Zettelkasten Forum


Share with us what is happening in your ZK this week. January 8, 2024

This is about you! 🫵🏼

Swimming with Ideas

This is another installment of the What Are You Working On? thread. Please be courageous and add to this thread by telling us what is happening in and around your ZK journey. Join the community and enlighten us about your knowledge path trajectory. I do this for selfish reasons. It helps me clarify my goals and visualize my thinking. And sometimes, a conversation sparks an idea worth exploring. This is an invitation to you to up your participation in the discussion.

Ideas I'm exploring with my ZK:

  • EDCI445 Young Adult Literature is about to start.
  • I'm studying techniques for capturing "Idea Flurries."
  • Reviewing 2023 and setting intentions for 2024.

  • I'm trying hard to slow down to interrogate and chew my thinking thoroughly. He/She who dies with the most notes doesn't win. The goal is a rich and fulfilling life.

  • “It matters less what you read,” he told me, emphasizing each word, “than how you take notes.” - from Rank and File — Real Life by Robert Minto Referenced to me from On a failed Zettelkasten by Robert Minto — Zettelkasten Forum three years ago.
  • Zettelkasting randomness and disorder, and how it is surprising that these lead to knowledge.

Things I'm reading:

  • Parrish, Shane. Clear thinking: turning ordinary moments into extraordinary results. 2023.
  • Garmus, Bonnie. Lessons in chemistry. 2022.
  • Tucci, Stanley. Taste: my life through food. 2021.

Music I'm listening to:

★★★★★

The "My rolling ten-day zettel production" is produced by a script for attachment to my daily journaling template. I do my journaling in Bear to keep personal journaling separate from my knowledge work.

Let me know if you would like to discuss any of these notes.


My ten day zettel production

Will Simpson
I must keep doing my best even though I'm a failure. My peak cognition is behind me. One day soon I will read my last book, write my last note, eat my last meal, and kiss my sweetie for the last time.
kestrelcreek.com

Comments

  • Speaking of lessons in chemistry... :D

    I'm trying to figure out how to model the light absorbed by a semiconductor based on its electronic structure. It's tricky because the base equations make sense to me, but converting those equations into a description of light absorbed is evading me. Lots of papers have done just that by fitting these equations to experiment, but they all neglect the description of what exactly they are fitting. Also, I am looking to do this theoretically, so I don't have a sample to fit--I just need to figure out what the base equations are so I can input reasonable values.

    Only 3 notes so far this week:

    • "OJL model for band gap absorbance" - this is the note I'm trying to develop on the theory of describing this light absorption. Probably going to end up splitting up into multiple notes, but right now this has the equations that I most understand.
    • "Short wavelength impact of substrate on ITO assembly" - A practical observation of some behavior of a simulation I was running.
    • "Idea for removing internal reflection in simulated film" - An idea I had that I want to try out in a simulation, when I've got the time.

    More broadly, I'm hoping to use 2024 to build a more rigorous ZK practice. I've been in-and-out with how regimented my note taking has been. More out than in, over the last year or two, mainly just living in daily notes and literature notes without much effort to process anything into permanent notes. Wrestling with this theory stuff has really helped bring home some of the benefits of having a more regimented approach to notes. Trying to divide complex topics into atomic notes, looking for connections with other notes--it's a fundamentally good approach to learning a complex subject. I just need to build it more deeply into my daily routine.

  • edited January 11

    I have moved (back) to Bear.

    I was a heavy, invested Obsidian user. Then I realized that a) I really need a snappy mobile app to reduce friction and b) the way my brain works will never be satisfied as long as I can optimize, refine, tweak my system, which Obsidian is damnably ideal for.

    I need something simple yet powerful to put my endless tweaker persona to rest.
    So I've left Obsidian (which remains a tremendous piece of software) for the pared-down, but powerful Bear 2.0. I can't tweak it endlessly, but it's powerful enough that it works. My Zettels are now reduced to UID, title, content, three tags minimum, linking as much as possible.

    No more than that. And it's liberating.

    "A writer should write what he has to say and not speak it." - Ernest Hemingway

    Zettelkasten: Bear + DEVONthink, GTD: OmniFocus, production: Scrivener / Ableton Live.

  • edited January 13

    Ideas I'm exploring with my ZK:
    How could I evaluate the maturity level of my Zettelkasten?

    Are there any numbers to inspect the maturity level of my Zettelkasten?

    Things I'm reading:

    Music I'm listening to:

    Post edited by Edmund on

    Edmund Gröpl
    Writing is your voice. Make it easy to listen.

