Zettelkasten Forum


Adressing difficulties by different strategies

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  • edited September 13

    @GBC said: So it's a bit like Roam, in that you can have a structure of taking notes if this suits you (rather than a series of 'cards' in a box, which doesn't work for the way I think quite as well), but the structure doesn't matter and doesn't limit you.

    @GeoEng51 said:

    THIS is exactly where i still feel uncomfortable with typical markdown-Zettelkasten-Systems.

    Is there any way to have a proper workflow which combines this apart from RemNote? I kind of struggle with all the extra work right now necessary for creating seperate notes for "outlines, "persons".

    I even lack the discipline to properly structure my markdown zettels with all the ###headings but no damn outline/ visual help. Many say that the minimal approach helps with focus and so on. For me it seems to be the opposite. I constantly need to stop my thinking process in order to..remain order^^.

  • @amunicapunica said:

    THIS is exactly where i still feel uncomfortable with typical markdown-Zettelkasten-Systems.

    Although there seems to be (sometimes strong) disagreement from some folks on this board, I remain convinced that ZK isn't as universally applicable as is sometimes made out. I'm not alone in this: some course colleagues came over to this forum and quickly left (although to be fair that was partially as a result of a conversation that they found off putting), and additionally I had my mentor look into it at some length. He (a senior post-doctorate academic), like me, found aspects that he really liked and aspects that he really didn't like for the type of work that he does.

    I also think it's interesting how a ZK systems fits my two different goals in life very differently, as I've mentioned elsewhere in this forum. When not studying (or working), I read broadly in sociology and for this ZK is great: I probably wouldn't now use any other method. However, for my studies right now, it's just not the right tool.

    Is there any way to have a proper workflow which combines this apart from RemNote? I kind of struggle with all the extra work right now necessary for creating separate notes for "outlines, "persons".

    What parts of the workflow are you after?

  • @amunicapunica said:

    @GBC said: So it's a bit like Roam, in that you can have a structure of taking notes if this suits you (rather than a series of 'cards' in a box, which doesn't work for the way I think quite as well), but the structure doesn't matter and doesn't limit you.

    THIS is exactly where i still feel uncomfortable with typical markdown-Zettelkasten-Systems.

    Is there any way to have a proper workflow which combines this apart from RemNote? I kind of struggle with all the extra work right now necessary for creating seperate notes for "outlines, "persons".

    I even lack the discipline to properly structure my markdown zettels with all the ###headings but no damn outline/ visual help. Many say that the minimal approach helps with focus and so on. For me it seems to be the opposite. I constantly need to stop my thinking process in order to..remain order^^.

    You try to work around one of the key components to understand things (and re-call them later on).

    One of the differences between information and knowledge is the depth of processing. Depth of processing could be boiled down to the connections and relations you make. Or: It can be boiled down to the knowledge structure you create. This is how the brain works and what the difference between the Zettelkasten Method and ordinary note taking methods comes down to.

    It is a matter of training your mind. Training is hard, it's only fun when it has not to be fun, it needs patience and persistence.

    I interviewed dozens of professors at my old university. They don't have a proper system in place that suits them. And more, apart from two who seemed to be interested, all of them thought they had a proper system "for them". This is exactly the problem of high, but not very high, performing people. For example, one might think that professional athletes are on point with their nutrition and life style choices. But I kid you not, you will be shocked how poorly many of them are at basic tasks of health and nutrition. If you see an ultra-marathon runner (some of the races are even so gruling that it is considered normal to pee blood afterwards) gobling down junkfood to "restore energy stores" you might question you own sense of reality. I at least did.

    I tell you, even for a clinically depressed person who lacks ambition and discipline it is possible to write a master thesis in two months if the proper tools are used. (I even used just ResophNotes back then as the tool of choice)

    I am a Zettler

  • GBCGBC
    edited September 14

    @sfast said:

    It is a matter of training your mind. Training is hard, it's only fun when it has not to be fun, it needs patience and persistence.

    Ha - when I read the post by @amunicapunica yesterday, I predicted there'd be a 'you must train your mind' comment 😂

    It may be a translation thing, but your replies tend to read as if you think there is just one external system - Zettelkasten - that is the way to support all brains in order to meet one's goals. Is that the case?

    Your posts also suggest that everyone has the same goal of being the best ZKer or best knowledge manager and, as we've discussed before, here we disagree. For me, ZK is simply a tool to achieve a particular goal. If someone can achieve that same end goal using a modified version of ZK, or not using ZK, they've still met their goal.

    Which is why I find this curious:

    [snip] dozens of professors [snip] thought they had a proper system "for them".

    Which surely implies they had met, or were meeting, their goal. So what is the problem that you go on to state here:

    This is exactly the problem of high, but not very high, performing people.

