Tinderbox Forum

The Biggest Thing That Using Tinderbox Has Taught Me

The biggest thing that Tinderbox has taught me - by force more than by anything else - is to break down what I want to achieve into little tiny steps. It’s by no means an easy process, but it’s forcing me to think about how I think, which is good, I think. :blush: Thanks to @mwra for the philosophy @eastgate for the support @satikusala for the call yesterday @beck for the examples.


Thanks, and if it’s any consolation, that’s the same path I took.

FWIW, when exploring the new I try to look for what isn’t there. Put another way, I try avoid too much up-front structure before it is warranted. I also resist the urge to ‘tidy’ maps in the early stage as almost invariably by adding order it leaves less chance for the unseen to show through: IOW, “why is there a gap here?”, “why are there so few links to this note?”, etc.

I think it is our nature, or culturally taught that tidiness==good but it can be a false friend during an analytical phase of work. Of course, the latter is quite different from using the map to show fully formed structure to others—or our future self.

It’s partly why I’m also skeptical of the underpants gnomes approach to knowledge that runs through a lot of PKM tools: too much effort goes into following the process at the cost of thought about what one is doing.

†. In the South Park cartoon show, Kyle awakes to find gnomes stealing his underwear. Asked why, they reveal their killer business plan: collect all the underpants → unknown → success and riches. Without irony the ‘underpants gnomes business plan’ is apparently now covered in MBA courses (though I not sure whether in a positive or negative way :roll_eyes: ). Similarly, over-concentrating on the process of a zettelkasten rather than the content going into it: collect all teh factz → unknown → success and riches. I find there’s actually a little more thinking required; the fault, if any, is not the concept/process but how it is used. It also doesn’t mean that thoughtful folk don’t get real benefits from using digital zettelkästen.


It’s actually under-concentrating on the process of the zettelkasten. For me, before coming across this deep-thinking-provoking app that’s TBX (i.e. an app that provokes me to not only think but to think deeply) I used to under-concentrate on the process of the zettelkasten. I reduced it to collecting all my notes, tagging them and then hoping for the best. That’s underpants gnomes right there :sweat_smile: Today my mini-breakthrough happened when I sat down with pen and paper, listed my steps for brainstorming story concepts (1. Ask a question 2. List possible answers 3. Pick one or two promising ones 4. Give them attributes that relate them to various worldbuilding categories 5. Create the related notes 6. Put any notes that suggest scenes or beats on an adornment representing the 4 acts of the story 7. Review)… At step 4 I had to really think through what attributes I wanted to create and display and why…That for me was the first step towards the real and true concentrating on the process of zettelkasten (incidentally a process is defined as a series of steps needed to achieve a desired end.) Therefore your insistence @mwra on steps is actually an insistence on deeply exploring one’s process to it’s logical conclusion, without any elliptical thinking…Tbx forced me to do this. Other apps I’ve used in the past such as Obsidian or Scapple never forced me to do this. Some of us need to be pushed to think I’m afraid :sweat_smile: As Mortimer Adler said, “Thinking is the hardest work on the planet. That’s why it’s so unpopular.”


At step 4 I had to really think through what attributes I wanted to create and display and why… beats on an adornment representing the 4 acts of the story 7

Some time ago @ satikusala and me discussed this in more details … what kind of attributes, filters … are useful for story building


Reminds me of a discussion I had some years ago with a colleague about a project that had run into some serious challenges (paraphrased):

Me: so, what’s the plan?

Colleague: Well, action x, then y, then z etc.

Me: but this, and that thing, and this other thing. How are you going to get round all of that?

Colleague: well, then a miracle happens and then we complete the project.


Yes I checked it out. Great interview :ok_hand:t5:

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