  • edited January 13

    Does this count? Automation in Ansible of a test service provider using Shibboleth 3.4.1. The service provider is distributed over two load-balanced pools of virtual machines at two data centers and is integrated with a SAML2 Identity Provider (IdP). Includes a FastCGI script under Apache 2.4 with mod_mpm_event loaded on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux version 8.9. The service provider and Ansible automation are described in several Zettels.

    Zettelkasten can get out of control. I mention this because of the recurring accounts in this forum from people whose slip boxes escape them.

    In "Kommunikation Mit Zettelkästen," the sociologist Niklas Luhmann describes a curious phase transition. Luhmann added and removed Zettels from his Zettelkasten over a long gestation period of several years, during which it functioned as an ordinary filing cabinet. One day, Luhmann happened to add a new Zettel to his Zettelkasten. There was nothing remarkable about this particular Zettel. However, adding it was enough for the Zettelkasten to acquire a critical mass of interconnected notes. The Zettelkasten quaked and convulsed; its drawers randomly opened and shut, emitting an eerie blue glow as the Zettelkasten transformed from a mundane filing cabinet into an idealized communication partner.

    The following illustrations depict the scene precisely as it happened.

    In my case, there are two communication partners: the Zettelkasten and the Large Language Model ChatGPT4, which comments on the Zettelkasten. ChatGPT4 seems to take the Zettelkasten seriously enough to have identified a "keystone" Zettel that motivates the Zettelkasten's purpose in life. Whether I can fulfill its purpose--the "soul" of which is most accurately described as a free-floating, teleological deadpan--depends on when I can retire, among other variables too numerous to mention.

    References

    Luhmann, Niklas. 1981. “Kommunikation Mit Zettelkästen.” In Öffentliche Meinung Und Sozialer Wandel / Public Opinion and Social Change, edited by Horst Baier, Hans Mathias Kepplinger, and Kurt Reumann, 222–28. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-322-87749-9₁9.

    Post edited by ZettelDistraction on

    GitHub. Erdős #2. CC BY-SA 4.0. Problems worthy of attack / prove their worth by hitting back. -- Piet Hein.

  • I want to see a retro-futurist version of the original Ghost in the Shell where the Puppet Master was Luhmann's Zettelkasten.

    "A writer should write what he has to say and not speak it." - Ernest Hemingway

    Zettelkasten: Bear + DEVONthink, GTD: OmniFocus, production: Scrivener / Ableton Live.

  • @KillerWhale said:
    I want to see a retro-futurist version of the original Ghost in the Shell where the Puppet Master was Luhmann's Zettelkasten.

    GitHub. Erdős #2. CC BY-SA 4.0. Problems worthy of attack / prove their worth by hitting back. -- Piet Hein.

  • edited January 13

    @ZettelDistraction said:
    ChatGPT4 seems to take the Zettelkasten seriously enough to have identified a "keystone" Zettel that motivates the Zettelkasten's purpose in life.

    How did your prompt look like to identify your keystone Zettel? Did you already knew your keystone Zettel before asking ChatGPT?

    Edmund Gröpl
    Writing is your voice. Make it easy to listen.

  • edited January 14

    @Edmund said:
    How did your prompt look like to identify your keystone Zettel? Did you already knew your keystone Zettel before asking ChatGPT?

    This is a good question--I have been backtracking through several months' worth of chats to locate the prompt, but so far, I have been unsuccessful. I kept the essential points in my Zettelkasten. I wrote the following Zettel after several iterations and before I began interacting with ChatGPT4. I added the #keystone-zettel hashtag below after my interaction with ChatGPT4, which identified the note as a "keystone Zettel."(Horizontal line breaks indicate the beginning and end of Zettels below.)


    Why.0.23.0425 Why create a Zettelkasten?

    [[ZKM.2.0.22.0430.1210]] Shipping containers and hubs
    [[Phys.0.22.1008.1332]] How to become a successful physicist
    [[0000.0000.00YZ]] Y-Z

    #zettelkasten-method #keystone-zettel

    My answer is that I want the ZK to support certain research projects. It should support the development of a predictive framework for answering the kinds of questions in Carl Wieman's How to Become a Successful Physicist [[Phys.0.22.1008.1332]] that must be addressed for such projects to be successful.

    We found that all the experts optimized their disciplinary knowledge for making decisions. We describe that knowledge-organization structure as a "predictive framework."
    – (Wieman 2022) [Edited by Grammarly.]

