Zettelkasten Forum


Translation of Kleist: on the gradual construction of thoughts during speech

There's this old text that I think is kinda useful to understand a tiny bit of the basis of Luhmann's communication theory. Manfred Kuehn wrote about this, too, with another reference:

As Lichtenberg put it, we should say: "there is thought," and not "I think," just as we are wont to say "there is lightning" or "it is raining."

I uploaded the public domain text from https://www.projekt-gutenberg.org/kleist/gedanken/gedanken.html here in German, plus a DeepL-based English translation:

https://gist.github.com/DivineDominion/022ce0fdca0ed21d30c11e5c56135058

If you search (hat tip to @cobblepot :)) for "on the gradual construction of thoughts during speech" on the web, you can get to PDFs for free, too, but I won't hotlink these, because I'm not sure about their copyright status.

So if any of you bilinguals here want to submit improvements to a free community edition of the text's translation, there you go, please submit corrections via the link above.

That being said, I do think the current DeepL-version is intelligible, too.


Why do I mention this? Actual prose seems to make stuff easier to grasp, which I think is why @Eurobubba brings up Pirsig's Lila to provide an illustration of the Zettelkasten Method here and there. It's a great example, and one can be inspired a lot through the story that's told.

Same for me with Kleist. It's a rough description of the vocabulary of some systems thinkers, but it's also indicative of how we can understand topics and ourselves better through writing.

In my opinion, it's part of the """"magic"""" of a Zettelkasten. There's no literal surprise text files on my disk. I wrote all of them myself. But my thinking changes through the process much like thinking happpens when we talk to someone. Kleist noticed the moment that thoughts came to him out of thin air while he was immersed in the process of communication. Maybe you find all of this equally powerful.

Either way, enjoy the machine lord's translation of the classic that is Kleist!

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

Comments

  • @ctietze said:

    Actual prose seems to make stuff easier to grasp, which I think is why @Eurobubba brings up Pirsig's Lila to provide an illustration of the Zettelkasten Method here and there. It's a great example, and one can be inspired a lot through the story that's told.

    Same for me with Kleist. It's a rough description of the vocabulary of some systems thinkers, but it's also indicative of how we can understand topics and ourselves better through writing.

    In my opinion, it's part of the """"magic"""" of a Zettelkasten. There's no literal surprise text files on my disk. I wrote all of them myself. But my thinking changes through the process much like thinking happpens when we talk to someone. Kleist noticed the moment that thoughts came to him out of thin air while he was immersed in the process of communication. Maybe you find all of this equally powerful.

    I found these comments from @ctietze when looking through "older" (to me) posts.

    I find the process by which we think to be a fascinating topic and one that I have discussed with many engineering colleagues over the years - people that I considered to be creative problem-solvers. Here are some observations on the process of thinking:

    1. I have one colleague who cannot think unless he is talking - a habit that drives others who do not know him well, crazy. Once you know what is going on, it is fascinating to converse with him.
    2. Another colleague is the opposite - he cannot think unless he is quiet (and not listening to others). With him, patience pays great dividends.
    3. Many others are somewhere in between in the spectrum - sometimes talking, especially in an energized group, aids thinking; at other times, it hinders.
    4. The same applies to writing. I find that sometimes thinking during talking and thinking when being quiet only get me so far and that I must start writing to complete (and organize) some of my thoughts.

    I'm here talking about technical writing, as that is mostly what I have done during my working life. I have written many, many engineering reports and technical papers, and several theses, and believe that I have a good grasp on what is required to deliver quality and style in my field of work. Thinking while writing is an essential aspect of that.

    I have a daughter who (very successfully) writes fiction for a living; she tells me that a similar process applies to her.

  • If you fancy confusing yourself, you could try looking at this, which offers a rather different take on this "thinking" business!

    https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01924/full

  • @MartinBB thanks for sharing this paper on "this thinking business." I don't know which of me should be thanking you. The non-conscious one or the conscious one. Interesting stuff and not at all confusing.

    Will Simpson
    I'm a zettelnant.
    Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • @ctietze thanks for the pointer to Heinrich von Kleist's essay on 'On the Gradual Creation of Thoughts While Speaking'. It is stimulating to consider closely just how communication might work and it dovetails in with the research paper by David Oakley and Peter Halligan' titled Chasing The Rainbow: The Non-conscious Nature of Being referred to by @MartinBB above. Here is a small capture from my notes.

