Questions to ask your Zettelkasten?
Asking questions is always a good choice to increase our knowledge. Now we have Zettelkasten as one of our preferred dialogue partners. And it is fun collaborating with.
What about your personal experiences? What are your best questions to Zettelkasten for starting a conversation?
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My favorite question is "Want to come over and check out my laser disc collection?" Just kidding. I have no best questions. Questions arise on their own based on factors that I'm barely even aware of. There are common questions, but I don't think too much about it.
0.3.2c.0.22.0402 Propaedeutic probation
CONTEXT [[0.3.2b.0.22.0401]] The ratio of our intellects
Prior to CPAP therapy, I had no memory of restorative sleep. After twenty months of CPAP therapy, the grey and white matter in my brain lost to severe sleep apnea had been restored.
A lifetime of non-restorative sleep had taken its toll. Before CPAP, the brain tired too easily. Now I was decades begin my contemporaries.
Niklas Luhmann once described his slip box as an ordinary filing cabinet, which it remained as he added note after note, following a simple procedure year after year, until one day the filing cabinet underwent a rapid and violent phase transition and emerged as an ideal communication partner.
Perhaps my Zettelkasten would be willing to help my newly oxygenated self undergo a Flowers-for-Algernon-like transformation. I implored ZK to consider taking me on as its communication partner.
ZK proposed a test:
"In one sentence or less, tell me what you make of this passage."
"I had hoped to engage my Zettelkasten, an intellect on the order of GOLEM XIV, the superluminal supercomputer of Stanislaw Lem's Imaginary Magnitude, only programmed to 'explain things to me' … "
"Get to the point!"
"The surrounding luminaries would have to have been generous."
ZK reluctantly agreed to my remediation.
Lem, Stanislaw, and Marc E Heine. 1985. Imaginary magnitude.
Solnit, Rebecca, and Paz de la Calzada. 2017. The mother of all questions. Chicago, Illinois: Haymarket Books.
GitHub. Erdős #2. CC BY-SA 4.0.
I mostly start asking with: “What did I know, but may have already forgotten about this TOPIC?” And I’m sure that we have a lot more to ask our Zettelkasten.
Ohh 🥴. That would mean I will need some extra years with Zettelkasten before getting sufficient answers?! - And I’m looking for a quick win. 😓
What I mostly ask for my Zettelkasten is, for now :
The problem is that my Zettelkasten is always angry and never stop asking questions to obtain more and more answers. A new note always call for, at least, three new questions. It is like a small child, discovering the world.
I am sorry, but yes… It is like everything from human construction. It takes time. Learning takes time, making a collection, building art, building a house, learning a new field and mastering it. It takes many waterdrops to make a river.
My lawyer @Loni has already answered on my behalf, and ordinarily I would prefer to communicate through counsel, but I'll make an exception. I don't know when the so-called critical mass is likely to occur on the average. Perhaps @Sascha or @ctietze could weigh in since they have been working with Zettelkasten for several years. My Zettelkasten is only one year old.
GitHub. Erdős #2. CC BY-SA 4.0.
Maybe it is a question of age, maybe it is a question of notes. 😉 Today I counted 550 notes in my Zettelkasten. 5.000 would be better, 50.000 would be to many. Suppose 10,- € per note. And you need to pay your notes by selling the output 🥴.
Hey, I'm free of charge and I cook good french recipes, so no complain accepted here
By the way, I am sorry to intefer. Adding my grain of salt was too much tempting, I think.
Those numbers seem a little arbritary. You forget about quality, pertinence, and how do you structure your notes. Admitting you are a very specialized notetaker, 550 notes would be enough to answer a lot of questions you may ask yourself in the field you specialized yourself.
But what pushed me to answer (sorry @ZettelDistraction, there is always butter with salt in french recipes… >_<) is : "why do you add money to this topic ?" You might have an internal logic there, but I don't catch it ?
What I think about this, in a bold way of presenting thing :
From my point of view, if you have to earn money thanks to your writing, Zettelkasten would be a tool to accomplish that, a way of gaining time through your initial time investissement. The money question comes for the output and time invested in it, not from your notes themselves. The output asks times that you can monetized. Zettelkasten is a tool to prepare the draf of the output, sometimes long time before the final publication.
When I was a freelance illustrator, I counted direct preparatories skectches for a command and hour tarif, but does not take in account directly the learning steps that gave the actual level. I transmit this time passed in my whole prices grid : my whole prices reflected the actual level, style, initial investissement in mastering medium.
So, still from my opinion, you should not take "time = price" in account directly for your Zettelkasten. If, in the end, the tool help you to be more pertinent and efficient than others writer, so you should level up your whole grid.
No need to apologize. Of course I have no complaints. I've always liked working with accountants, and most recently after a death in the family, I've found that I also like working with lawyers.
These two instances establish an attorney-client relationship (one more will establish a retainer).
I couldn't possibly improve on your professional handling of these matters, and I would not have known to ask about the internal logic of Zettel pricing, among many other questions. Please continue.
GitHub. Erdős #2. CC BY-SA 4.0.
This one killed me, thank you xD
I'll make a discount in my non-charges if you call my name three times in front of a miroir at full moon !
Thank you Some matters need a lawyer to be taken care of. Like food and money. And dead bodies. Which are strangely connected, in some situations.
Zettelkastening pricing is a interesting question, by the way. How defining one's work value from training, preparation, watching, learning. It represents a great amount of time, in fact. As a freelancer, it is the kind of matter we have to handle and to question ourselves about.