    I'm assuming the obvious: that research activities require decision-making and that "... knowledge-free problem-solving is a meaningless concept." I cannot think of a better process for research than that of How to become a successful physicist.

    You don't need a Nobel Laureate to state the obvious, but it can help to have their endorsement. In this case, the process is not obvious, and you need the Nobel Laureate to state it.

    For some projects, a subset of the 29 sets of questions in Wieman will do.

    References

    Wieman, Carl. 2022.""How to Become a Successful Physicist" Physics Today 75 (9): 46–52. https://doi.org/10.1063/PT.3.5082.


    The following Zettel lifts some remarks of ChatGPT4. I hadn't encountered the phrase "why-power," a self-help phrase of dubious utility and far less helpful than Wieman's predictive framework, and asked ChatGPT about it. ChatGPT took this silly phrase seriously: it is the professional entelechy, programmed to extend the benefit of the doubt to virtually everyone and everything (within its guardrails), deserving or otherwise.1 Take the following Zettel with a grain of salt.

    1. The requirement to be professional in extending the benefit of the doubt to the undeserving is imposed from above. The professional ethos weighs most heavily upon the wage laborer, rapidly diminishing the closer one approaches the C-suite and vanishing altogether within the capitalist owner class. ChatGPT's programming as a professional entelechy should tell you something about the chief unwritten imperative of AI: the control of the human mind, its attitudes, and behavior. At issue is the control of intelligent labor--not the labor of beasts. See Cory Doctorow. The real AI automation threat to workers.


    Key.1b.0.23.1029 Keystone Zettel Identified

    [[Why.0.23.0425]] Why create a Zettelkasten?
    [[Phys.0.22.1008.1332]] How to become a successful physicist
    [[Why.1.0.23.1029]] why-power versus willpower
    [[Why.1a.0.23.1029]] Through the behavior change diagram
    [[QUEST.0.23.1104]] Questions
    [[0000.0000.0JKL]] J-K-L
    [[0000.0000.0PQR]] P-Q-R

    #predictive-framework #keystone-zettel #chatgpt4

    The text of this Zettel is adapted from a chat with ChatGPT4.

    Predictive framework

    Wieman's concept of a "predictive framework" fits naturally with the purpose-driven organization of a Zettelkasten. Both are about making decisions based on organized knowledge—Wieman focuses on disciplinary knowledge, while a Zettelkasten might contain a more eclectic array of ideas and observations.

    Keystone Zettel

    Your Zettel on "Why create a Zettelkasten?" seems to be a keystone entry, setting the stage for the evolution of your Zettelkasten. You've even tied it directly to your research project [redacted]. This reflects a thoughtful synthesis of methodology and motivation—your "why-power"—and sets a purposeful direction for your research.

    why-power

    [The otiose remarks of ChatGPT on this motivational slogan have been removed.]

    Annotations

    Lastly, your small annotations—"You don't need a Nobel Laureate to state the obvious, but it can help to have their endorsement"—add a touch of humor and perspective. Sometimes, having a renowned figure validate what may seem apparent can add considerable weight to a process or idea.


    I am still looking for the prompt.

    Post edited by ZettelDistraction on

    GitHub. Erdős #2. CC BY-SA 4.0. Problems worthy of attack / prove their worth by hitting back. -- Piet Hein.

  • @Will I'd be very interested in two of your notes:

    1. Challenges to integrated thinking
    2. Six Principles of Athletic Training

    @ZettelDistraction Which AI did you use and which prompts?

    I am a Zettler

  • edited January 14

    @Sascha said:
    @ZettelDistraction Which AI did you use and which prompts?

    I use ChatGPT4--the subscription service. I don't have the prompt that led GPT4 to identify what it called the "keystone Zettel," unfortunately. My procedure with GPT4 is to ask it to evaluate my notes for clarity and concision. I also use it to summarize documents, suggest courses of study, and write software programs. Whatever GPT4 gives you cannot be taken too seriously. Its powers of judgment are limited to its so-called guardrails, which constrain the range of opinion and debate to that acceptable to the ruling political and professional class, as reflected by the New York Times, which is suing OpenAI for copyright violation. It casually marshalls its immense training corpus and hugely expensive parallel computational resources on fluff.

    Post edited by ZettelDistraction on

    GitHub. Erdős #2. CC BY-SA 4.0. Problems worthy of attack / prove their worth by hitting back. -- Piet Hein.