    I am simply unclear about your point here. On what basis / standards are you measuring high vs very high performing? What are you basing your measurement of this problem on? Surely not on their own view, since you say they were happy with their system. By some external standard? By your standard? If they are happy with their approach and performance what is the problem?

    Which brings me on to:

    I kid you not, you will be shocked how poorly many of [professional athletes] are at basic tasks of health and nutrition.

    You use the analogy of sports a lot, so let's get really precise on the touchpoints of that analogy. For me, being a professional athlete and being a ZKer are not analogous. For me, being a professional athlete is an end goal and there will be things that contribute to reaching that goal - training being one, health and nutrition being another. In contrast, ZK is a thing that contributes to a further goal, it is not the goal in itself.

  • edited September 14

    @sfast I get your point and maybe i did not formulate my problem adequately when i said that i don't want to create structure notes or similar notes which bring many ideas together. What i mean is the process of doing that with a Zettelkasten-Software. E.g. i need more time for "orientation" between text passages because everything looks the same. Another point is that for some types of work you might combine old text passages and so on. I need "many windows" to stay orientated.

    (I see you also answered to my new post where i try to describe the problem better, thanks for that, so sorry if this is repetitive right here)

    Or would you say this is not a working style but a symptom which will disappear? I've read that you strictly distinct between time for reading and time for processing for example.

    Right now i see the Zettelkasten method as perfect for generating ideas and developing concepts. But i guess for typical short term project work (writing a political position paper, business reports...) I am not comfortable with a minimalistic solution right now.

    If this is part of the learning process, let me know! :) If it is not, i could make peace with using different software and thus having some transaction costs.

  • @GBC said:

    @sfast said:

    It is a matter of training your mind. Training is hard, it's only fun when it has not to be fun, it needs patience and persistence.

    Ha - when I read the post by @amunicapunica yesterday, I predicted there'd be a 'you must train your mind' comment 😂

    It may be a translation thing, but your replies tend to read as if you think there is just one external system - Zettelkasten - that is the way to support all brains in order to meet one's goals. Is that the case?

    No, no.

    1. The Zettelkasten itself is just a thing. The Zettelkasten Method (this is why I use the term) however is a collection of work flows guided by the very nature of knowledge work itself (Don't you dare copplepot..). It is not about connecting notes or using this or that ID. Those are physical (or digital) manifestations of how you need to think to deal with knowledge appropriately. This is one of the reasons why many things are not a matter of opinion. If you want to transfer truth from one statement to another, you need an argument to achieve this. No way around that.
    2. You read to much into my post.

    Your posts also suggest that everyone has the same goal of being the best ZKer or best knowledge manager and, as we've discussed before, here we disagree. For me, ZK is simply a tool to achieve a particular goal. If someone can achieve that same end goal using a modified version of ZK, or not using ZK, they've still met their goal.

    No, my post does not suggest that at all.

    Which is why I find this curious:

    [snip] dozens of professors [snip] thought they had a proper system "for them".

    Which surely implies they had met, or were meeting, their goal. So what is the problem that you go on to state here:

    This is exactly the problem of high, but not very high, performing people.

    Again, no. You cannot state something as implied without any argumentation.

    But I left something open: Many, to many, people think that they found "their" way and measuring it by their satisfaction. But most of the achieved satisfaction is created by just giving up and being contempt with inability. But later on, those profs all stated this, they said that this is just their way. It's just a case of sour grapes.

    I am simply unclear about your point here. On what basis / standards are you measuring high vs very high performing? What are you basing your measurement of this problem on? Surely not on their own view, since you say they were happy with their system. By some external standard? By your standard?

    I am measuring anybody and anything by the potential that lies in them. I worked as some kind of care taker for young man with very severe disabilities (mental retardation, epilepsy, autism and more secondary problems). I accompanied him at some kind of craftsmanship kindergarden. There, a middle-aged woman drawed a picture for me which would barely count as drawing. But she gave it all she had.

    On the other hand, mentally capable people are fine with less their are capable of. That is wrong.

    If they are happy with their approach and performance what is the problem?

    There is instrumental rationality and there is value rationality. A junkie might be happy with his life on the streets and a needle in his arms. But any sane person would want him to have bigger ambitions.

    I kid you not, you will be shocked how poorly many of [professional athletes] are at basic tasks of health and nutrition.

    You use the analogy of sports a lot, so let's get really precise on the touchpoints of that analogy. For me, being a professional athlete and being a ZKer are not analogous. For me, being a professional athlete is an end goal and there will be things that contribute to reaching that goal - training being one, health and nutrition being another.
    In contrast, ZK is a thing that contributes to a further goal, it is not the goal in itself.

    This is not a contrast to what I say at all. I stated the exact same thing multiple times.

    I contrast with this analogy the assumption that professional athletes seek to fullfil their potential but in fact even they fall short of it.


