22 Matching Annotations
  1. Aug 2022
    1. The network of trails functions as a shared external memory for the ant colony.

      Just as a trail of pheromones serves the function of a shared external memory for an ant colony, annotations can create a set of associative trails which serve as an external memory for a broader human collective memory. Further songlines and other orality based memory methods form a shared, but individually stored internal collective memory for those who use and practice them.

      Vestiges of this human practice can be seen in modern society with the use and spread of cultural memes. People are incredibly good at seeing and recognizing memes and what they communicate and spreading them because they've evolved to function this way since the dawn of humanity.

  2. Jul 2022
    1. Filing is certainlynot their goal.

      I'm reminded here of the old aphorism "Out of sight is out of mind."

      This harkens back to the idea of oral cultures using their environments as memory palaces to remember their culture, laws, and knowledge. Things being within sight mean that they were immediately brought to mind.


      For an office worker, filing an item is tantamount to literally putting both out of their sight as well as their mind.

      Compare this to the more advanced zettelkasten methods where knowledge workers file everything away out of their sight, but with the tacit idea that they'll be regularly revisiting their ideas on index cards to link other ideas to them to keep building upon them. While things may be temporarily out of mind, they're regularly recycled and linked to new ideas. Their re-emergence can cause them to be remembered, re-contextualized, and often feel like serendipity for linking to other ideas in one's collection.

    2. Mander, R., Salomon, G. and Wong, Y. A PileMetaphor for Supporting Casual Organisationof Information. Proceedings of Human Factorsin Computing Systems CHI’92, pp 627-634,1992.

      The quote from this paper references Mander 1992:

      It seems that knowledge workers use physical space, such as desks or floors, as a temporary holding pattern for inputs and ideas which they cannot yet categorise or even decide how they might use [12].

      leads me to believe that the original paper has information which supports office workers using their physical environments as thinking and memory spaces much as indigenous peoples have for their knowledge management systems using orality and memory.

    3. Many knowledge workers have extremely cluttereddesks and floors and yet are seriously disrupted bychanges made to this apparent “muddle” or byneeding to move offices regularly. This supportsearlier studies of otllce work [10, 11]. It seems thatthis apparent “muddle” plays a number of importantroles for them in their work:-

      For scholars of orality, the value of the messiness in many knowledge workers' work spaces is probably not surprising. It's likely that these workers are using their local environment as oral cultures have since time immemorial. They're creating physical songlines or memory palaces in their local environment to which they're spatially attaching memories of the work they're doing, performing, or need to perform. This allows them to offload some of their memory work, storage, and retention to items in their physical space.

  3. Jun 2022
    1. As powerful as search can be, studies5 have found that in manysituations people strongly prefer to navigate their file systemsmanually, scanning for the information they’re looking for. Manualnavigation gives people control over how they navigate, with foldersand file names providing small contextual clues about where to looknext.6

      The studies quoted here are in the mid 80s and early 90s before the rise of better and easier UI methods or more powerful search. I'd have to call this conclusion into question.

      There's also a big difference in what people know, what people prefer, and what knowledgeable people can do most quickly.

      Cross reference this with Dan Russell's research at Google that indicates that very few people know how to use ctrl-f to find or search for things in documents. - https://hyp.is/7a532uxjEeyYfTOctQHvTw/www.youtube.com/channel/UCh6KFtW4a4Ozr81GI1cxaBQ

      Relate it to the idea of associative (memory) trails (Memex), songlines, and method of loci in remembering where things are -- our brains are designed to navigate using memory

  4. Mar 2022
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkjf0hCKOCE

      The sky is a textbook. The sky is a lawbook. The sky is a science book. —Duane Hamacher, (1:24)

      Hamacher uses the Western description "method of loci" rather than an Indigenous word or translated word.


      The words "myth", "legend", "magic", "ritual", and "religion" in both colloquial English and even anthropology are highly loaded terms.

      Words like "narrative" and "story" are better used instead for describing portions of the Indigenous cultures which we have long ignored and written off for their seeming simplicity.

  5. Nov 2021
    1. So the big secret then is, how did he know that this note here exists? How could he remember that this existing note was relevant to the new one he was writing? A mystery we haven't solved yet.

      I'm surprised to see/hear this!

      How did Niklas Luhmann cross link his notes? Apparently researchers don't quite know, but I'd suggest that in working with them diligently over time, he'd have a reasonable internal idea from memory in addition to working with his indices and his outline cards.

