Konubinix' opinionated web of thoughts

Zettelkasten Teaches Humility and Nuance


Often, I feel like I understand something. When I try to put this in my zettelkasten, I find out that it was mostly intuitions and easy to grasp stories, but little consolidated knowledge.

Using a zettelkasten then teaches me humility and incentives me to have good reasons to believe.

It helps me realize that often I had a belief using only one source of knowledge. There is nothing wrong with having few supporting sources, but it is important to me to realize this and evaluate appropriately the strength of my reason to believe (bayesian thinking).

For instance, I truly believed that Paul Grice said that “words have meaning, but people also convey meaning when they use words”. But failing to find a proper source of it led me to re-evaluate this statement from “quite sure he said that” to “may be he said that”.

Because I use my zettelkasten to put everything that has my attention, I end up with up zettelkasten full of junk notes. This, to me, mimics quite well how my brain constructs knowledge, by generative memory of a bunch of junk thoughts that eventually gives nice stories that sound well but eventually are not that robust. It’s like I can see my cognitive biases (like the confirmation bias) in my zettelkasten, but from the outside (system 2, critical thinking) and decide what I keep, what I remove, what I consolidate.