Zettelkasten Forum


Appreciation for the Zeitgeist

I just wanted to express some gratitude towards the burgeoning zeitgeist around personal knowledge management (PKM).

We live in a time of unequal mental overwhelm. PKM is a means to exert at least a sense of control over an environment naturally selected to game our attention. The ongoing pandemic accentuates both the overwhelm, and the need for order.

  • The Zettelkasten Forum is home to an ongoing, rich dialectic.
  • The Archive adheres to its principles and provides a home for many to create some mental order.
  • Other folks have jumped onto the scene with their own takes at knowledge management.
  • There's the Roam Cult (a "cult" around knowledge management, how crazy is that!)
  • There's very active engagement on the development of Obsidian, by the creator(s) of Dynalist (thanks for the heads up @Eiff )
  • "Teenagers" are pushing back against their "Parents" demanding to know why they need to brush their teeth. Oh sorry, I mean newer members are challenging older members about why Date/Time IDs (DTIDs) carry more value than other arbitrary styles of filename IDs. (I learned a lot from the dialectic and came away richer for it, so I'm thankful for those challengers of convention!)

The need for Getting Things Sorted is clearly in the air.

I am thankful The Archive is run by people who make their movements count, who follow the Signal not the Noise, and naturally filter their actions through the lens of what makes a system more/less fragile—making sure not to add noisy, fragile features without careful considerations.

I'm thankful because way too often I'm the one who's overwhelmed and mentally scattered. And jumping into The Archive has a way of putting some sense of control and order back into the air.

That is all.

Comments

  • I, too, think we live in very interesting times for PKM nerds. And your personal support on the journey is much appreciated! Thank you for taking the time and initiative to express all this :)

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • https://christiantietze.de/

  • In a zeitgeist full of angst and schadenfreude, at least we can depend on our zettelkasten.

  • @nickmilo22 I enjoyed your discussion post and your attitude of gratitude and encouragement. I am +1 for thankfulness for the community here and @sfast and @ctietze.

    Do you write elsewhere on the web? If so, I would enjoy the opportunity to read more from you.

  • @nickmilo22, thank you for this post!

  • Yes. We are lucky to have us.

    I am a Zettler

  • edited April 28

    @nickmilo22 Well-said! You did a great job capturing the zeitgeist. The fact there are actual fights on Twitter about whose system is best and HackerNews has at least an annual "How do you track what you learn?" are signs that many people are taking seriously the problem of knowledge management. I think we're going to see some exciting advancements in the next few years with new tools and approaches.

    This forum has a done a lot to seed some of the most thoughtful discussions on the web around knowledge management and learning. So thanks to @ctietze and @sfast

  • This post got me paying attention to how much more I see people talking about their knowledge workflows now in public. It's really ramping up (or I'm paying attention more).

    Saw a fascinating Twitter thread on a Roam-based ZK:

    And this public home-brew ZK from Andy Matuschak (who I had never heard of until recently) is really impressive:

    https://notes.andymatuschak.org/About_these_notes?stackedNotes=zUw5PuD8op9oq8kHvni6sug6eRTNtR9Wqma

    All that to see, I think we're going to see exciting developments regarding methods and tools in knowledge management in the not too distant future. Some things are timeless though, and I think this group on this forum has mostly hit on principles that will not change, but the way we interact with knowledge and machines using those principles will likely be affected by all this activity.

  • I am quite hesitant to expect much developments in methods or models. I rather expect quite an explosion of tools and software.

    Methods and models change very, very slow. Much slower than we expect. The change is slow because it needs a lot of internal change (in us) to cope with different methods and models. We use linear writing for most of our issues since thousands of years.

    Take this blog as an example. Together with the forum it forms a living hypertext that grows with the community. But still: "Where is the simple, linear guide on Zettelkasten, pLeAsE?!?!" is a very common question.

    I do not think that we will see the end of books in many, many generations. They are one of the eternal pillars of knowledge work. You need to read them competently. If you want to participate you need to write them.

    There are many constants. That is the reason why I concentrate on very fundamental principles in my research: That are the things that last. In ten years of research I have encountered only a handful of those:

    1. Hierarchy
    2. Sequence
    3. Hypertext
    4. Set
    5. Space

    Even the principle of atomicity has a more secondary nature.

    I work on the basics of knowledge work because I think that is the cornerstone of this whole thing. It is very easy to mistake ordering Zettel with ordering knowledge patterns. I think this is one of the main fallacies.

    I am a Zettler

  • @sfast Two things:

    1. Thanks to you, I used an outline to write this post (in Dynalist) and found it kept my thinking clear.
    2. You have said something along the lines of "a zettlekasten should be readable by other people." (The exact quote is on these forums somewhere.)

    I would wager that I'm not alone in saying that your list above, in its current form, doesn't meet that threshold of readability.

    My assumption is that you were busy and didn't have time to properly write up descriptions of each item. But could you expound upon these fundamental pillars for the benefit of the group? I would really appreciate the effort.

    Let me provide my own attempt in the next post...

  • @nickmilo22 said:
    @sfast Two things:

    1. Thanks to you, I used an outline to write this post (in Dynalist) and found it kept my thinking clear.
    2. You have said something along the lines of "a zettlekasten should be readable by other people." (The exact quote is on these forums somewhere.)

    I would wager that I'm not alone in saying that your list above, in its current form, doesn't meet that threshold of readability.

    My assumption is that you were busy and didn't have time to properly write up descriptions of each item. But could you expound upon these fundamental pillars for the benefit of the group? I would really appreciate the effort.

    Let me provide my own attempt in the next post...

    You are right. And: I will provide extension and explanation. But I will write it in German first for the book. :smile:

    I am a Zettler

  • (Note: I extracted @nickmilo22's extensive follow-up list into its own discussion so we don't have to keep tap on multiple topics here: https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/1084/the-most-valuable-knowledge-management-principles)

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • https://christiantietze.de/

  • Related to this post about the zeitgeist. I think we're at a moment were there enough people thinking about thinking (and how to improve it) and we have the requisite digital tools to make enabling systems.

    I came across this really interest set of notes about a meeting of people in San Francisco who are working on memexs

    http://ceasarbautista.com/posts/memex_meetup_2.html

    Found at this discussion:
    https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21208196

    Also, @ctietze and @sfast have been beating the drum for Zettelkasten for years, and that, along with these other new entrants, have definitely increased the awareness of this concept. I'm seeing ZK mentioned around the web a lot more, and seeing more articles and videos. Good work guys!

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