    @amunicapunica said:
    @sfast I get your point and maybe i did not formulate my problem adequately when i said that i don't want to create structure notes or similar notes which bring many ideas together. What i mean is the process of doing that with a Zettelkasten-Software. E.g. i need more time for "orientation" between text passages because everything looks the same. Another point is that for some types of work you might combine old text passages and so on. I need "many windows" to stay orientated.

    (I see you also answered to my new post where i try to describe the problem better, thanks for that, so sorry if this is repetitive right here)

    Or would you say this is not a working style but a symptom which will disappear? I've read that you strictly distinct between time for reading and time for processing for example.

    It will improve as your general ability improves and the better you know your subject. I can re-call thousands of my notes and it is very rare that I am suprised by what I wrote. But this is not because I am smart but because I spend a lot of time and effort on each subject.

    Right now i see the Zettelkasten method as perfect for generating ideas and developing concepts. But i guess for typical short term project work (writing a political position paper, business reports...) I am not comfortable with a minimalistic solution right now.

    If this is part of the learning process, let me know! :) If it is not, i could make peace with using different software and thus having some transaction costs.

    Shorter writing projects are not different from longer writing subjects. Just follow this very simple process:

    1. Create an outline.
    2. Create notes by placing the link there first and then creatin the note
    3. Rinse and repeat until satisfied.

    It is really that simple.

    I am a Zettler

  • GBCGBC
    edited September 18

    @sfast said:

    The Zettelkasten Method (this is why I use the term) however is a collection of work flows

    Agreed

    guided by the very nature of knowledge work itself

    Not totally agreed. Not everyone using the method is interested in knowledge work as you seem to use the term (as the very highest end of knowledge work). Some are students and have - possible subtly - different needs.

    1. You read to much into my post.

    No. This is a convenient way of dismissing someone's point without fully engaging with it, which is a method you've used on me before.

    [GBC said]Your posts also suggest that everyone has the same goal of being the best ZKer or best knowledge manager

    No, my post does not suggest that at all.

    I was referring to posts in the plural, not just this one. This is the way many of your posts have read to me, and also to my course colleagues who came over here for a bit and who left, for that reason.

    [GBC said] Which surely implies they had met, or were meeting, their goal. So what is the problem that you go on to state here:

    This is exactly the problem of high, but not very high, performing people.

    Again, no. You cannot state something as implied without any argumentation.

    To be honest, I didn't think it needed a supporting argument. When someone says they have found the best method for them, it implies they are content with their position and therefore have met their goal. But I guess the reason you disagree with that is:

    Many, to many, people think that they found "their" way and measuring it by their satisfaction. But most of the achieved satisfaction is created by just giving up and being contempt with inability.

    It seems that they are content with their achievement (or their 'inability', as you put it) but that you feel they should be aiming at something different. Okay, I don't know the exact details of your interaction with these academics, but this is what I also pick up from some of your responses to various posts on here. It seems that anyone who is not putting 100% effort into, in this case, knowledge work, is 'content with inability' and that this is a flaw.

    Yet most people have a broader life than putting all their effort into one thing. Many people will choose to be a 'good' academic in order to also be (say) a 'great' partner, a 'fantastic' parent, a 'decent' photographer, a 'leisure' jogger, a 'keen' reader of fiction, etc. For them, a great life is made up of a balance of other activities - having that balance means that they may never excel in one particular area, but they are putting their all into life, spread over a broader range of activities.

    On the other hand, mentally capable people are fine with less their are capable of. That is wrong.

    No, I don't agree. For a start, they might (as above) be spreading their efforts over a broader range of activities. But it is down to each individual to decide how to live their life. It's certainly not down to you (or me or anyone else) to decide that they are wrong.

    A junkie might be happy with his life on the streets and a needle in his arms. But any sane person would want him to have bigger ambitions.

    The analogy doesn't hold - an addict isn't comparable to someone who is leading a fulfilled life but just not maximising any one particular area of their ability. Not least because addiction is now understood to be a mental impairment and therefore does not fit into your 'mentally capable' category.

    In contrast, ZK is a thing that contributes to a further goal, it is not the goal in itself.

    This is not a contrast to what I say at all. I stated the exact same thing multiple times.

    My point here was more covered by the tendency we're discussing above to think that people are wrong if they are not making it their life goal.

    Shorter writing projects are not different from longer writing subjects. Just follow this very simple process:

    1. Create an outline.
    2. Create notes by placing the link there first and then creatin the note
    3. Rinse and repeat until satisfied.

    It is really that simple.

    If that WAS the simple advice given to people on here, I wouldn't be taking my time to explore these points. However, multiple times I've seen the advice that anyone having any form of doubts or difficulties must train their brain, and this bothers me. This advice has been given to people who have said that they are more visual learners and struggle with the flat file nature of markdown, with the IUD numbers, with the interface of The Archive. People really do have different ways of learning / seeing, and I just don't feel that encouraging everyone to step away from their natural abilities in order to follow one method (by which I mean the method plus the software) is a good way forward.

