Zettelkasten Forum


Connection Discovery through the Stream of Thought

This discussion was created from comments split from: Call for "Critique my Zettel"-Notes.

Comments

  • Thanks, Sascha.

    Attached a file, which I agree is okay to share under creative commons.

    One of the problems for me is that I have a script that sets up headers based on the note type (here, "theory"; others include "bibliographic", "construct", "research program", "howto"), and I don't use the sections consistently. This note, for instance, has a section called "Why care?" which is empty, but the other sections answer the "why care" question.

    The "Incoming" and "outgoing" blocks are automatically generated by a script, an unholy mix of Sqlite3, Python, Alfred, and Keyboard Maestro that allows me to quickly add links, create notes, update the connection blocks, etc. update sections, etc. Your feedback may allow me to redo some things, even if that means touching all notes, since modification is fairly automated.

    I also have a huge number of relatively empty notes. Hell, I will admit, many are fully empty except for the title and note type, but they have much value nonetheless. The value comes from the incoming notes. My titles are usually quite specific and most of my notes organize my own thinking. When I need to expand a note, the title and the incoming links give me enough information to know how to fill it out. When I create a note, I sometimes add a dozen empty outgoing links, and a good set of structure notes allows me to add many incoming connections to empty notes. There is likely great value and fleshing out some of these notes, now rather than later. Maybe I just need to do a bit of addition routinely.

    Anyhow, if I am one of the chosen ones and you analyze this, thank you in advance.

    --Abhijit

  • Content

    • To me, it looks like a note that is not finished but as a note that is a canvas for an ongoing thinking process. This is the framework within which I read the note. However, that limits my ability to give feedback since the tolerance for informality is higher.
    • It might be because of the translation into English. So, keep in mind that I don't know the original wording:

      • "This is the hypothesis that recent thoughts set up a context such that with subsequent thoughts connections are discovered to prior thoughts." I'd prefer a more concise wording like and combine it with a question since this note is still in flux: "Are thoughts born out of previous thoughts?"
      • The formulation is consciously chosen. The question at hand seems to me two fold: First, are thoughts caused by previous thoughts? Second, how is the mechanism?
    • There are connectors of thought that hint to underdeveloped lines of thought like "If we press forth with the analogy...". What does it actually mean to press forward with an analogy? The first step of unfolding an analogy would be the mapping of one object onto another. (interesting book: mind and nature by Bateson, read it a long time ago) So, don't just state the analogy but actually make it.

    • I have the feeling that you are on the search of an underlying pattern that could be applied to various phenomena. So, I'd make that explicit. This would mean that you dip your toe into the metaphysical and then re-apply the pattern to the phenomena.
    • I'd refactor this note because there are many separate thoughts on it. The end result I'd have in mind would be
      • a clear description of the underlying pattern.
      • the hypotheses would be multiplied to one for each application of the pattern and serve as connectors.
      • Each application of the pattern would be on its own notes while the parent note gets a comprehensive link context.

    Title

    • The title is telling a lot about what you are trying on this note: It is about the mechanism. There are two possibilities:
      • You make the note about the mechanism pattern I spoke above.
      • You change the note and keep the title.
      • If you chose this possibility, my title recommendation would be "Connection are discovered by streams of thought". I, myself, have quite some note that read like yours but in the long run there will be many notes that have similar title pattern but have models, hypothesis, and definitions which reduces the unambiguity of the title

    Tags

    • It seems to me that you are using more functional tags (about the type of content, not the content itself). This is idiocyncratic.
    • If you'd use object tags, it would be very hard to find good ones since the topic at hand is complex and abstract. Mine would be:

    Links

    • I am not sure if a collection of all outgoing notes has benefits to it. They seem to me like links already placed void of the link context which enriches the links with value.
    • I really like the trick of using emphasis to highlight the specific link context.
    • My recommendation would be to develop the link context more.
      • Example: "More generally, the jurisdiction---over how keys are set up such that the systems ears are perked for certain aspects---lies with Priming [[20220406203815]]." This provides an association for your future self. But associations are already spontaneously created (part of the reason it given in your note.. :)). This link for example would say: "Hey, perhaps you can look into Priming and perhaps there is an interesting connection!" This is a task. I'd rather find already done tasks.
      • But "Equally importantly, the key has similarities to Frames [[20220323155607]] in that it is primed up to pick up meanings licensed by the frame, so that a recent mention of the word eating will prime for foods as well, perhaps making it a tad likelier that the word cricket is interpreted as food, and the connection to frames is of course that food is a frame element for eat." is awesome link context.

