# Almost aphoristic definitions/descriptions of the Zettelkasten and the Method

The purpose of a ZK is to take someone else's story and make it your own, while sourcing where your story came from. source

Any other you are aware of?

I am a Zettler

• edited March 13

Not nearly as concise as yours, @sfast. But these come from a quick search in The Archive of zettel meaning. Why are you asking? Of anyone, I'd think you'd be in touch with the operational definition and description of the ZKM. I am a member of the unwashed masses. What could I say that would matter?

★ Notes are elaborated on through writing and explaining their meaning to a third party, not the author, not the self but an educated other. Elaboration leads to joining notes in new and varied contexts. This joining or categorization asks, "What does this note mean?" "Where does this note fit?"

★ Make your notes fragments of ideas, atomize the ideas so the parts/atoms/fragments will be drawn to, and interconnect with seemingly unrelated ideas. Make your notes proxies for ideas, for our interactions with knowledge. When making notes encapsulate in your words the ideas encountered. Figuratively talking back to the author helps to see the gaps in your understanding.

★ You must engage with your ideas in a meaningful way. Your ongoing interaction is the key to success. It's not the note that cries out for interaction but the ideas it presents.

★ "When setting out to generate new ideas, we should begin with only the most general plan or goal; early on in the process, vagueness and ambiguity are more generative than explicitness or definition. Think of the task not in linear terms—tracing a direct line from point A to point B—but rather as a cycle: think, draw, look, rethink, redraw. Likewise, don't envision the mind telling the pencil what to do; instead, allow a conversation to develop between eye and hand, the action of one informing the other. Finally, we ought to postpone judgment as long as possible, such that this give-and-take between perception and action can proceed without becoming inhibited by preconceived notions or by critical self-doubt." [@paul:2021, 228]

Post edited by Will on

Will Simpson
“Read Poetry, Listen to Good Music, and Get Exercise”
kestrelcreek.com

• @sfast said:

The purpose of a ZK is to take someone else's story and make it your own, while sourcing where your story came from. source

Any other you are aware of?

Well, there is the purpose of capturing your own story either for publishing (personal history) or in a manner that others can browse in a non-linear manner ("digital garden", I think is the popular term).

Granted of course that some (a lot?) of what is in a personal story comes from elsewhere. When you are aware of that, you can still source the material. But a lot of it comes from personal experiences and what we have learned from them.

And there is the interesting material in between personal experience and the writings of "strangers", i.e., what is garnered from family culture and the experiences of your forbears, run through your own filters.

Did I understand your question correctly?