    Will Simpson
    I'm a zettelnant.
    Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • edited September 9

    Here are some ideas about possible relations between Kleist's essay and the notion of a "tool collection" - a short description of a tool collection is here.
    This gives yet another perspective on my current pet topic of "writing for insights".

    • One can ask what the similarities and the differences are between the gradual construction of thoughts during speech and during writing. Both have an element of externalisation, in speech it is under normal circumstances unrecorded and undocumented, with massive consequences for further interaction with the material.
    • In speech there is an element of reacting to stimuli sent by your conversation partner - stimuli like a blank stare, a frown, a content-free interjection like "Hmmm", a generic question like "What makes you say that?" or a content-rich remark, perhaps even from a much deeper understanding of the matter than your own, although Kleist's point is that the gradual construction of thought during speech will happen and often succceed even if your conversation partner is not knowledgeable on your topic.
    • Is there a similar role of stimuli in writing? First, in a conventional writing environment, the writer will have to look actively for stimuli, since the writing environment will not present stimuli entirely on its own account (although this is technically no problem, as some of us will know from encounters with beloved characters like Microsoft's Clippit). Second, if a writing environment actually contains a tool collection, we can rephrase Luhmann's formula of "conversation with slip boxes ..." into the more specific variants "... and with an emphasis on tool notes, or an emphasis on content notes" - with the usual understanding that tool notes and content notes are placed on a spectrum from highly generic and domain-independent to highly specific and domain-bound.
    • The practical upshot for me from all this: If zettelkasten user A makes heavy use of tool notes in her work and user B heavy use of content notes in his work, I would expect fairly different work sessions with fairly different outcomes, without a general statement about which strategy yields better results - that depends on many factors.
      It is just my impression that the strategy based on content notes is much more present in discussions than the strategy based on tool notes.
    Post edited by thomasteepe on
  • edited September 10

    @thomasteepe said:

    • In speech there is an element of reacting to stimuli sent by your conversation partner - stimuli like a blank stare, a frown, a content-free interjection like "Hmmm", a generic question like "What makes you say that?" or a content-rich remark, perhaps even from a much deeper understanding of the matter than your own, although Kleist's point is that the gradual construction of thought during speech will happen and often succceed even if your conversation partner is not knowledgeable on your topic.

    Kleist was getting at the gradual construction of thoughts during speech as being one-sided. You could talk to the dog. It doesn't matter the qualifications of the listener, and they don't have to respond. Just the act of vocalizing a thought helps clarify it. Make a start and see where inertia takes you. He advocates for speaking when you don't yet know what you are going to going to say and let the "circumstances and the resulting excitement of mind made bold enough to make a start, on good luck."

    We often have no clear idea what we want to say when we begin explaining something to someone else. Kleist argues that not only should I not try first to get clear on what I want to say by just thinking about it, but that the effort to put it into speech will actually be more helpful, "because usually I already have some obscure notion, which is remotely related to what I am looking for. If I begin boldly enough, my mind will complete what it has begun."

    Speaking is a tool for thought!

    This sounds strikingly like great writing advice. Just start, see what develops and be a ruthless editor.

    • The practical upshot for me from all this: If zettelkasten user A makes heavy use of tool notes in her work and user B heavy use of content notes in his work, I would expect fairly different work sessions with fairly different outcomes, without a general statement about which strategy yields better results - that depends on many factors.
      It is my impression that the strategy based on content notes is much more present in discussions than the strategy based on tool notes.

    @thomasteepe, I'm confused by what you mean by "tool notes." I think I understand what you mean by "content notes" in that they contain content? Anything I write becomes the content of the note. But, what is a "tool note," and if it contains content/writing, isn't it just a "content note."The Official Luhmann Certified 100 Note Categories™ :smiley:

    Maybe you mean a note created from an idea generated by a "tool" as opposed to a note created by an idea generated by the content of reading?

    How might we get to more discussion of a strategy of idea generation that was less focused on reading?