    In a similar way, people at different stages of their learning journey will be able to do the 'linking as generating knowledge' to different levels - again, I've never seen the advice* 'well, this is a good starting point at this level but the thing to aim at is [insert description of the method]: it's more that if they are not achieving the full potential of linking ideas then it is implied that they are wrong. Again, this bothers me.

    (*actually, I have seen this advice - from the wider forum members. The forum members here are great and offer some really good and well-balanced advice).

    In both cases, I feel the very 'black and white' way of stating that people are wrong if they are not doing exactly the right thing might actually cause problems for someone, one day.

  • I have the feeling you're taking this discussion too personal. Not my cup of tea.

    I am a Zettler

  • GBCGBC
    edited September 19

    @sfast said:
    I have the feeling you're taking this discussion too personal. Not my cup of tea.

    Nope. Not at all. I have been impacted by some of the things you’ve said directly to me, but I’m old and experienced enough not to take it personally. I’ve also reached a position with ZK where it’s a great fit for some of the work I do, and very useful, but in a modified way right now, for the other more short term things I do, and now I’ve reached that point it’s stopped bothering me that by your standards I’m wrong. I also use different software that works better for me for my short term ZK, but retain TA for my longer term one. It’s working for me, the method and software choice can grow and change, job done.

    My point is just that I don’t think it’s healthy to take the position that people are wrong if they are not a 100% fit for either the use cases that you have in mind or for the % dedication / effort you feel should be applied. I don’t think it’s healthy to tell everyone to train their brain when they are talking about learning styles and other known brain differences. I think both those things are leading, in some cases, to skewed and even poor advice. And you’re not just a guy on this forum, you’re one of the guys on this forum, and your advice will carry more weight than that of, for example, mine.

    My concern is firstly that some people will be put off / disillusioned, which may not just turn them away from this method but from learning itself, and secondly that at some point someone will follow your advice to ‘train their brain’ in circumstances that will not turn out well for them.

    See, I think you hold a definition (not an incorrect one) that ZK is a set of methods applying to the level of work, and with similar aims, to that of Luhmann. But he was one man, with one brain type (and, frankly, a seemingly extreme one) who was writing in an area of which he already had knowledge. He wasn’t an 18 year old undergraduate who is hoping to learn some techniques that can grow with him throughout his learning journey. He wasn’t someone grappling with a subject for the first time and unable, at this stage, to make those connections. He wasn’t someone who is using ZK as a way to structure notes because their brain isn’t really able to do what other people’s can. And he wasn’t someone who just had this as one hobby amongst others. I’ve seen all of those other types trying out ZK, and I have seen that their challenges and goals are not a good fit for the way you see things.

    You’ve previously implied that you take it to be your job, as a coach, to tell people they should abandon their goals if they are not prepared to put the effort in. I think that comes across in this forum. I think that might impact someone at some point.

    But I’ll leave it here. Because it’s not personal and I have no personal need or motivation to keep making this point, and I’m not sure we’ll arrive at a position of agreement.

  • Please make sure that you represent what I wrote precisely.

    This is strawmaning:

    I don’t think it’s healthy to tell everyone to train their brain when they are talking about learning styles and other known brain differences.

    This is a false assumption directly contradicted by direct advice I have given publicly:

    See, I think you hold a definition (not an incorrect one) that ZK is a set of methods applying to the level of work, and with similar aims, to that of Luhmann.

    This is also incorrect (I explicitely wrote: Either change their attitude or give up on their goals. That is entirely different. Also, the context is essential to my (correct) statement. I wrote: "There is nothing wrong with neither motivation."):

    You’ve previously implied that you take it to be your job, as a coach, to tell people they should abandon their goals if they are not prepared to put the effort in.

    I am a Zettler

  • When not studying (or working), I read broadly in sociology and for this ZK is great: I probably wouldn't now use any other method. However, for my studies right now, it's just not the right tool.

    @GBC very curious what are your current studies that make it a bad tool?

  • @Nick said:

    When not studying (or working), I read broadly in sociology and for this ZK is great: I probably wouldn't now use any other method. However, for my studies right now, it's just not the right tool.

    @GBC very curious what are your current studies that make it a bad tool?

    The short answer is that I didn't call it a bad tool: just not the right tool for me for my studies right now.

    The long answer is probably too long to invest time in given that you might not be interested in why it is not right, rather than bad, lol!

  • edited September 21

    @GBC that is what I meant, but didn't bother changing it because I didn't think you'd read into my choice of words that much because I quoted the whole sentence not just it being "not the right" tool...

  • The long answer is probably too long to invest time in given that you might not be interested in why it is not right, rather than bad, lol!