    Summary

    On the level of the method, the note is quite good. Developed link contexts, a concise title and separation of the claim (statements and variants) and the discussion. The note seems to contain an ongoing exploration, so the weakness I see is that the actual exploration (e.g. make in the analogy instead of stating it) is a bit underdeveloped.

    Comment on my comment: I had some difficulties with giving my feedback because there is a lot on this note and some messiness to it. However, this is the reality of the ZKM. There will be many notes like that which is fine. The ZK can take it. So, I tried to uncover the underlying stream of thought and what direction the note might take by exploring the nature of the note like one would speculate what tree would come out of a already sprouting seed.

    I am a Zettler

  • I missed to read your comment before I commented on the note itself...

    @amahabal said:
    One of the problems for me is that I have a script that sets up headers based on the note type (here, "theory"; others include "bibliographic", "construct", "research program", "howto"), and I don't use the sections consistently. This note, for instance, has a section called "Why care?" which is empty, but the other sections answer the "why care" question.

    This is fine. Just change it and whenever you stumble on an old note you clean it up. :)

    I also have a huge number of relatively empty notes. Hell, I will admit, many are fully empty except for the title and note type, but they have much value nonetheless. The value comes from the incoming notes.

    In that case, you are using the mechanism I used in buffer notes. My recommendation is to write at least one sentences on why you linked to the note.

    In the moment of association, you have fresh information which you will likely forget in the long run. Then you'll have a lot of links which you need to understand which will feel like a big burden. A sentence would increase the likelyhood of your future self being able to make sense of the link collection.

    My titles are usually quite specific and most of my notes organize my own thinking. When I need to expand a note, the title and the incoming links give me enough information to know how to fill it out. When I create a note, I sometimes add a dozen empty outgoing links, and a good set of structure notes allows me to add many incoming connections to empty notes. There is likely great value and fleshing out some of these notes, now rather than later. Maybe I just need to do a bit of addition routinely.

    Anyhow, if I am one of the chosen ones and you analyze this, thank you in advance.

    --Abhijit

    I am a Zettler

  • Thanks for the detailed comments!

    @sfast said:

    Content

    • To me, it looks like a note that is not finished but as a note that is a canvas for an ongoing thinking process. This is the framework within which I read the note. However, that limits my ability to give feedback since the tolerance for informality is higher.

    Yes, it is an ongoing note, and the thought will be developed much more in the coming days and months.

    • It might be because of the translation into English. So, keep in mind that I don't know the original wording:
      • "This is the hypothesis that recent thoughts set up a context such that with subsequent thoughts connections are discovered to prior thoughts." I'd prefer a more concise wording like and combine it with a question since this note is still in flux: "Are thoughts born out of previous thoughts?"
      • The formulation is consciously chosen. The question at hand seems to me two fold: First, are thoughts caused by previous thoughts? Second, how is the mechanism?

    Yes, the formulation is consciously chosen. I am not saying "A thought leads to other thoughts". I mean exactly that a prior though is a context which influences the effect of the current thought. For example, Alfred Noble was very worried. His friends and employees were dying because of nitro-glycerin explosions. That is a recent prior thought. When he dropped nitro-glycerin, he thought he was going to die, but no explosion occurred (current event). His recent thought combined with his current thought led to the discovery of dynamite. Both were necessary ingredients.

    You are right that there are questions to be asked AND written down.

    • There are connectors of thought that hint to underdeveloped lines of thought like "If we press forth with the analogy...". What does it actually mean to press forward with an analogy? The first step of unfolding an analogy would be the mapping of one object onto another. (interesting book: mind and nature by Bateson, read it a long time ago) So, don't just state the analogy but actually make it.

