diffuse thinking doesn't work from a physiological perspective? What type of neurodiversity does this cause?

    4. You need to put in the effort to create a note only once,and then you can just mix and match and try out differentcombinations until something clicks

      the echoes of Raymundus Llull here, but without any reference... le sigh

    1. In the case ofLévi-Strauss, meanwhile, the card index continued to serve inimportant ways as a ‘memory crutch’, albeit with a key differencefrom previous uses of the index as an aide-memoire. In Lévi-Strauss’case, what the fallibility of memory takes away, the card index givesback via the workings of chance. As he explains in an interview withDidier Erebon:I get by when I work by accumulating notes – a bitabout everything, ideas captured on the fly,summaries of what I have read, references,quotations... And when I want to start a project, Ipull a packet of notes out of their pigeonhole anddeal them out like a deck of cards. This kind ofoperation, where chance plays a role, helps merevive my failing memory. (Cited in Krapp, 2006:361)For Krapp, the crucial point here is that, through his use of indexcards, Lévi-Strauss ‘seems to allow that the notes may either restorememory – or else restore the possibilities of contingency which givesthinking a chance under the conditions of modernity’ (2006: 361).

      Claude Lévi-Strauss had a note taking practice in which he accumulated notes of ideas on the fly, summaries of what he read, references, and quotations. He kept them on cards which he would keep in a pigeonhole. When planning a project, he would pull them out and use them to "revive [his] failing memory."


      Questions: - Did his system have any internal linkages? - How big was his system? (Manageable, unmanageable?) - Was it only used for memory, or was it also used for creativity? - Did the combinatorial reshufflings of his cards provide inspiration a la the Llullan arts?


      Link this to the ideas of Raymond Llull's combinatorial arts.

    1. In explaining his approach, Luhmann emphasized, with the first stepsof computer technology in mind, the benefits of the principle of “multiple storage”: in the card index itserves to provide different avenues of accessing a topic or concept since the respective notes may be filedin different places and different contexts. Conversely, embedding a topic in various contexts gives rise todifferent lines of information by means of opening up different realms of comparison in each case due tothe fact that a note is an information only in a web of other notes. Furthermore it was Luhmann’s intentionto “avoid premature systematization and closure and maintain openness toward the future.”11 His way oforganizing the collection allows for it to continuously adapt to the evolution of his thinking and his overalltheory which as well is not conceptualized in a hierarchical manner but rather in a cybernetical way inwhich every term or theoretical concept is dependent on the other.

      While he's couching it in the computer science milieu of his day, this is not dissimilar to the Llullan combinatorial arts.

  4. Apr 2022
    1. Furthermore,combinatorial logic dictates that the card index is also the wellspringof creativity insofar as it permits expansive possibilities for futureintellectual endeavours (see Hollier, 2005: 40; cf. Krapp, 2006:367).
    2. The filing cards or slipsthat Barthes inserted into his index-card system adhered to a ‘strictformat’: they had to be precisely one quarter the size of his usualsheet of writing paper. Barthes (1991: 180) records that this systemchanged when standards were readjusted as part of moves towardsEuropean unification. Within the collection there was considerable‘interior mobility’ (Hollier, 2005: 40), with cards constantlyreordered. There were also multiple layerings of text on each card,with original text frequently annotated and altered.

      Barthes kept his system to a 'strict format' of cards which were one quarter the size of his usual sheet of writing paper, though he did adjust the size over time as paper sizes standardized within Europe. Hollier indicates that the collection had considerable 'interior mobility' and the cards were constantly reordered with use. Barthes also apparently frequently annotated and altered his notes on cards, so they were also changing with use over time.


      Did he make his own cards or purchase them? The sizing of his paper with respect to his cards might indicate that he made his own as it would have been relatively easy to fold his own paper in half twice and cut it up.

      Were his cards numbered or marked so as to be able to put them into some sort of standard order? There's a mention of 'interior mobility' and if this was the case were they just floating around internally or were they somehow indexed and tethered (linked) together?

      The fact that they were regularly used, revise, and easily reordered means that they could definitely have been used to elicit creativity in the same manner as Raymond Llull's combinatorial art, though done externally rather than within one's own mind.

  5. Mar 2022
    1. Powerful tools can support creativity: Innovation can be facilitated by powerful tools that supply templates and support exploratory processes such as brainstorming (offering links to related concepts), state-space expl oration (trying out all permutations), idea combining (systematic pairings), rapid prototyping, and simulation modeling.

      State-space exploration and idea combining (systematic pairings) are just modern reimaginings of ideas going back to Raymond Llull and possibly earlier.

  6. Feb 2022
    1. We need a reliable and simple external structure tothink in that compensates for the limitations of our brains

      Let's be honest that there are certainly methods for doing all of this within our brains and not needing to rely on external structures. This being said, using writing, literacy, and external structures does allow us to process things faster than before.


      Can we calculate what the level of greater efficiency allows for doing this? What is the overall throughput difference in being able to forget and write? Not rely on communication with others? What does a back of the envelope calculation for this look like?

    2. By adding these links between notes, Luhmann was able to addthe same note to different contexts.

      By crosslinking one's notes in a hypertext-like manner one is able to give them many different contexts. This linking and context shifting is a solid method for helping one's ideas to have sex with each other as a means of generating new ideas.


      Is there a relationship between this idea of context shifting and modality shifting? Are these just examples of building blocks for tools of thought? Are they sifts on different axes? When might they be though of as the same? Compare and contrast this further.

    3. a system is neededto keep track of the ever-increasing pool of information, which allowsone to combine different ideas in an intelligent way with the aim ofgenerating new ideas.

      The point of good tools of thought is to allow one to keep track of the ever increasing flood of information that also allows them to juxtapose or combine ideas in novel and interesting ways. Further, this should provide them with a means of generating and then improving upon their new ideas.