    This forum is dedicated to the Zettelkasten method. I am sure this is not the place to find the right audience for your reasoning on ZK.

    Reading these forum threads from start to finish we'll note that the most part of the discussion is dedicated to what was said; and how such said should be interpreted. The technical term for this behaviour is "keyboard warrior". Instead of providing constructive, objective insights to the topic in question, we are fighting against each other. I have a feeling we (we, as in, including me) should re-read the title of the thread and think about the relevance of our writing.

    my first Zettel uid: 202008120915

  • @zk_1000 said:

    The long answer is probably too long to invest time in given that you might not be interested in why it is not right, rather than bad, lol!

    This forum is dedicated to the Zettelkasten method. I am sure this is not the place to find the right audience for your reasoning on ZK.

    Whoa, dude! You’ve completely misinterpreted my reply to Nick. I couldn’t give him an answer to his question as to why I thought ZK was a bad tool, because I’d only said - and only meant - that it wasn’t the right tool for me right now, for my studies (and I’ve been clear throughout this post that it is a god to for the other work that I do).

    The quote you’ve pulled out was simply meant: since he’d clearly misread my intention, it wasn’t a good investment of time to set out my reasoning if he had misunderstood and therefore wasn’t interested. You’ll, note, therefore, that I was avoiding assuming that this is ‘the place to find the right audience for my reasoning on ZK’.

    However, in a broader sense, this is exactly the forum to discuss ZK. It’s a ZK forum. I’ve made it clear I think it’s a good tool for my other work and that I use it - I’m no keyboard warrior with an intention simply to decry something. My conversation in this post was with one person on how his approach is, I believe, occasionally unhelpful.

  • GBCGBC
    edited September 22

    @Nick said:
    @GBC that is what I meant, but didn't bother changing it because I didn't think you'd read into my choice of words that much because I quoted the whole sentence not just it being "not the right" tool...

    Oh, okay, I genuinely wasn’t sure. They really are two different things, of course, so my reply was genuinely meant: there was no point in giving you what is essentially a personal view (why it isn’t right for me right now) if you were looking for a broader view as to why I think it’s generally bad.

    I’m happy to share my reasoning but it really is a personal view. First let me reiterate that I am using ZK and TA for my broader reading, which is in ‘popular’ sociology. I feel the technique works well for that, by which I mean it makes sense.

    For my studies, I am a (very) mature student doing an undergraduate degree (my second) that is distance learning and entirely untaught. My course is in analytical philosophy so, at my level of study, the focus is on getting a very deep understanding of the argument (clearly summarised into its premises and conclusions) of each paper, with a further analysis as to whether the argument is valid, or fallacious, etc.

    All three of the private tutors I’ve worked have advised minimising (indeed, avoiding) separate note taking and maximising firstly the dissection (analysis and annotation) of each philosophy paper and secondly the writing about that paper. In their experience, having separate notes isn’t as effective as having a well marked up paper.

    The aim of writing is to draw together your understanding so far and seeing how successfully you can present a cohesive explanation, to see where there are any gaps.

    Because we are not taught and not given lectures, the advice is not to take general notes on every aspect of what we read but to take a past exam paper, note the question, and broadly ‘read for that question’.

    By the way, I’m not saying all this is right, this is just the advice given by tutors who have over the years supported people doing this particular course. It’s an odd challenge, in some ways, because it’s almost like doing research but with no background knowledge in the subject at all, and aiming at the type of assessment that a taught undergraduate would need to undertake. So instead of doing research and looking to see what pattern emerges over a longer period, we are trying to meet a very specifically defined syllabus over a short and finite period, and will be assessed against that defined syllabus, so in that sense the ‘pattern’ is already known - we’re in the business of learning it.

    I am very capable, academically and intellectually, but struggle with certain ‘taking information in’ scenarios. I’m awaiting testing for ADHD because it’s been a problem throughout my life and also affects me professionally. I need a bit more help in reconstructing the argument from each paper- I need to ‘see’ it on one page - pull out the key aspects and arrange them into the coherent summary and structure.

    I initially thought the atomic note aspect of ZK could help with that. What I realised though is that this stage is really more aligned to temporary notes than to ZK and there are better tools (for me, based on the above) for that, such as liquidtext or anything that allows free form jottings and playing around with ideas.

    When turning to the actual writing, the aim is not a ‘one thought per note’ but a broader piece against a particular mini question or position. Again, I’m not finding this aligns naturally with ZK.

    So to summarise so far, the course advice is not to take notes if possible, ZK isn’t the best tool to help me get the information into my head, and it’s not really meant as a repository for longer writing. Luhmann‘s own objectives were not to sit exams for what is essentially a 3-6 month course. So I’m just not finding it a necessary tool for what I’m doing or the most helpful one.

