Trees & Nets

When I think back to my time in school, I can see, where the base of my kind of learning was laid, or maybe was already existent and just emerged. When I had to learn e.g. the stages of a culture in history, or the continents in geography, it always started with the number. Before I could start to get those cultural stages, I counted their number and remembered "FOUR" and then I started to read and learn each of the four stages. When I had to reproduce them for a test, I always remembered first, that the correct answer should have four parts, and tried to get them back out of my head.

During the years this knowledge became bigger and bigger. I learned that the world had 7 continents, with one being Europe that had 29(?) countries at that time, one of them being Germany, which had 11 subdivision with more subdivisions, you get the point. My whole body of knowledge is represented in my head in a hierarchical structure.

Well there may be exemptions to this rule, but if any new facts strike me in a way where they can be represented as a hierarchy I can remember them more easily, and they become usable knowledge to me. Maybe that's a reason why courses like social sciences, or arts where hard work for me. My usual strategy for these was to listen to the other pupils just before the test, to get most of the question/answer game in to my short time brain, to survive a 45 minutes test. It worked okayish.

Docking & random knowledge

I think a common used relation between facts and information is, that facts become information, when they can be docked at already available information in the brain, and as soon as connections between facts show up, I start to see two different types of people. Those like me, who think in hierarchies, and have trees of information in their head, and those whose knowledge looks like a net of information, without any further structure.

Both types have the pros and cons

For a tree-mind it may be easier to remember facts by just putting it in a kind of orphaned subtree, but it may become hard to generate new knowledge from it, because the route to travel from one fact to another may span half the tree For a net-mind it's easy to use short connections between already known things, and even come up with new connections between them, when they become useful.

Why do I bother?

At the beginning of the year, I started a therapy to overcome some patterns that established over half a century (one literally) and do more harm than good in my life. Now I want to examine feelings, family things and episodes of my life, and want them to relate them to psychological and sociological concepts. All of them things that are pretty much a net of things I try to make sense of, and I struggle hard. My mind is not trained for that. A part of my solution is this notebook. I want to get more used to nets in thinking. The things I want to think about are better handled in an inner Wikipedia than in an inner file-system. So I decided to play with more sorts of creativity where nets may emerge by itself. Writing down thoughts and connecting them over time, when I see connections. Listening to songs, watching movie and consuming art while trying to bring those things into the net to have something to play with and relate it.

It would be nice, one day to be able to unfold those thoughts like a map in front of my inner eye, and navigate that map.