    Post edited by Will on

    Will Simpson
    I'm a zettelnant.
    Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • In programming circles, this problem solving technique of speaking about the problem is (commonly?) known as "rubber duck debugging":

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

  • @Will

    • With "tool notes", I meant notes that contain explicit and often generic thinking tools / problem solving tools, with examples like "make a drawing", "what are key questions in this situation?", "what is crucial here?" etc. Depending on your line of work there will be much more domain-specific tools, e.g. in mathematics "can you apply the Cauchy-Schwarz inequality?" or "can you construct useful invariants?".
      In my personal setup, I have a collection of basic tool notes on a corkboard directly visible from my desk. This one-glance solution helps to minimize the "costs" of accessing items in this tool repository - costs in terms of time and effort for a search for tools.

    • In particular, a tool note is not one that is generated by a tool, but one that contains a tool.

    • Suppose you want to examine the interdependence of friendship and money. As two extremes on a spectrum, you can a) apply a "tool based" strategy, where you use tools from your tool collection, or you can b) use a "content based" strategy where you look for notes in your ZK about friendship and for notes about money and describe their connections - these are the notes I meant above by "content notes".
    • I think there is real potential in adding mentoring and coaching tools to a tool collection - these tools can be completely domain-blind and generic, and they can still challenge you and help you to see your topic from a new perspective and stimulate new ideas.

      How might we get to more discussion of a strategy of idea generation that was less focused on reading?

    • My own strategies for idea generation are mainly based on the application of analytical and constructive stimuli - more here.

    @ctietze

    • In academia as well as in software production, and in many other areas, having a conversation with a qualified communication partner costs money.
      This connects the concept of rubber duck debugging and Luhmann's ideas when he prepared the slip box essay. On this zettel, he writes:
      "Topic: Communication with slip boxes: How to find an adequate partner, junior partner? - Important since working with staff becomes increasingly difficult and increasingly expensive."
      And he continues on the next zettel:
      "Staff has been scarce and expensive for a long time, and in addition, they now become unruly and difficult to guide."

    • I'm still forming an opinion on Luhmann's wish for a junior partner with a lack of unruliness and a readiness for being guided.
      A wish for being inspired by Archimedes, Leibniz and Feynman wouldn't have been totally implausible.

  • Thank you for your thoughtful response. I'm not giving up on clarifying my understanding of the use of tools for thought. I think there is something useful here.

    @thomasteepe said:

    • With "tool notes", I meant notes that contain explicit and often generic thinking tools / problem solving tools, with examples like "make a drawing", "what are key questions in this situation?", "what is crucial here?" etc. Depending on your line of work there will be much more domain-specific tools, e.g. in mathematics "can you apply the Cauchy-Schwarz inequality?" or "can you construct useful invariants?".
      In my personal setup, I have a collection of basic tool notes on a corkboard directly visible from my desk. This one-glance solution helps to minimize the "costs" of accessing items in this tool repository - costs in terms of time and effort for a search for tools.

    • In particular, a tool note is not one that is generated by a tool, but one that contains a tool.

    I've been searching for an understanding of the physicality of a "tool" and now see that "tool" is a euphemism for a relevant stimulating question. A pointer for exploration and clarification.

    • Suppose you want to examine the interdependence of friendship and money. As two extremes on a spectrum, you can a) apply a "tool based" strategy, where you use tools from your tool collection, or you can b) use a "content based" strategy where you look for notes in your ZK about friendship and for notes about money and describe their connections - these are the notes I meant above by "content notes".

    I see a marriage between the "tool" and the "content". What would stimulate the "content note" other than a "tool note"? And where would the solutions to the "tool note" be found, if not in the "content note"?

    • I think there is real potential in adding mentoring and coaching tools to a tool collection - these tools can be completely domain-blind and generic, and they can still challenge you and help you to see your topic from a new perspective and stimulate new ideas.

    Yeah. Domain-blind and generic tools or guiding questions to stimulate ideas is an area of conversation that should be encouraged. I have gained a lot from watching questions bantered about by mathematicians and nutritionists here on the forums even though those are not what I'd consider generic domains.

    Some tools, like the Eisenhower Decision Principle are really a way of framing decision questions in a unique way that startles the mind and resets it for new and fresh action. Some tools are simpler and don't require fancy pants like "What are key questions in this situation?" and "What is crucial here?"

    This is one generic tool I use a lot and I find it helps with clarity.

    "What is the central/essential thing to remember?"

