Zettelkasten Forum


Is 'therefore' a seperate card?

I'm trialling a digitized version of my small physical ZK, and I'm running into a small issue with what constitutes a seperate note.

Most of my notes are MUCH smaller than other's, sometimes I can fit the entirety of the idea into the title. So I'm wondering if instead of focusing on reducing the idea I should be adding more of the 'therefores' onto the notes?

For example, I have the following notes, which were titles only in the paper version but I have expanded on slightly in the digital.

The patient's art is only understood through therapy, (Naimberg 1953)

Art seeks reaction, (artlust, 2024)

Art can only truly be understood in relationship

To me, the third one is the 'therefore' of the first two. This is particulary obvious in the digital version where I expand slightly on 'art seeks reaction', because reaction can only happen in relationship. Initially I thought these are three seperate ideas, but now I'm not so sure.

Should I combine the second two notes?

Comments

  • edited June 24

    Interesting reasoning.

    The title "Art seeks reaction, it can only truly be understood in relationship" resonates in me, so in my note system I could consider to take this note.

    There could be other concepts that have "art seeks reaction" as premise, so "art seeks reaction" note could become a little container note that links all the notes with this premise, rather that disappear.

    I have some notes in this form, their advantage is that when you make a link using them as title you bring into the context of link more meaning than having only one of the two parts.
    In my case the key for the choice is how effective are the two alternatives when I compose the notes with others or when I make links.

    Other times I use aliases, anyway, adapting (lengthening or even shortening) the title for the context In which I use link

    Post edited by andang76 on
  • Thank you for your response, I appreciate it

    It sounds like you are using linking notes the same way I was, but deeper. I enjoy keeping the pathway of the thought by having it exist outside of its parents, in a way.

    That is good advice about adapting titles for linking.

  • edited July 6

    @hiragi said:
    Should I combine the second two notes?

    I'd say no. All your arguments are subject to criticism. Keeping them separate will make this process easier.

    Post edited by emps on
  • Premise: The core problem that I see with such short notes is that they are captures of statements.

    Example: "Art seeks reaction"

    There is no reliability of this statement provided (arguments, evidence), there is no elaboration of relevance, there is no utility provided. These are three examples of value-giving aspects of knowledge.

    So, this note is not giving you reliable, relevant knowledge that has utility. You need to create these values within the re-engagement with this note, or this note is not providing you with anything.

    So, this note doesn't contain knowledge, but uses a statement that you extracted from a source or by which you felt inspired to make it to create a prompt.

    Prompts are part of the arsenal of creative techniques. This is why such notes still provide creative value. But the resulting Zettelkasten is not a tool for knowledge processing.

    This is where I am coming from. If you want to use your Zettelkasten as a creative tool that activates you to write and gives you some reminders for beats to hit when you write, then the above is not a problem.

    If you want to use your Zettelkasten to process knowledge, you need to reconsider what the basic building block of knowledge is. This older article (Reading is Searching still is up-to-date: I never needed to modify the inventory of the six knowledge building blocks. (spoiler: I am slowly working on something which working title is "Applied Ontology and Systems Theory" which gives you a much more detailed look into knowledge building blocks)

    Regarding the original topic, based on the premise: The building block you are searching is an argument. The first two statement are premises, the third will be the conclusion. This is an atom, as in "principle of atomicity". So, yes: All three statements should be on one note and the note's idea will be a specific argument.

    Take a look at the classical syllogisms which provide almost everything that you need to build a solid foundation for that: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syllogism

    So, the answer to your question is not so much based on the formalities of the Zettelkasten Method, but rather on the nature of knowledge itself. These are the core questions you need to answer:

    1. What is the purpose of my Zettelkasten?
    2. If knowledge processing is the purpose: Do I want to follow the principle of atomicity?
    3. If I follow the principle of atomicity: What is an atom (or: a unit of knowledge)?

    I provided my answers (at least: ruminations) to these questions. These answers are then the axioms from which you'd deduce the answer to your question.

    I am a Zettler

  • @Sascha said:
    If you want to use your Zettelkasten as a creative tool that activates you to write and gives you some reminders for beats to hit when you write, then the above is not a problem.

    If you want to use your Zettelkasten to process knowledge, you need to reconsider what the basic building block of knowledge is.

    This distinction between using a Zettelkasten as a 'creative tool' and 'processing knowledge' is clear and useful. The two modes don't seem mutually exclusive; the zettelnaut mindset is not static, wavering back and forth, vacillating between spontaneity and a drive to dive deeply into an idea. When capturing a new idea, its purpose might not be clear right away. Letting it sit and evolve will help reveal how best to develop it.

    Thinking about thinking is our thing. Despite your grumpy demeanor, your insights are valuable, and we appreciate them.

    What is the basic building block of knowledge?

    Will Simpson
    My zettelkasten is for my ideas, not the ideas of others. I will try to remember this. 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

  • The two modes don't seem mutually exclusive;

    For sure, they aren't. But if you do diligent knowledge processing, the creative activation is also available. The other way arround isn't true.

