I really liked this essay a lot, especially how it shows the importance and necessity of creativity in such a rigorous field like mathematics for being able to explore and potentially end up wrong. This sprung up many thoughts:
Advice I had heard from Jacob Lagerros, "If you're not embarrassed by what you ship, you ship too late."
The etymology of the words experiment, experience, and finally expert all are based on the root "-per", meaning "to try, to dare, to risk".
Tip: work so fast you don't have time to self-censor:
Quote from another Paul Graham essay "How to Think for Yourself", "To be a successful scientist, for example, it's not enough just to be correct. Your ideas have to be both correct and novel."
Personal advice on doing projects: Instead of waiting for the perfect opportunity, find a good one, do good and optimize from there (if you're in the state of not being established and aren't sure what to do). (This advice may be wrong, not certain.)
When writing a more important email I can't draft the response in the email response, I have to write it out in my notes. I type out the shitty, low quality ideas and then am able to see most importantly 1. the full idea, and 2. exactly what it is that doesn't work. If it's not being observed though, I stay with writer's block.
A note on the EA / Rat culture that I've been a part of; I've seen people move into this community and if they say something that's possibly not true / even moderately disagreeable, people will quip back some sort of "That's not true:" and dominate the conversation for a while. The intention is to update, but I see people instead stop adding to the conversation out of fear of being wrong and chastised.
I like this twitter thread that aims in a similar direction of this post, and exploring one's own thoughts
Maybe a more palatable piece of advice comes from "Sailling True North" by James Stavridis mentions "Creativity and innovation can be paralyzed by fear of failure."
Link for the curious http://www.paulgraham.com/greatwork.html
I've heard this comment as, "if you're not paying for the product, you are the product."
I've read this book and tried to read it again as I thought I was missing something, but my impression of the book is that it's somewhat sloppy, a bit preachy of ZK being a cure-all, makes much more complicated a very simple system to the point of obfuscating the main point.
To my understanding, all the Zettlekasten is is having notes with:1. individual names (if you look for one name, one note comes up), 2. creating links between associated ideas (if you think, "wow, this reminds me of..." you may forget that connection later, so you link them), and 3. having indexes to point you to good starting points when you develop strings of thoughts / notes.
The indexes are the most complicated part. It's just that you don't file notes under a single folder (as it separates from the ideas that aren't related, but also the ones that are) so instead you semantically connect ideas on an object level basis. In order to get a general sense of the full thought you developed ("when I was researching about x, what were the main conclusions I came to?") you can look at these indexes for a nice directory of your past thoughts.
Appreciate the reply, thank you!
I think I've done similar explorations as you've mentioned and have been curious to develop a framework of how to go about this more generally; specifically I get lost in your first example's preservation of structure (I think this is shallow vs. deep dives, could be wrong about the terminology.)
To my understanding, the overall objective is "to get a feel for what is out there." After running through it a couple times, I think I see a general pattern of...
The only difference with the 1st example (capital assets) is that this iterated a bit; top 100 companies had 50% of the NFA --> annual reports of companies --> showing their capital assets (this is the completion of "getting it in front of you", now you can start "getting a feel.")
Is this correct or am I way off? This CIG seems like it'd be helpful for what I imagine your sequence "Gears which turn the world" would've used as far as research methods go. Either way, this seems super exciting, thanks for the post!
Thanks for posting this! I'd also tag to the idea of the "Illusion of Transparency" that it may seem like common knowledge of how to be a part of online communities but has been fairly foreign to me. It's nice to get explicit steps/suggestions such as this.
On posting related ideas, I see this as incredibly helpful as has been noted by the "zettlekasten" method and being able to develop a highly connected network of knowledge. It's really cool to think of a network growing in the direction of ideas and people by this sort of act.