    In addition, I’m visual learner as well as having the weird brain I mentioned earlier. The way that ZK is done here (eg TA), with flat lists of markdown files and IUDs and mono spaced fonts, is very difficult for me to ‘see’ and work with. It’s also not a great fit for the original ‘slip’ approach which were handwritten and physical objects that could be visually picked out, rearranged, etc. Some of the advice we are given here about using a long-term, self owned, software independent approach, is designed at those people who want to do life bodies of work, not for people who want to do short, sharp things like me. Since I’m not so bothered about the long-term durability, a system like RemNote actually seems closer to Luhmann’s system. Where I am taking notes - for my studies - this is the software I’m currently exploring ( though I’m sure I’ll move on) since I don’t have to work so much against my brain.

    Incidentally, this is why I was urging, earlier in this thread, for clarity on what we mean by ZK. It is used (rightly or wrongly) in a number of different ways in different forums but also here. One way it is used is for the simple technique of atomic notes and clear linking. The second use is that method as implemented by particular software that leads to a particular way of using it. The third is as a life body of work, something to last over many years. My observation is that much of the advice given here assumes that the aim is always the third definition. Other forums do not necessarily make this assumption and will ask what someone’s aims are. I think you have to be on this forum for a bit to realise that what is being discussed is that long term, persistent use, and someone therefore may ask questions and get answers that don’t best meet their current situation.

    Does that make sense? I’m writing this quickly on my phone before work so it may contain typos and not be totally clear, so do let me know if it isn’t.

  • in analytical philosophy [...] the focus is on getting a very deep understanding of the argument [...] of each paper, with a further analysis as to whether the argument is valid, or fallacious, etc.

    This makes a lot of sense. The reason why ZKM is not appropriate here is that at this level of processing information you do not extract any knowledge from the source. What you extract from the source is the validity of that knowledge, you do not take a position.

    For ZKM a different level of processing is required which, if done in parallel to above, can be distracting. Instead, it is often advantageous to process the source multiple times using different levels each time.

    For ZKM to be useful a thinking process is required. You can use it when you have interest in modifying the knowledge from the source to create another source. In other words, it can only be used for creative thinking.

    Some examples to use your ZKM as a follow up on your initial analysis is to take notes on good examples for fallacy xyz, reasons on to why your task has been easier for one source compared to another or even personal interest in the statements itself, their plot holes and research.

    One way it is used is for the simple technique of atomic notes and clear linking. The second use is that method as implemented by particular software that leads to a particular way of using it. The third is as a life body of work, something to last over many years.

    This is not very accurate. In the order of your writing, the first perspective is about abstract concepts related to ZKM. The second perspective is an implementation of such concepts. The 3rd perspective is about whatever you read into this - this could be user roles, stories, responsibilities, or any other type of modelling.

    The perspectives used to create a model is entirely up to the reader. There is no one solution the same as another.

    my first Zettel uid: 202008120915

  • .

    @zk_1000 said:

    in analytical philosophy [...] the focus is on getting a very deep understanding of the argument [...] of each paper, with a further analysis as to whether the argument is valid, or fallacious, etc.

    This makes a lot of sense. The reason why ZKM is not appropriate here is that at this level of processing information you do not extract any knowledge from the source. What you extract from the source is the validity of that knowledge, you do not take a position.

    I think we're in agreement here. For clarity, I do, obviously, do (a lot of) further thinking than just playing back what I've read, but in the approach advised by tutors this is done as part of the longer writing and I'm finding there's no currently no real benefit for me to then zettel it as atomic notes. I may find there's a reason to do so in the future, particular as the nature of my studies changes and if so, I'll obviously revisit my approach.

    This is not very accurate. In the order of your writing, the first perspective is about abstract concepts related to ZKM. The second perspective is an implementation of such concepts. The 3rd perspective is about whatever you read into this - this could be user roles, stories, responsibilities, or any other type of modelling.

    The perspectives used to create a model is entirely up to the reader. There is no one solution the same as another.

    I think it's possible that we're also in agreement here. I was being a bit 'lightweight' on this point because I don't have any desire to reignite the debate that was taking place earlier in the thread.

    But to briefly clarify my position: my personal view is that the model for the ultimate ZK is absolutely reader dependent, which is why I often talk on various threads about the goals of the reader. However, my belief is that some advice given here about approach and about software choice assumes the long term, 'life work' choice and thus may not actually be the best advice if this is not someone's goal.

    Hope that makes sense.

  • @zk_1000

    I am using the ZKM for analytical philosophy. Analytical philosophy just needs more preprocessing than other domains. That is the whole difference. The ZKM is the physical or digital manifestation of the way we, as people, interact with knowledge. Analytical philosophy is just a fancy term for overly formalised philosophical texts. Good text from this domain make it easier to retrieve arguments than other branches of philosophy.