    What is the basic building block of knowledge?

    My answer to this question is my inventory of knowledge building blocks: https://zettelkasten.de/posts/reading-is-searching/ :)

    I am a Zettler

  • @hiragi said:
    . . .
    The patient's art is only understood through therapy, (Naimberg 1953)

    Art seeks reaction, (artlust, 2024)

    Art can only truly be understood in relationship

    To me, the third one is the 'therefore' of the first two. This is particulary obvious in the digital version where I expand slightly on 'art seeks reaction', because reaction can only happen in relationship. Initially I thought these are three seperate ideas, but now I'm not so sure.

    Should I combine the second two notes?

    The purpose of my system is to clarify my thinking.

    As I try to understand your thinking, I find that I must alter your statements to produce a sound argument.

    Premise 1: Art seeks reaction (artlust, 2024).
    Premise 2: Anything that seeks reaction can only be understood in relationship (hiragi).
    Conclusion: Art can only be understood in relationship.

    How this is structured in a Zettelkasten is a matter of personal preference. But sound reasoning is not.

    I would have the conclusion be the title of my note. And the premises would be in the body of the note.

    If this were a serious project for me, I might link to a different note that had Premise 1 as its title and conclusion. And its body might have premises that support it. And those premises might . . .

    If we insist on thinking in terms of atomicity, we must recognize that statements join categories:

    that which is art
    that which seeks reaction
    that which can only be understood in relationship

    I can only test the argument for soundness by uncovering the network of categories.

    When I tried to do that with your statements I discovered that one of them was superfluous, namely:

    The patient's art is only understood through therapy, (Naimberg 1953)

    This statement might be worthy of further inquiry, but it wasn't helping me understand how you concluded what you did.

    By doing this exercise, you might discover that you have other implicit assumptions that you need to make explicit. That's when the fun starts.

  • My father was an artist. He would make statements such as, "Art is undefinable." He made a few remarks, then drifted off--nothing that would satisfy an academician or a rogue scholar determined to reach the epistemic frontier. Such assertions, seemingly hanging in the air without some supporting disciplinary Wissenschaft, dense argumentation, and page after page of bibliographic references within an exhaustive literature review, serve another purpose for the artist: motivation. Does every mantra cry out for a literature review? That's one excuse to postpone a meditation practice. I don't doubt that it would be helpful for some—entire domains of human activity rely on unsupportable ideas, lies (where would an authoritarian government or advertising be without them?), and falsehoods, such as free will.

    Motivation is a non-epistemic end. As was pointed out, a Zettelkasten can serve epistemic and non-epistemic ends, some good, some neutral, and some evil.

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

  • edited July 11

    Reading the answers after the mine, I agree to the points raised. They are relevant points.
    "Art seeks reaction, it can only truly be understood in relationship"
    Is not atomic in the strict sense, it's composed of two parts that can be developed on their own, and can evolve on their own.

    But I'm still convinced that the note "Art seeks reaction, it can only truly be understood in relationship" can be useful as a composite if I need to use the composition of the two concepts together in a context. When they forms a whole.
    I think that a viable solution is having three notes, two atoms and a... molecule:

    • Art seeks reaction
    • Art can only truly be understood in relationship
    • Art can only truly be understood in relationship because seeks reation

    Just a clarification, I would not write in the third note the union of the contents of the first two, I simply put the links of the first two. Like a very small structure note of two notes, and a little description maybe.

    I'd like to know If I'm the only one that use the model of "molecular notes", added to atomic notes.

    This example is not particularly successful and can be misleading, because in this case the molecule is simply the concatenation of titles of the atoms, and maybe because the example is not a perfect model of reality (there can be other premises, and other consequences).
    But in other cases the molecule idea can have a more effective title, that can be more expressive in a linking context than the two atomic titles close together.
    Tomorrow I'll try to develop a more suitable example :-)

    How rigorous should we be adopting the principles of atomicity and formal logic? In my personal case I prefer to derogate, sometimes, to obtain simplicity and expressive capacity.
    I know perfectly well that in my case I can afford it, I'm not a researcher or academic, I have a pragmatic use of my system, while others need to be much more rigorous in their work.

    Post edited by andang76 on
  • Thank you all so much!

    There is lots of good information and thinking here, so I will take the time to digest it fully. I just wanted to acknowledge your work here and thank you for helping me.

  • OK, I gave it another shot. I'm struggling to fit it all on one note, though that could well be my handwriting.

    Is all art triangular?

    Naimberg (1953) argues that the art produced by a patient-artist can only be understood through the triangular relationship-as-process that is art therapy i.e art object > patient > therapist >. Artlust (2024) argues that all presented art demands a reaction, a statement which implies a relationship. This relationship is conventionally defined within the art world as audience = art, often removing the artist's intent and background in order to center the audience's 'raw' experience as more important, sometimes singularly relevant. Artlust implies that the artist always has an intent in producing, and presenting, the artwork, which would therefore create a similar triangular relationship to the one in art therapy, where all three (object>artist>audience) would be equal players in creating understanding and meaning.

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