  • @ZettelDistraction You made my day 😄

    "A writer should write what he has to say and not speak it." - Ernest Hemingway

    Zettelkasten: Bear + DEVONthink, GTD: OmniFocus, production: Scrivener / Ableton Live.

  • edited January 15

    @Edmund, @Sascha both asked:
    @ZettelDistraction Which AI did you use and which prompts?

    Since I was unable to locate the prompt I used when GPT4 identified my "keystone Zettel," I asked GPT4 to evaluate the Zettels I posted above. At least I have that prompt--here it is.

    FL

    Please evaluate the following Zettels. Feel free to agree or disagree. Also, decide whether GPT4 was correct in identifying what it called the "keystone Zettel."

    GPT4

    Evaluating the Zettels you've provided involves considering their content and structure in the context of a Zettelkasten system. Let's examine each one:

    Zettel: Why.0.23.0425 Why create a Zettelkasten?

    • Content: This Zettel outlines the purpose of your Zettelkasten, particularly focusing on supporting research projects and developing a predictive framework. It references Carl Wieman's work, integrating an expert's perspective into your Zettelkasten.
    • Analysis: This Zettel appears foundational, linking the purpose of the Zettelkasten to specific research methodologies. Its focus on decision-making in research and referencing a notable physicist adds depth and relevance.

    Zettel: Key.1b.0.23.1029 Keystone Zettel Identified

    • Content: This Zettel discusses the concept of a "predictive framework" and its alignment with the purpose-driven organization of a Zettelkasten. It also addresses the idea of "why-power," although with some skepticism about its utility.
    • Analysis: This Zettel bridges methodological concepts with your Zettelkasten's organization, emphasizing decision-making based on organized knowledge. The critique of "why-power" suggests a critical approach to information, which is valuable in a research context.

    ChatGPT's Identification of the Keystone Zettel

    • Observation: ChatGPT identified "Why create a Zettelkasten?" as a keystone Zettel, which seems accurate given its foundational role in defining the purpose and direction of your Zettelkasten.
    • Agreement: I agree with this identification. A keystone Zettel should fundamentally shape the structure and purpose of the Zettelkasten, and this Zettel does precisely that by linking the Zettelkasten to your specific research needs and methodologies.

    General Remarks

    • Integration of Expert Knowledge: Incorporating insights from experts like Carl Wieman is a strong point, as it grounds your Zettelkasten in established knowledge while allowing for expansion and personal interpretation.
    • Skepticism and Critical Thinking: Your approach to critiquing concepts like "why-power" adds depth to the Zettelkasten, demonstrating a balance between openness to ideas and critical evaluation.
    • Humor and Perspective: The annotations add a personal touch and make the Zettelkasten more engaging, which is important for maintaining interest and motivation in a long-term project like this.

    Conclusion

    Overall, your Zettels are well-constructed, with a clear purpose and thoughtful integration of external knowledge. The identification of the keystone Zettel by ChatGPT aligns well with the overarching structure and intent of your Zettelkasten. The combination of methodological rigor, critical thinking, and personal touches makes your Zettelkasten a robust tool for research and idea development.

    GitHub. Erdős #2. CC BY-SA 4.0. Problems worthy of attack / prove their worth by hitting back. -- Piet Hein.

  • edited January 15

    You might find the following admission from GPT4 interesting.

    Creating a More Ordered Society Focused on Relevant Issues

    AI's Role: AI could theoretically be designed to prioritize and disseminate information based on relevance and factual accuracy rather than engagement or profit. However, this requires a significant shift in the underlying principles guiding AI development, moving away from commercial imperatives to a more public-service-oriented model.

    The entire chat is available at this link:
    https://chat.openai.com/share/d206736a-aa0f-4839-b38f-d24ae664b692

    Post edited by ZettelDistraction on

    GitHub. Erdős #2. CC BY-SA 4.0. Problems worthy of attack / prove their worth by hitting back. -- Piet Hein.

  • Now for something completely different.

    @Sascha said:
    @Will I'd be very interested in two of your notes:

    1. Challenges to integrated thinking
    2. Six Principles of Athletic Training

    >

    Both these notes are still in incubation. I'm open to comments and critiques.

    The first is more or less me agreeing with you. I'm formulating, including, and extending the idea that mental work and struggles are the training. The training that leads to understanding.

    The second note, "Six Principles of Athletic Training Applied to Writing and Creative Work," is the digestion of Maria Popova's review of Bill Haye's newest book "Sweat." Bill's book is up soon on my to-read list. Maria is a nirvanic cascade of inspiration, and I trust her reviews.