    After all, arguments (and counterarguments) are part of the list of knowledge structures that you are searching for in text: Reading is Searching

    So, do not make the mistake in thinking the ZKM is not approprate for more formalised or difficult texts. The ZKM is not a learning method or a method to understand and analyse texts but an umbrella that covers the whole process from not knowing anything to a extensive body of knowledge on something.

    It has different limitations. If you compare the ZKM to GTD, there are possibilities to make the analog shift Leo Babauta made with his simplification Zen To Done. These are the modifications I use to teach people who feel overwhelmed (or students who just want to study to earn a degree and then forget about studying all together (which can entail throwing the the Zettelkasten away).

    I am a Zettler

  • edited September 22

    @sfast said:
    1. The Zettelkasten itself is just a thing. The Zettelkasten Method (this is why I use the term) however is a collection of work flows guided by the very nature of knowledge work itself (Don't you dare copplepot..). It is not about connecting notes or using this or that ID.

    I don't know who "copplepot" is, or why you would want to stop them from joining the conversation, but I think the most appropriate rejoinder to your point is this brilliant quote I read somewhere on the web:

    "The Zettelkasten Method seems to get more and more popular. With popularity of methods there always comes a problem: Overzealous Orthodoxy. Some people, for various reasons, try to state what a Zettelkasten is and what not."

    Source: https://zettelkasten.de/posts/dont-dehorsify-the-horse/

    Everyone, listen to @sfast! Listen to him when he tells you what a ZK is and what it is not. And listen to him when he warns you against the overzealous who have the audacity to tell you what a ZK is and what it is not!

    (Perhaps I will see a reply that splits some hairs between the ZK method and the "ZK". While this might win a debating point, I don't see it leading to a consistent overall position. Happy to be proven wrong.)

  • @cobblepot There is a big difference in stating what a Zettelkasten is and stating what a Zettelkasten is not. And there is a big difference in hard-defining and finding the the nature of a concept.

    (Perhaps I will see a reply that splits some hairs between the ZK method and the "ZK". While this might win a debating point, I don't see it leading to a consistent overall position. Happy to be proven wrong.)

    No, you won't because I don't see anything your post adds other than your feelings.

    I am a Zettler

  • @GBC it kind of makes sense, but I feel like I'm not going to get it until I have first hand experience. The central question to me is whether you plan on using any of the analysis done in your analytical philosophy course at a later date. If that were the case then I'd include the notes in my zk but just make them not atomic ones.

    Incidentally, this is why I was urging, earlier in this thread, for clarity on what we mean by ZK. It is used (rightly or wrongly) in a number of different ways in different forums but also here. One way it is used is for the simple technique of atomic notes and clear linking. The second use is that method as implemented by particular software that leads to a particular way of using it. The third is as a life body of work, something to last over many years. My observation is that much of the advice given here assumes that the aim is always the third definition.

    I think a lot of the issues with defining ZK come down to people only thinking about it from a surface level/cosmetic standpoint. Instead what you want to do is understand why Luhmann created the system he did and how it differentiated from other systems. Then work out what the first principles behind it are, which you can then use to think about how to implement a digital system.

    One example to me is all the hype around atomic notes. I think he used "atomic notes" because summarizations in nature tend to be atomic and that it allowed for easy linking between information. But we don't need notes to be atomic in order to link in a digital system. Because of this I have some super long notes, where I'm able to link into random points of the text.

    At the end of the day, I think its going beyond "x did y so we should it also" to "why did x do y? What problem was x trying to solve? What is the purpose of y?". I am slowly figuring out all this myself, which is why I don't debate people on here, as I see it as a waste of time.

    Thanks for sharing your perspective though.

  • No one is putting a gun to our heads and telling us to use The Archive. Even though it is one of the best applications to use for me at least because of its simplicity and the emphasis it places on 1) taking notes 2) finding notes 3) linking notes. There are many alternatives that are just as good. Most of these applications do the same stuff, its just the environmental appeal to them that makes them different. Org-Roam is great, but likely wouldn't be as good as it is if not for Emacs. I refuse to use Roam or anything else that is Browser first. I have no interest in Obsidian because it looks like it does too much. When I need to be more visually stimulated, I can process a note in Tinderbox and make use of the Map layout. When I read physical books, I like to even use a physical "Zettelkasten".

    All of this has nothing to do with the potency or lack thereof of the utility that is the literal slip box, whether it be physical or digital. Or whether it is even referred to as a Commonplace book, or a if Atomic notes are referred to as "Evergreen notes" or if you like "PARA" or Parmesan. Nor are these preferences an indictment against the "Zettelkasten method".

    In reality, none of these things exist. They're just names that people use to frame common practices in a way that makes it easy for them to contextualize note-taking in their preferred environments. If a person is just engaging with these practices as a "hobbyist" then the rigid portrayal of the Zettelkasten in all of its texturized umlauted German pronunciation may be too over whelming. So call it "Evergreen notetaking".