    That is a good point. This is a good example of the context in my mind instead of in the note, the same issue I pointed out in response to sjm's post on Feynman technique recently. I know perfectly well what that analogy is. It is a different note I did not connect. Six years from now I will not remember what analogy I meant. Incidentally, for completeness, that "key" is part of how Deep Learning models called Transformers work. Interesting that you bring up Gregory Bateson here: he is mixed in here, although the only thing I read of his is "A Theory of Play and Phantasy".

    • I have the feeling that you are on the search of an underlying pattern that could be applied to various phenomena. So, I'd make that explicit. This would mean that you dip your toe into the metaphysical and then re-apply the pattern to the phenomena.
    • I'd refactor this note because there are many separate thoughts on it. The end result I'd have in mind would be
      • a clear description of the underlying pattern.
      • the hypotheses would be multiplied to one for each application of the pattern and serve as connectors.
      • Each application of the pattern would be on its own notes while the parent note gets a comprehensive link context.

    Agreed.

    Title

    • The title is telling a lot about what you are trying on this note: It is about the mechanism. There are two possibilities:
      • You make the note about the mechanism pattern I spoke above.
      • You change the note and keep the title.
      • If you chose this possibility, my title recommendation would be "Connection are discovered by streams of thought". I, myself, have quite some note that read like yours but in the long run there will be many notes that have similar title pattern but have models, hypothesis, and definitions which reduces the unambiguity of the title

    I think I will change the note and keep the title.

    Tags

    • It seems to me that you are using more functional tags (about the type of content, not the content itself). This is idiocyncratic.

    These are about note types. Initially, I had KM macros set up where a keystroke would bring up suggestions for additional sections based on note type. Additional sections about a "theory" would be questions such as "Who supported these?", "Who opposed it?", "What variants of the statement are there?", etc, while for a note type "construct" --- any abstract category which is posited by some theory, such as "radial category" or "private speech"---the section suggestions were different, such as "who created that concept", "what role does it play", etc. This system got too complex and goes unused.

    Links

    • I am not sure if a collection of all outgoing notes has benefits to it. They seem to me like links already placed void of the link context which enriches the links with value.

    Yeah. Can be removed. They say the note type over and beyond what is above, but I can experiment with leaving it off.

    • I really like the trick of using emphasis to highlight the specific link context.
    • My recommendation would be to develop the link context more.
      • Example: "More generally, the jurisdiction---over how keys are set up such that the systems ears are perked for certain aspects---lies with Priming [[20220406203815]]." This provides an association for your future self. But associations are already spontaneously created (part of the reason it given in your note.. :)). This link for example would say: "Hey, perhaps you can look into Priming and perhaps there is an interesting connection!" This is a task. I'd rather find already done tasks.
      • But "Equally importantly, the key has similarities to Frames [[20220323155607]] in that it is primed up to pick up meanings licensed by the frame, so that a recent mention of the word eating will prime for foods as well, perhaps making it a tad likelier that the word cricket is interpreted as food, and the connection to frames is of course that food is a frame element for eat." is awesome link context.

    Summary

    On the level of the method, the note is quite good. Developed link contexts, a concise title and separation of the claim (statements and variants) and the discussion. The note seems to contain an ongoing exploration, so the weakness I see is that the actual exploration (e.g. make in the analogy instead of stating it) is a bit underdeveloped.

    Comment on my comment: I had some difficulties with giving my feedback because there is a lot on this note and some messiness to it. However, this is the reality of the ZKM. There will be many notes like that which is fine. The ZK can take it. So, I tried to uncover the underlying stream of thought and what direction the note might take by exploring the nature of the note like one would speculate what tree would come out of a already sprouting seed.

    Thanks so much again for the effort you put in here. Much appreciated.

    Regardless of what I said about "Effective Note taking", I am going to try writing more to-the-pointt headers and setting up notes' structure.

    Best,
    Abhijit

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