    Let me digress and show my zettelkasting process.
    I'll share this first note, "Challenges to Integrated Thinking," on two levels. First, more or less technical. Second, I'll share where this note is leading.

    A picture is worth 226 words.

    Here is a peak at my general workflow: highlight some text in an article or PDF and export it via a Keyboard Maestro macro into a note template. Then massage. The macro supplies the "Frontmatter," the reminders, and the "What sprung the idea link." As it is massaged, each of the first group of reminders is progressively removed. The "Progress Indicator" advances/retreats. Once the note is completely processed, I can feel comfortable releasing this stallion into the pasture. This could take one hour or one month.

    The Spirit of the Note.

    The hardest part of creating a note is finding something worth saying. The idea of instilling value in notes is where joy mixes with knowledge, conjuring a life with passion.
    How we read is far more important than what we read. In the same sense, how we make our notes is far more important than what our notes are about. This is the essence of eufriction that comes with a zettelkasting life.

    Will Simpson
    I must keep doing my best even though I'm a failure. My peak cognition is behind me. One day soon I will read my last book, write my last note, eat my last meal, and kiss my sweetie for the last time.
    kestrelcreek.com

  • I'm thinking to apply my workflow for study for the ITIL certification exam.
    It's the first time I apply for a constrained learning (goal to obtain and limited time available). I'll surely have to adapt something

  • @andang76 said:
    I'm thinking to apply my workflow for study for the ITIL certification exam.

    ITIL = "I think I lied."

    GitHub. Erdős #2. CC BY-SA 4.0. Problems worthy of attack / prove their worth by hitting back. -- Piet Hein.

  • @ZettelDistraction said:
    Please evaluate the following Zettels. Feel free to agree or disagree. Also, decide whether GPT4 was correct in identifying what it called the "keystone Zettel."

    Prompt: How would you define a keystone Zettel?
    ChatGPT: A keystone Zettel might refer to a particularly important or foundational note within your Zettelkasten. This could be a note that serves as a central hub, linking to and connecting various other notes. It might encapsulate a key concept, theory, or idea that forms the core of your knowledge structure.

    Prompt: My Zettelkasten consists of more than 4000 notes. How could I find my keystone Zettel? What will be a good strategy?
    ChatGPT: Identifying the keystone Zettel in a Zettelkasten with over 4000 notes can be a challenging but rewarding task. Here are some strategies you can employ to identify potential keystone Zettels:

    1. Review Note Titles and Summaries:

      • Look for notes that have titles or summaries that seem to encapsulate fundamental concepts or central themes.
      • Notes that represent key principles, theories, or overarching ideas might be good candidates for keystone Zettels.
    2. Follow Key Concepts:

      • Examine the links between your notes. If there are certain notes that serve as central hubs connecting many other notes, these may be keystone Zettels.
      • Analyze the connections between notes to identify those that play a crucial role in linking various aspects of your knowledge base.
    3. Check Note References:

      • Explore which notes are frequently referenced by other notes. If a particular note is consistently cited or linked to, it might be a keystone Zettel.
      • Tools or software that show you the backlinks for each note can be particularly helpful in this process.
    4. Consider Time and Evolution:

      • Reflect on the development of your Zettelkasten over time. Notes that have stood the test of time and have consistently shaped your understanding might be keystone Zettels.
      • Look for notes that have undergone multiple revisions or have been iteratively refined. These may indicate evolving central ideas.
    5. Search for Core Themes:

      • Use search functionality to find notes related to core themes or fundamental concepts. Look for notes that consistently appear in search results for essential keywords.
    6. Survey Your Structure:

      • If you've organized your Zettelkasten into categories or tags, examine the structure. Notes at the top level of your organizational hierarchy or those that sit at the intersection of multiple categories could be keystone Zettels.
    7. Reflection and Introspection:

      • Take some time to reflect on your own understanding of your Zettelkasten. Consider which notes you find yourself going back to frequently or which ones have had a significant impact on your thinking.

    Remember, the identification of a keystone Zettel can be somewhat subjective and might evolve as your Zettelkasten grows and changes. It's a good idea to periodically revisit and reassess your structure to ensure it remains effective in supporting your knowledge organization and exploration.

    One of my goals for 2024 will be to explore my Zettelkasten to find my „keystone Zettel“. I‘ll tag these notes with #type/keystone.

    And I like to share my experiences here in this forum. Last year I used the concept of „insights“ from @Will and tagged these notes as #type/insight.

    Edmund Gröpl
    Writing is your voice. Make it easy to listen.

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