Organising everything I know
Lately, I have been getting really into writing and organising notes. Everything I ever write is done in the brilliant note-making app Obsidian.
For a long time, I was using it as basically a super slick text-editor.
It pegs itself as being a lot more than that.
"A second brain, for you, forever."
This is on the frontmatter of their website.
In between our ears is a collection of 86 billion neurons, all interconnected with one another. There is a tremendous about of knowledge encoded in our brains, we can access much of it in an instant when needed. This surely has to do with how our brain is structured; each neuron can be connected with up to ten thousand others and how these are linked together is more important than the neurons themselves.
Can we take the hyper connected structure of our brains as inspiration to structure our notes? Should we?
With obsidian you can. Personal Knowledge Management is what it's called. Building a high accessible database of everything you know.
I am in the process of building such a database, a "second brain" if you will. A collection of atomic notes that are linked to each other and tagged in a way to make them extremely quick to access later. By atomic I mean, that each note encapsulates just one idea. It is super specific.
Every note will contain:
- An explanation of the idea
- The status of the document complete/incomplete/ongoing
- A list of tags to categorise it. Eg; #obsidian #notemaking #organisation
- A list of URLs of references and relevant resources, I won't forget useful links like this again
- A list of links to other relevant links -
This will allow me to:
- Keep everything I deem worth remembering in a safe place that I can always easily access
- Keep tabs on everything I'm doing
- Bootstrap the creative process by helping me discover links between different things I'm interested in
You could say I'm making a personal Wikipedia of everything I deem worth knowing.
I've been learning about Japanese. I've also been learning about learning about Japanese. I've also been learning about learning in general.
This is an experiment in self-directed learning.
In the foreground, I am guessing as to what the best activity is to engage in next, how can I become a little closer to fluency?
In the background, I am watching myself learn and trying to see how much of this is applicable elsewhere: How do we learn best?
Rather than following a set course or curriculum, I want to be learning-by-doing and following the fun. I want to learn by attempting to use the language, getting stuck and having the process reveal what I need to know next.
Knowing why I am learning a specific part of the language like verb conjugation and understanding what specifically I'll be able to do with it makes the process less forced, arbitrary and dull. It becomes engaging, and is less of a ritual and more of an active process. Doing everything in a set order and not knowing why you are doing it is a recipe for boredom, and I believe more often than not failure.
I have been thinking a lot about learning and what are the best ways to do it, and testing my ideas here by putting them to the test in my learning.
This was a short description of what I'm doing.
If you are interested in reading the full how and why of my language learning adventures, check out my 2020 letter Learning and Language
I'm running a group that meets once a week to discuss philosophy, science, culture, where the world is headed and all manner of interesting things.
The general ethos of conversation culture, is that we believe we can solve problems together and make progress by exchanging words. We don't take it for granted that we'll never change the other person's mind, while being open to the fact that we ourselves could be wrong.
While I'm not earning a profit on my passion projects, I need to make a living another way. At the moment I'm spending a portion of my time as a freelancing writer and web developer.
At the moment, I am working for Silicon Jungle helping them build Speed Run Academy, a website dedicated to teaching the art of speedrunning as well as serving as a hub for the speedrunning community. I am both doing copy-writing and web development work for them.
If you have any projects you believe I'd be interested in and would like to hire me, please contact me here.