Zettelkasten Forum


Working on this week (July 12 to 19)

One thread I've been working on today (and expect to during this week) is writing some ideas on knowledge development - not as a theoretical concept but as a practical process. This is not an area that I have studied, in contrast to many on this site, so don't expect deep insights at the moment.

Let me start with a quote from Arthur C. Clarke (note that I can find this attributed to him all over the place on the internet but haven't yet identified the actual source):

Before you become too entranced with gorgeous gadgets and mesmerizing video displays, let me remind you that information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not foresight. Each grows out of the other, and we need them all.

It's a great quote for our day, generally, but it also is consistent with some ideas that have been running through my mind. These are rudimentary at the moment, but this is the list on which I am working. I am thinking about the process of learning, gaining knowledge, becoming wise, etc. I think there are a number of processes that partially overlap but are mostly progressive:

  • Learning
  • Knowledge
  • Understanding
  • Wisdom
  • Foresight

Hopefully, I can make some progress this week at least on what I understand of these concepts.

Let me also say that I believe one of the values of developing a Zettelkasten is to help us progress from one level to another in the above list.

Comments

  • Still chugging away on my experimental forum zettelkasten and the @henrikenggaard post about complexity of zettelkasten inspired me to start the creation of a simple zettelkasten guide (my guide seems to be growing in complexity :neutral: ) that tries to steer towards the more practical side of explaining my interpretation of the zettelkasten.

  • I'm on vacation at the beach. Spent today reworking my baby Zettelkasten (130 notes), creating UID's for everything and getting away from the dreaded fogelzettel. 🤦‍♂️

  • edited July 2020

    Well said! That's a great quote.


    This week, I'll be finishing up a few fixes for The Archive that I wanted to release last Saturday already, but of well, that's how it goes sometimes.

    In terms of knowledge work, most notes in the past days revolve around team organization and modularity of code, in the vein of Gerald Weinberg's research and Conway's Law:

    Any organization that designs a system (defined broadly) will produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization's communication structure.
    --- Melvin E. Conway

    One Zettel that stands out is a note I added with all the addresses of places I lived in the past, because:

    @ethanschoonover (on Twitter):
    Keep a list of all the places you live in a doc. Full address & postal code.

    Because one day you will do something on a website that will use that data to confirm your identity and you'd better remember that zip code from 20 years ago.

    Can recommend :)

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

  • The most likely source of the quote (which seems to have been slightly "enhanced" for effect) is:

    Gunawardene, Nalaka, 2003, ‘Humanity Will Survive Information Deluge – Sir Arthur C Clarke’. OneWorld South Asia. 5 December 2003. https://web.archive.org/web/20040108043754/http://southasia.oneworld.net/article/view/74591/1/.

    There is a discussion starting around half-way down of gadgets mesmerising decision-makers, but it is the interviewer using the terms, thus:

    Q: "Isn’t there a danger that technological tools can mesmerise decision-makers into believing that gadgets can fix all problems?"

    ACC: "Indeed. ICTs should be part of a wider solution that needs to be applied with care and caution. Information and communications technologies should be part of the solution, and not the only solution."

    Then a couple of paragraphs later:

    "But it is vital to remember that information – in the sense of raw data – is not knowledge; that knowledge is not wisdom; and that wisdom is not foresight. But information is the first essential step to all of these."

  • @drjvoros said:

    "But it is vital to remember that information – in the sense of raw data – is not knowledge; that knowledge is not wisdom; and that wisdom is not foresight. But information is the first essential step to all of these."

    Thanks for suggesting a source for that quote; I’ve been looking for it for a while. That’s the problem with Google - you can find a million copies of some phrase, but sometimes the context or background seems almost impossible to find.

  • @GeoEng51 said:

    Thanks for suggesting a source for that quote; I’ve been looking for it for a while. That’s the problem with Google - you can find a million copies of some phrase, but sometimes the context or background seems almost impossible to find.

    It seems to have really started to pick up a few years ago when it was the epigraph at the start of the 2018 documentary (funnily enough, about Google and Facebook) The Creepy Line.

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