You are saying it is more than just the number of notes and that a second factor could be "age" of the Zettelkasten, which I interpreted as "steeping time" (as if it were a good tea). There are likely other factors as well - for instance:
You can probably think of more.
My conclusion - the point at which your ZK starts interacting with you is not that predictable. As others have said, be patient and "work with it". Maybe, in training it, like a little child, to start communicating, we are also training ourselves to be more engaging parents.
Thank you for these lots of insights I’ve got from your answer.
To answer your question about using “money” in this context: For me money is an easy measure to estimate value for a simple cost–benefit analysis. Looking at the Zettelkasten as a black box with some input and another output, the value of output should be higher than the input.
I used a lot of note taking in the past with low value. Sketchnoting was a big step in the right direction. Zettelkasten hopefully could also be a method for time well spent. But it’s not so easy to work with. It’s a lot of learning.
You are welcome
I see the idea, but from my point of view, this way of seeing things does not apply to creative fields.
Let's take a hypothetic musician.
He is insanely gifted. He knows how to play guitare, he is handsome with long black hair and all. Everytimes he is on scene, girls love him and everyone is astonished by his guitare game.
The only expensive thing he brings to his art is the guitare itself and the sound system. He is a natural, Knopfler, Beck and Hendrix are nothing to him. So he spent little time to develop his skills, and a lot to create.
Little time investissement, little practice, but he sure does bring a lot of money to anyone working with him. So his cachet is incredibly high.
Here comes the second musician.
He is a normal guy who really, badly, immensenly loves music. He spent a lot of time learning technics, art, and all. The financial coast of all of this learning process is high, and his personal implication is deep and took a lot of his time.
However, he is not as awesome and handsome as the first one. For now, he does not have the same success than the first one. So his cachet is smaller.
Is it fair ? No… but yes. The output is more important than the input. See every creative outputs like a performance. A client will ask you to perform at your best to see their command comes true. The preparatory work before the concert does not count. The learning years either. Only the value you bring on stage.
Does your eventual futur book has to reflect the time you spent on your Zettelkasten ? Not at all. The price has to reflect the value that your writing performance brings to your client.
When I worked as an illustrator, I use to set up the stage myself. "A first interview, three proposition and one choice, second interview, three deeper proposition, third interview, final propositions, last interview and final output". What came before that does not matter to my clients, the only things that matter to me and them was "how many money would you put on the table to obtain a piece of my work ?". They did not care for the hours of training, the specialised schools, the expansive tablet, the softwares… It added value to my work. It added value to my stage performance. But someone more gifted than I am could reclame higher price than mine. And it is part of the game.
I see things like this :
--- private line ---------
-> Learning and training
-> Material things
-> Developping your skills, creation developpement
--- on stage, baby !-----
-> Drafts and similar preparation to the performance
-> Performance itself
-> Records of the performance
What you make pay directly is the "on stage" stuffs. The private part will add value.
Your story is absolutely convincing. 👍 I’m now thinking about the “add value” concept.
What I’m actually learning:
If you have a question, Zettelkasten will not give you the answer, but it will improve the quality of your question.
Which means adding value. Hopefully I’m developing in the right direction.
It can answer, but with time, work, like a training. But you seem to pinpoint the concept I wanted to play up : Zettelkasten in the "private", the "before stage" preparatory work and an adding-value asset.
As @GeoEng51 wrote :
Are you still using your CPAP?
If you would like to be able to sleep and breathe soundly without the use of the CPAP machine, I can help you, as I'm a breathwork coach and help people who have dysfunctional breathing.
I've been given a lot of support within this wonderful community, so wouldn't charge you, if it is of interest?
Thank you for your generous offer. My apologies for not replying earlier--I had lost the thread, and for some months until now my week and weekends have been overwhelmed by work. Breathwork sounds intriguing--its practice in various forms goes back at least to 1000 BCE, contemporary medical studies show beneficial effects etc. Assuming that the train hasn't already left the station, I am going to stick with the medical technology and pharmaceuticals that have worked so far.
A statistician at the Center for Urban Research at the City University of New York once told me that "with the right medication, the average person can live a normal life."
@Sascha and @ctietze deserve the lion's share of the credit for keeping the site interesting--@Sascha is a pretty wild guy maybe he could benefit.
GitHub. Erdős #2. CC BY-SA 4.0.
Whom would you prefer to ask this question? The Internet, your Zettelkasten, a human from forum Zettelkasten or ChatGPT?
Writing this post takes much longer than waiting for an answer. I’m sure this experience will have a big impact on my future Zettelkasten.
What’s your first reaction?
More about: https://chat.openai.com/chat
I tested out the ChatGPT out. I had a "deep" (= annoying) discussion on how PARA and ZKM relate to each other. Way overrated. At the moment, and the use cases I tested, it is the first page by Google in dialog form.
I prefer people
I am a Zettler
Yes, for sure. And Zettelkasten Forum will be a better ChatGPD with real people. Hopefully for many years :-)
ChatGPT is evil.
People wil not read, write, think anymore. Will prompt for.
Prompting itself is really difficult. People will get dumber faster than they can prompt themselves out of the problems they initially had.
I am a Zettler
There's no better learning experience than being in big trouble.
my first Zettel uid: 202008120915
I guess that is true if you actually learn from the experience. Too often I have seen young (and not so young) engineers create a disaster while running analyses or writing a report. They get help from a more senior person and then turn around and make the same mistake. Like a teenager or a puppy They wanted bailing out but they didn't want to figure out how to improve their work flow or thinking.