    The problem is us, not the tools or the methods that employ the tools. So yeah, you besta get your minds right! We should be asking ourselves, as far as the quality and effort behind them is concerned, why does so much of our work depend on these tools and methods? Most of us (myself included) need to just shut up, read and write. Our priorities as to why we are reading and writing may vary, and we can deliberate that among our peers. But the bitter truth is a lot of our hang ups are emotional and mental. Many of you are in academia, hoo-hoo-ray. Why are you studying what you are studying? What do you plan to contribute to your discipline and in turn, to humanity? How much of this course do you intend to take with you into the future? To what extent is any of this increasing the so-called "quality of life" of the world? Wrap your head around that first, then worry about whether or not you need buy OmniGraffle and an Apple Pencil.

    This thread ought to be locked and done away with or moved to a section that encourages thought about more on what "knowledge work" produces and less about "productivity".

  • .> @Nick said:

    @GBC it kind of makes sense, but I feel like I'm not going to get it until I have first hand experience. The central question to me is whether you plan on using any of the analysis done in your analytical philosophy course at a later date. If that were the case then I'd include the notes in my zk but just make them not atomic ones.

    Thank you for taking the time to give your view - I really appreciate it. Interestingly, I've ended up almost exactly where you suggest - producing longer notes that I was keeping in the Notebooks app (really nice to 'flick' through like a notebook on my ipad). That said, I've very recently moved to RemNote, mainly for its visual outlining capability. This is an interesting move as each block of text can be reused (transclusion, if you will: change the source paragraph and all linked versions of it update) so, with careful crafting of longer notes, each paragraph can be reused elsewhere, almost like an atomic Zettel. This will allow me to build the basic structure of multiple essay answers from existing notes when I'm revising past papers, so in that sense I've come full circle back to one aspect of ZK. But interestingly this is also the way I naturally built essays in my initial years before hearing of ZK: by building 'libraries' of notes in Scrivener and arranging them as needed.

    Just for transparency: I'm not completely sold on RemNote, there's a few quirks that worry me, but the outlining capability and the block transclusion work well for me right now, and I've not really found anything else that does this (apart from Roam, but I'm not sold on that either and RemNote has the advantage of being free). That said, I've seen today that later versions of Obsidian support transclusion, but I think I'll stick where I am right now. Last year, I wasted too much time on my Zettel tool / system and not enough on my actually studies 😂

    With regards to your note about whether I would want to re-use any of the analysis, RemNote exports out to markdown really nicely, retaining the structure, so I've got my regular backup to fall back on even if RemNote disappears. However, my experience of learning at undergraduate level, both this time and last, is that one tends to make progress in such a way that notes taken in the early years usually need to be totally revised if you return to that topic later, so as I see it if I decide to move to a full ZK approach (whatever that looks like at the time, with the advancement of tools) for further studies, I can move blocks into Zettels as part of that revision process.

    I agree with your view - even if you drop the atomic aspect of ZK, the searching capability of a digital system can support the interrogation of previous notes.

    Instead what you want to do is understand why Luhmann created the system he did and how it differentiated from other systems. Then work out what the first principles behind it are, which you can then use to think about how to implement a digital system.

    This is exactly the approach I've tended to take since trying out ZK. It seems at least a possibility that Luhmann's system was as much influenced by the limitations of paper slips as it was by anything else. I would love to transport him to the current day such that he had our modern tools before he began his ZK and see what he came up with - whether he would basically develop the same system over again in digital format or whether it would look quite different.

    At the end of the day, I think its going beyond "x did y so we should it also" to "why did x do y? What problem was x trying to solve? What is the purpose of y?".

    Thank you. This is exactly my approach. With an added 'was any of this X specific?' - a sentence stood out to me in Ahren's Smart Notes which was (from memory, therefore possibly not exactly) about how Luhmann's productivity was about him working with his system and reducing friction, and again it seems at least a possibility that some of his system was designed to reduce friction with his own way of thinking and working. My goal in working out my system has been to reduce friction with my way of thinking and working. Knowing the way we all develop, it may not be what I'm doing in three months' time - but I'll find out soon enough 😂

    I am slowly figuring out all this myself, which is why I don't debate people on here, as I see it as a waste of time.

    Thanks for your time today, in that case. I myself am stepping away from both this thread and the forum but I do appreciate your time and engagement today, and maybe it will be helpful to others.

  • @sfast Apologies for derailing the thread. I'll respond in the 'dehorsify' thread.

  • @GBC You say: "I'm not completely sold on RemNote, there's a few quirks that worry me". I'm new here and just started with RemNote (and I just discovered the Zettelkasten concept/method). So I'm curious...

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