16 Comments

Have you tried integrating this into Breadcrumbs plugin for Obsidian? It seems purpose-built for this system. I have been using MOC to organise Zettels, but this system seems more specific.

Expand full comment

Love the compass idea! I'm going to try it and let you know how it goes!

Expand full comment

Okay I love your compass! I've basically quadrupled my notes... can I talk about your method in my YouTube video? More people need to know about this!

Expand full comment
author

Omg 😱 that is amazing!!! Yes pls share, and I’d love to chat about your experience as well!

Expand full comment

Yay I'll link to this post as well so people can see your thought process :D will msg you on Twitter!

Expand full comment
Oct 6, 2022Liked by Fei-Ling Tseng

Thanks for noticing my comment. After watching your LYT workshop with Vicky Zhao and her YT videos, the compass of Zettelkasten became completely clear to me and it was obvious how to implement and use it. Now the multiple EASTs and WESTs make perfect sense. Thank you, once again, for this important contribution.

Expand full comment
author

yay i’m so glad! keep in mind that the compass is just one way of thinking about relationships and connections. I like the idea of always being on the hunt for the questions that bring the best out of you :)

Expand full comment
Oct 6, 2022Liked by Fei-Ling Tseng

So true. I am always on the hunt; your work was a great find. Be well.

Expand full comment
Oct 4, 2022Liked by Fei-Ling Tseng

Hello, I'm a Zettlekasten newbie. Regarding your Compass, I see North as the generalization from which X is existentially substantiated. For me, X is a declarative sentence that generalizes to "human rights fosters an individual's ability to function in society". The South question becomes - "How can I use X?" As an argument for subsidized housing, perhaps. West question e.g.- what other human rights foster an individual's ability to function in society? East questions e.g. - assuming X to be true, wouldn't the size of government have to be enlarged immensely to guarantee this right and who pays for it?

Cheers, Clay.

Expand full comment
Jun 5, 2022Liked by Fei-Ling Tseng

This is so beneficial and really makes the concept of a Zettelkasten accessible to the general public - without a doubt. Except for one thing. There are a couple of points in the example above where it looks like There are multiple EASTs or an EAST: of a WEST: and it is hard to know if I have the graph mapped out correctly. I would really appreciate seeing the graphical version of the text example above. Perhaps it can be posted on this page or emailed: stan.dunn@gmail.com. Many thanks for your contribution to the community.

Expand full comment

The idea of Zettelkasten resonated with me when I first heard about it in Ahren's book. But it's not easy to implement! I think that's why I liked Roam Research when I first heard of it. I liked the linkability of it. I'll try your compass!

Expand full comment

Yay the idea is birthed!

Expand full comment
author

And it broke substack formatting!! lol

Expand full comment

Are Ideas compass and Permanent note relative ?

Expand full comment

An interesting framing you've got here, the idea compass looks a lot like Project Zero's Compass Points, a routine for examining propositions from at least 2015: https://pz.harvard.edu/resources/compass-points

Project Zero has a huge repository of interesting tools and frameworks along these lines which folks may find useful as well: https://pz.harvard.edu/thinking-routines

Those who use The Brain as their tool of choice will notice that some of their data views have a sort of directional semantic meaning as well. Watching Jerry Michalski's use of it (see https://www.jerrysbrain.com/) may make this more explicit. Once you've watched a few of his videos to see what he's doing it, his collection of notes and connections makes a lot more sense. Of course, making this sort of thinking a specific regular/recurring practice is what helps most of all. It doesn't hurt that The Brain makes it incredibly easy to link things together from a user interface perspective.

A lot of this framing is also reminiscent of the 6th century idea of *Lectio Divina* as well as the Llullan memory wheels (which introduced some combinatorial chance into the process as well) and meditation practiced by Raymundus Llull as described by Frances Yates' book The Art of Memory.

Expand full comment

Hi Fei,

I heard from your Compass of Zettelkasten Thinking through the video of Vicky Zhao and put my own little twist on it. (not sure if links are ok in the comments section, so: On Zettelkasten dot de)

Perhaps, you can use some of my thoughts on your tool.

Live long and prosper

Sascha

Expand full comment