Notes Should Serve a Purpose

  • instead of becoming a purpose in itself
  • this feels related to:
    • trying to solve something, by only thinking about that thing, instead of gathering related material, prior art, etc...
    • trying to come up with ideas by thinking harder
    • building a todo-system instead of focusing on making projects, and noticing what is needed to build that system
    • even more generally, trying to build a tool, instead of doing the actual thing, and realising that a tool is missing

My goal is: "I want to produce novel, powerful ideas." A computer-supported thinking system is helpful insofar as it supports that. But it's hard to evaluate those systems empirically because such ideas are rare. People who blog about note-taking systems don't produce them.

Seymour Papert used to say "You can't think about thinking without thinking about thinking about something". In other words, it will really help to have important issues and ideas, and things to learn about that require much better thinking. Then, the many things that are known about thinking, how poorly we are generally at it, and what we've learned about doing it better, can be brought to bear.

— Alan Kay -

  • thinking about this makes sense, if it improves some other thing - notes should serve a purpose after all
    • coincidentally thinking about thinking, without having something to think of is impossible
Szymon Kaliski © 2021