    This is the tool placed at the head of the template used for most of my zettel. It is then replaced with a first draft of the answer before it is removed from #proofing. This is something I adopted near zettel 200 and while I don't always follow through it guides my intention and I'm working at getting better.

    Will Simpson
    I'm a zettelnant.
    Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • I recall that @Will posted something about how walking generates ideas. It seems that if one then combined walking (with someone else) and talking to them, one could both generate ideas and clarify one's thinking about those ideas.

  • @GeoEng51
    A prominent example of the walk & talk method of idea development seems to be mathematician David Hilbert and his students at the university of Göttingen in the 1920s - then a world class center for mathematics and the budding field of quantum physics.
    My source is Georg von Wallwitz' book "Meine Herren, dies ist keine Badeanstalt".

  • edited September 10

    @thomasteepe said:
    @GeoEng51
    A prominent example of the walk & talk method of idea development seems to be mathematician David Hilbert and his students at the university of Göttingen in the 1920s - then a world class center for mathematics and the budding field of quantum physics.
    My source is Georg von Wallwitz' book "Meine Herren, dies ist keine Badeanstalt".

    Interesting. My wife and I discovered the "walk and talk" method when we had a house full of (5) teenagers, all with crazy challenges and problems. We were living in Victoria, Canada at the time and in the winter it often rains. We would take a large umbrella and go for long walks/talks to sort through various issues. It was both therapeutic and workable (in that we came up with ideas and approaches on which we could both agree and which often seemed to just work).

    Like many good concepts, we stumbled upon it by chance - likely the first walk being prompted by getting out of the house before one of the kids drove us mad or we ended up strangling them (no, we did not practice violence of any kind on any of our children :blush: ).

    My oldest daughter (now 44, with 5 kids of her own) commented that she often knew how serious a problem something was with one of her siblings (or how difficult it was to resolve) by how long we were gone. Little did she know sometimes we were just enjoying the time "alone". I've grown quite fond of walks in the rain.

  • @GeoEng51
    Another prominent example of the walk & talk method of idea development was Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman. The story goes they, while at Princeton, walked, talked, and laughed while working together on their monumental contribution to the psychology of judgment, decision-making, and behavioral economics.
    And another pair of thinkers known to walk and talk their way to ideas is Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard.

    Will Simpson
    I'm a zettelnant.
    Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • @Will

    • It was not my aim to use euphemisms for simple devices - I tried to use a general name for a general concept, and I came up with "tools" - certainly not a novel invention.
    • A tool is not in every case a relevant stimulating question - in fact, I would like to avoid any specification of what a tool is, as long as it can contribute to the solution of a problem or to the answering of a question.
      In this very broad sense, playing the violin in your breaks from work can be considered a tool for some people.

    • In my practice it is not the case that the application of one tool generates one note.
      I try to use tools in cumulation - I use a first tool and make the first few steps, then use a second tool and make the next steps, then a third tool and so on.

    • Here is another fairly realistic example, where I use the tool "What are the key questions in this situation?" several times, besides the "criticism" tool.

    • My topic is, ta-da, Writing for Insights. The title is in the box in the first column, first row - let's call this box 1A.
      I work down the boxes in column 1, then in column 2 etc. The last box 4D is for spontaneous side notes.
      In 1B I start with a collection of key questions, in 1C I examine the most interesting of them, in 1D I follow one idea from 1C, in 2A I collect another set of questions that seems crucial to me, and so on.

    • It's not difficult to name a dozen items in this sheet that could be improved, and in all my obsession over this method I am more interested in getting ideas for alternatives and improvements than in peddling a cure-all for any problem.

    • With a note sheet like this, it is certainly a good idea to write a summary, or to place the most relevant ideas on other, more systematic notes. But for me, The Space Where It Happens - namely the moment of insight, of generating a new idea, is on sheets like the one above.
    • To anyone who is unhappy with the tiny box capacity, the repetitive mind map layout, the lack of diagrams, the dominance of merely collecting a couple of ideas in each box - all these things can be adapted with ease, while still using the basic stable framework of flexible combinations of sheet layout + box content layout + thinking tools.
  • WOW! Thank you for your kind demonstration.

    I'm an amateur toolmaker, which might explain my difficulty getting my head around your use of "tool" in this sense. I get that tool is not limited to just an insightful probing question. It can be any mental or physical activity that fosters ideation. In Field Report #3 @sfast talks about using physical activities (tools) to help form habits that lead to ideation similar to your example of "playing the violin in your breaks from work."

