Well-trodden path vs. off-piste
As I wrote in the weekly work thread, I've been reading Richard Hamming's The Art of Doing Science and Engineering and in it he talks about many topics, but one of these is "creativity" [ch. 25]. He makes some interesting remarks which have some relevance to Zettelkasten, which I why I post it here.
A clear definition of creativity is not given, but one of the points he comes across, is that to be "creative", one must at least be able to form connections which seems non-obvious at first. He describes this as having "hooks" inside the mind, which can latch onto topics and ideas and connect them with other topics and ideas. The parallels to Zettelkasten are rather obvious.
Now the interesting thing is this: He argues, that memorization poses a problem for creativity, because it restricts the freedom of association. To paraphrase, it forms a "right" way of thinking, which puts our mind on a well-trodden path and thus we don't get to stumble into new ideas.
This is incredibly interesting w.r.t. to a Zettelkasten and how to work with it. For sure, there are no pre-determined hierarchies or categories. We are free to connect as we please. But! if the exploration and browsing of the Zettelkasten becomes too samey, we might limit ourselves. Thinking back on my own use, there are definitely some notes and chains of notes which are heavily visited in connection with writing some papers.
I would love to hear if any of you have some ideas (even "obvious" ones) about how to go "off-piste" and seek new paths. Or maybe you don't recognize this issue at all?
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