      The cards in some sense form a physical path through which he regularly traverses, so he's making a physical memory palace (or songline) out of index cards.

  6. Oct 2021
    1. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>LynneKelly </span> in "Ancient Australian Aboriginal Memory Tool Superior to ‘Memory Palace’ Learning" - Neuroscience, Psychology, and Health - Art of Memory Forum (<time class='dt-published'>10/19/2021 09:26:03</time>)</cite></small>

      I don’t think the methods were worked out as much as evolved with the human brain. I suspect those who started using mnemonics survived and bred better than those who didn’t.

      I have been pointed to this discovery of a Neanderthal cave many times, with archaeologists suggesting to me that it points to Neanderthal use of a memory palace. It would need more evidence to be convincing, but that would go back a very long time.

    1. I just bookmarked this article published today in Current Biology for later reading and annotation. While the article isn't specifically focused on memory, the fact that it touches on visual structures, emotion, music, and movement (dance) which are core to some peoples' memory toolkits, I thought that many here would find it to be of interest.

      One of the authors provided the following tl;dr synopsis:

      "Across the world, people express emotion through music and dance. But why do music and dance go together?

      We tested a deceptively simple hypothesis: Music and movement are represented the same way in the brain."

      For those who haven't integrated song or dance into their practices, searching around for the idea of songlines will give you some background on their possible uses.

      cc: @LynneKelly

    1. Visual and auditory brain areas share a representational structure that supports emotion perception https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(21)01283-5

      This portends some interesting results with relation to mnemonics and particularly songlines and indigenous peoples' practices which integrate song, movement, and emotion.

      Preprint: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/254961v4

      Across the world, people express emotion through music and dance. But why do music and dance go together? <br><br>We tested a deceptively simple hypothesis: Music and movement are represented the same way in the brain.

      — Beau Sievers (@beausievers) October 12, 2021
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

      <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Beau Sievers </span> in "New work published today in Current Biology Visual and auditory brain areas share a representational structure that supports emotion perception With @ThaliaWheatley @k_v_n_l @parkinsoncm @sergeyfogelson (thread after coffee!) https://t.co/AURqH9kNLb https://t.co/ro4o4oEwk5" / Twitter (<time class='dt-published'>10/12/2021 09:26:10</time>)</cite></small>

  7. Sep 2021
    1. Voice is lost

      Can we, like Shepherds, tell a merry Tale? Stephen Duck, The Thresher's Tale (poem)

      There's a link here to shepherds and a bardic tradition. In some sense, shepherds have lots of time to kill during the day and thus potentially tell stories. But they're also moving around their environment which also makes it easier for them to have used songline-like methods for attaching their memories to their environment.

      How far back might this tradition go in our literate culture?

      I also wonder at the influence of time on oral traditions as the result of this. Lynne Kelly describes calendrical devices in a variety of indigenous settings in Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies for potential use in annual spaced repetition. What about the spaced repetition within daily cycles of regular work as described in this paper with respect to shepherds, fishing communities, and crofting?

      The daily cycle of life may have been a part of the spaced repetition for memory.

      How might we show this?

      A quick example that comes to mind is the French children's song Alouette, Gentille Alouette which details how one kills, cleans, and dresses a chicken for cooking.

    1. Schools don’t teach students how to restore their depleted attention with exposure to nature and the outdoors, or how to arrange their study spaces so that they extend intelligent thought.

      I'm reminded of Lynne Kelly's use of Indigenous Australian memory techniques which do both of these things at the same time: https://www.lynnekelly.com.au/?p=4794

  8. Aug 2021
    1. It was today as I was doing Chinese vocabulary that it struck me. I tried to add words using the locations from memory because it was cold, and I didn’t want to go out. I know each of the houses in the songline, but adding vocabulary is way way easier when I walk and do the learning in the physical space. I couldn’t do it from home.

      I seem to recall reading anecdotes of aboriginal peoples who knew areas and water holes in places they'd never visited in their lives. I'm wondering how they may have encoded these in songlines for places they'd never been to and physically seen.

      It would seem that it's better to use a physical space when you have access to it, but I don't think I have as much issue adding things to pre-existing palaces/songlines as Kelly describes here. I wonder how this works out for others?