    • In my practice, it is not the case that the application of one tool generates one note.

    My previous comments about one-tool-note/one-content-note were made as I was gradually constructing thoughts while writing. :smiley: Sorry for subjecting you to my thinking out loud. I'll go on continuing to gradually construct thoughts while writing. And I'm still sorry for subjecting you to my thinking out loud.

    Writing for Insights.

    Play by play, box by box, we get a feeling for your thinking as you peel apart each notion exposing it to the light of day, diving deeper—quite the inspiration. I'm making trying out this tool the sole item on the agenda for my weekly deep think retreat. In a few days, I'll share the results.

    • With a note sheet like this, it is certainly a good idea to write a summary or place the most relevant ideas on other, more systematic notes. But for me, The Space Where It Happens - namely the moment of insight of generating a new idea, is on sheets like the one above.

    The substrate of my zettelkasten is The Archive, so I'll create a note introducing the "It" in the "The Space Where It Happens" and a summary. I'll use paper with a 4X4 grid and make little mindmaps, imitating your example. I'll make a PDF of the paper and add it to the media directory with a link to The Archive's note.

    We'll see how this goes! I knew there was something here; I just had to keep digging. Thanks, @thomasteepe, for not giving up on me. I see that this is just one tool. There are more tools available, we just need more discovery.

    I can't help it... I'm not the sharpest tool in the toolbox. :blush:

    Will Simpson
    I'm a zettelnant.
    Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • I'm surprised that nobody seems to have mentioned the ancient Greeks in relation to "walk and talk": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peripatetic_school

    More generally, isn't all knowledge socially constructed? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_constructionism

  • The history section of the article in its current form starts like this:

    "The term peripatetic is a transliteration of the ancient Greek word περιπατητικός (peripatētikós), which means "of walking" or "given to walking about". The Peripatetic school, founded by Aristotle, was actually known simply as the Peripatos. Aristotle's school came to be so named because of the peripatoi ("walkways", some covered or with colonnades) of the Lyceum where the members met. The legend that the name came from Aristotle's alleged habit of walking while lecturing may have started with Hermippus of Smyrna."

    I made no attempt to further verify this - perhaps the information itself is, well, veripathetic.

  • @Will
    I cannot imagine a person that states "I am the sharpest tool in the toolbox", and every one of us is confronted daily with our limitations and shortcomings, and those who are not will have checked that they have chosen the right challenges in life for themselves.
    But to deal with the limitations of physical strength and cognitive strength alike, we can try to use contraptions - tools - like pulleys and levers and zettelkästen and sequences of thinking tools to compensate for a lack of mere strength by work and stamina.

  • @thomasteepe said:
    @Will
    But to deal with the limitations of physical strength and cognitive strength alike, we can try to use contraptions - tools - like pulleys and levers and zettelkästen and sequences of thinking tools to compensate for a lack of mere strength by work and stamina.

    I enjoyed the interplay in your discussion. Agree with the last point entirely. It may seem self-evident, but it seems to many it is not, and in any case, nicely stated.

  • Here it is! Play by play -- box by box.

    Thanks, @thomasteepe. I knew there was something useful here and I think I'm finally catching on.

    Critique is welcome. This is the first attempt but not the last. Creating this put me in the cognitive space of questioning what I know and its implications. I let my zettelkasten guide me. It exposed gaps in my understanding. In a way, this was like Feynman's "If you can’t explain something in simple terms, you don’t understand it." I had to explain how attention and distraction relate to the 4X4 Grid.

    I didn't push this process and it took three sessions. Maybe I'll get faster? Who knows?

    Will Simpson
    I'm a zettelnant.
    Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • edited September 21

    @thomasteepe and @will

    Thanks for these examples - incentive to try this out myself and not just appreciate your fine efforts. I like the method as a means of developing ideas and questioning your thoughts.

    I wanted to remind everyone that @thomasteepe provided a lengthy discussion of how he developed (learned to use?) this 4x4 mini-mind mapping technique (my term; apologies to Thomas) - it is worth perusing this material for insights:

    https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/comment/9978/#Comment_9978

    Post edited by GeoEng51 on
  • edited September 21

    While we at it, in this post, we might want to examine the role of rabbit holes, lateral thinking, Black Swans and serendipity in the generation and evolution of ideas :wink:

  • @Will - thank you so much for sharing this!
    The lovely double portrait of you and Zivon is the icing on the cake.

