Creating a second brain

Sometimes, a nerdy obsession proves to be more important than you realized.

When I was in college, I attempted a crazy experiment where I attempted to document every thought I had that was more interesting than “I have to pee.” I did this by handthrough a notebook system. I’d capture the thought then try to connect it to another thought on various subject maps.

I was able to keep it up for about 3 months before it started to affect my sanity. So I scrapped the project.

Even though the system didn’t work, I did learn a lot about myself and the nature of creative thinking. I had WAY more ideas than I realized. And every one of those ideas had potential to grow or connect into something else.

If only I could direct them in a productive way…

I’ve tried various workflows since, but nothing has come close to the Zettlekasten system.

“Zettlekasten” is a German word which, loosely translated, means “slip box.” The system was invented by German sociologist Niklas Luhmann, a prolific writer and prominent thinker in systems theory. He managed to write more than 70 books and almost 400 scholarly articles in his life, so his knowledge management system was certainly productive.

The problem of knowledge processing is becoming increasingly important in our age. Say you’re browsing Twitter at work. You come across an article that ties into a goal you’re pursuing or something your researching. But you don’t have time to read it when you find it.

What do you do with the article?

How do you make sure you come back to it?

What do you do with the insights?

How do you make sure what you learned gets translated into value?

How do you manage your exposure to the limitless opportunities and insights available to you in the digital age?

The greatest challenge of the 21st century is managing abundance. Not only do you need self-control to avoid wasting your life on mindless entertainment, you also need a system to manage the nuggets of wisdom you find and turn it into something valuable.

As the Proverbs says,

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.

The internet has enabled all of us to become kings. There are many secrets buried out there in the vast ocean of noise.

The pursuit of wisdom is the noblest pursuit in life.

And the Zettlekasten is a system that facilitates that noble search.

For a good introduction to implementing a Zettlekasten with digital tools, read this article.

And keep searching! There are many treasures yet to be discovered.

~ JT

P.S.

In other news…

The manosphere has now broken through to the mainstream. This is thanks to Alexander Cortes’ tweet that went viral, was vehemently attacked by feminists, and subsequently covered in most of the major news outlets.

Cortes is the perfect guy to bring the red pill to the mainstream because his face directly contradicts the stereotype of the angry incel nerd typing anonymous hate posts from his mother’s basement.

Feminists see his face and are secretly mesmerized by his beauty, yet cannot process what he’s saying. So they keep talking about it and spreading the word. In the end though, what gets promoted is this:

For a hilarious example of cognitive dissonance and white knighting, watch this clip from Fox 29 news.

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