    2. I am beginning to think that the significant difference is that with songlines, learning is always done in the physical ‘memory palace’ which is constantly revisited. It can be recalled from memory, but is encoded in place. For me, that is way more effective, but I have aphantasia and very poor visualisation, so it may not be as big a factor for others. So recalling your childhood home can be a memory palace, but not a songline.

      Lynne Kelly is correct here that we need better delineations of the words we're using here.

      To some of us, we're taking historical methods and expanding them into larger super sets based on our personal experiences. I've read enough of Kelly's work and her personal experiences on her website (and that of many others) that I better understand the shorthand she uses when she describes pieces.

      Even in the literature throughout the middle ages and the Renaissance we see this same sort of picking and choosing of methods in descriptions of various texts. Some will choose to focus on one or two keys, which seemed to work for them, but they'd leave out the others which means that subsequent generations would miss out on the lost bits and pieces.

      Having a larger superset of methods to choose from as well as encouraging further explorations is certainly desired.

  9. Jun 2021
    1. One cannot hope thus to equal the speed and flexibility with which the mind follows an associative trail, but it should be possible to beat the mind decisively in regard to the permanence and clarity of the items resurrected from storage.

      the idea of an "[[associative trail]]" here brings to mind both the ars memorativa and the method of loci as well as--even more specifically--the idea of songlines.

      Bush's version is the same thing simply renamed.

      <small><cite class='h-cite ht'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Jeremy Dean</span> in Via: ‘What I Really Want Is Someone Rolling Around in the Text’ - The New York Times (<time class='dt-published'>06/09/2021 14:50:00</time>)</cite></small>

    1. In Plato’s Phaedrus, Socrates bemoaned the development of writing. He feared that, as people came to rely on the written word as a substitute for the knowledge they used to carry inside their heads, they would, in the words of one of the dialogue’s characters, “cease to exercise their memory and become forgetful.” And because they would be able to “receive a quantity of information without proper instruction,” they would “be thought very knowledgeable when they are for the most part quite ignorant.” They would be “filled with the conceit of wisdom instead of real wisdom.” Socrates wasn’t wrong—the new technology did often have the effects he feared—but he was shortsighted. He couldn’t foresee the many ways that writing and reading would serve to spread information, spur fresh ideas, and expand human knowledge (if not wisdom).

      I feel like Western culture has lost so much of our memory traditions that this trite story, which I've seen often repeated, doesn't have the weight it should.

      Why can't we simultaneously have the old system AND the new? Lynne Kelly and Margo Neale touch on this in their coinage of the third archive in Songlines.

  10. May 2021
    1. I must stop equating songlines and memory palaces - the professor and student involved see the complexity of songlines as a level higher than memory palaces because so much knowledge and understanding is layered. The first post-grad working on my stuff, and she’s found fault already! And rightly so. They are also arguing against some researcher who claims that the peg system and the method of loci are equivalent. That is part of the research project, but I haven’t read the psychology papers they have sent yet.

      songlines != memory palaces

    1. Both methods of loci improved upon the already high level of recall among medical students relative to those who received no memory training.

      I'm saddened to see the erasure of the Australian Aboriginal approach (possibly better termed Songlines or Dreaming for specificity) here only to have it lumped into the Western method. This is worse when their general results show the Australian approach to be significantly better.

      This may be due to over-familiarity with the techniques which are broadly similar, but for rigor and respect they should remain separate in this paper.

    1. As someone who knows both methods and has likely practiced them in reasonable depth, I'm curious what Dr. @LynneKelly thinks. I'd love to see this same study done to include song, dance, painting, etc. to expand the potential effects.

      If nothing else, it's good to see some positive research on the methods which will hopefully draw more attention to the pedagogy and classroom use.

      Dr. Reser said the Monash School of Rural Health is considering incorporating these memory tools into the medical curriculum once teaching returns to a post-COVID normal. “This year we hope to offer this to students as a way to not only facilitate their learning but to reduce the stress associated with a course that requires a lot of rote learning,” he said. —https://scitechdaily.com/ancient-australian-aboriginal-memory-tool-superior-to-memory-palace-learning-technique/

  11. 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.

  12. Oct 2020
    1. ...conversations take random walks through events and ideas in a manner determined by the associative networks of the participants." --Douglas Hofstadter, Foreward, Sparse Distributed Memory

      This is reminiscent of Zegnat's mention during the Gardens and Streams session of remembering where things were in the IndieWeb wiki by remembering the pathways more so than the things themselves. This is very reminiscent of Australian songlines.