    • As you write, "critique is welcome" - if there are things that didn't work for you, if you have ideas for adaptations and improvements - I would be thrilled if you could share them.
    • You've used a 4x4 grid, as I did above. In my experiments, using a 3x3 grid had quite an impact - most mind maps changed from a map with one level of branches to a map with two levels. This in turn modified the entire dynamics of work.
      However, for me, 4x4 seems to be a better fit.
      (Remark: In a 3x3 grid, one can start in the middle box and retain some more of the mind map concept of "radial layouts".)

    • Since I started experimenting with these 4x4 layouts, I did many sheets in a more "analytical mode", focusing in particular on questions, and many sheets on idea generation with lots of stimuli in the center of the mini maps. I found it helpful to stay in the "idea generation mode" for an entire sheet - only doing one or two boxes was not enough for my brain to get into the right mood.

    • My experiments with the Feynman technique were in part based on the fiction of a "slide deck" - I write one "slide" in a box, a little outline plus the occasional picture, to explain my topic or my view on a problem to a skeptical audience.
  • @thomasteepe said:
    As you write, "critique is welcome" - if there are things that didn't work for you, if you have ideas for adaptations and improvements - I would be thrilled if you could share them.

    I drew a 3x3, thought about a 3x4 grid, before settling on a 4x4 grid. I thought I might not have enough energy to fill out 16 squares. In the end, it wasn't a problem working in the 4x4 grid. The only confounding thing was the size of each square. The 3x3 grid squares spaciousness is inviting, more room for drawing, more room for complete sentences, and the possibility of 6 or more responses to the central idea.

    I have a couple of ideas that overcome the size limitations. I have a couple of tablets in D-size paper (close to A1 size) and an easel. This would require standing at the easel and would require different dynamics than sitting. Or for more fun, each box could be on its own page with arrows connecting pages, laid out on the table or kitchen floor. The tool wouldn't have to be confined to a grid, it would grow organically. The "page" could be note cards, letter paper, or something bigger.

    (Remark: In a 3x3 grid, one can start in the middlebox and retain some more of the mind map concept of "radial layouts".)

    I liked the self-imposed constraint of starting with a key question, answering it in four parts, and choosing one of the answers as the central idea in the next box. It made sense to start in the first box in the first column after the title. The title could have come at the end. We might not be able to predict where the tool will take us and after the fact titling is a great habit to get into.

    Things that benefit for after the fact titling:

    1. Ideation Tools
    2. zettel
    3. Forum Posts
    4. Email
    5. Essay

    I found it helpful to stay in the "idea generation mode" for an entire sheet - only doing one or two boxes was not enough for my brain to get into the right mood.

    I know what you mean about the flow. I did mine in three sessions. The first session was a couple of OCD-filled hours just trying out different papers, drawing the grid, getting pens arranged.
    In the next two sessions, I create about half the drawing in each session. Each session took a little over an hour. I found this to be a leisurely pace.

    • My experiments with the Feynman technique were in part based on the fiction of a "slide deck" - I write one "slide" in a box, a little outline plus the occasional picture, to explain my topic or my view on a problem to a skeptical audience.

    Funny you should mention "a slide deck". A slide deck created by KeyNote or Impress or even PowerPoint can make a great ideation tool when used in the same vein as this one.

    I used KeyNote to make my drawing. :*

    Will Simpson
    I'm a zettelnant.
    Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • @thomasteepe @Will

    I am doing some experimenting, following your good examples above. One option for me is to use Miro, to which I have access through work (and which I've used extensively for mind maps). Using Miro to explore @thomasteepe 's method would maintain a lot of the same dynamics and advantages as using paper, without worrying about the one page size "limitation". I realize that being forced to work on one sheet of paper can be a good thing, but if you really need an extra box or column of boxes, it's easy enough to add them. Alternatively, if it made sense for a particular exercise, you could reduce the number of boxes and add more detail, as it's easy to zoom in and still see what you are doing. Miro gets rid of the space / paper size limitation without changing the other disciplines of the method. I'll give that a try and let you know how it works. However, I want to get some experience first with paper, so this may take a little while.

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